Chapter 12 - Special Management Area Descriptions
South Sierra Management Plan

Walker Pass National Historic Landmark

The Walker Pass National Historic Landmark (NHL) includes approximately 111 acres of Federal surface and subsurface within the Caliente and Ridgecrest Resource Areas and the Sequoia National Forest. Approximately 1/3 of the area, 37 acres, is within the Caliente Resource Area. Walker Pass NHL is located approximately 60 miles east northeast of Bakersfield along Highway 178 in Kern County. Walker Pass is east of Canebrake Creek and west of Freeman Canyon and is situated at an elevation of 5,246 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Pass is a transitional vegetational zone between habitats of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert.

Walker Pass was designated a National Register Property and National Historic Landmark on July 4, 1961. The National Park Service established precise boundaries for the Walker Pass NHL on September 26, 1989. The Pass is named after Joseph Rutherford Walker and his use of the Pass for actions that contributed significantly to the exploration and settlement of California by the United States of America in the years 1834, 1843, and 1845. Joseph R. Walker and his men, part of the Bonneville Expedition, entered California by crossing the Sierra Nevada adjacent to Yosemite Valley in 1833. Walker's exit from California was through Walker Pass in 1834, which was shown to him by the Native Americans. In 1843 Walker led the main group of the Joseph B. Chiles emigrant party safely through Walker Pass. In 1845, the main group of the John C. Fremont's military-topographic expedition was led safely through Walker Pass to interior California by Joseph R. Walker.

Objective   Manage the Walker Pass SMA to protect the characteristics of the natural landscape and viewshed of the Pass which contributed towards its designation as a National Historic Landmark.

Management Prescriptions (Caliente Resource Area portion)

  • The SMA is open for the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources subject to NSU stipulation.
  • The SMA is available for livestock grazing.

Legal Description

T. 26 S., R. 37 E., MDB&M

Sec. 17 Lots 9,15,16 (portions of each)

Page 156 

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