Chapter 12 - Special Management Area Descriptions
South Sierra Management Plan

Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCNST) travels through BLM lands north from Tylerhorse Canyon of the Tehachapi Mountains near State Highway 138 miles to the Forest Service boundary in the Domeland Wilderness. Within this stretch, the BLM manages 116 miles of the trail while the Sequoia National Forest manages the remainder. This portion of the PCNST passes through a wide variety of scenery from the desert area to wind farms on Cameron Ridge and up to the rugged pinyon-juniper woodland of the Owens Peak area. The trail also travels through wilderness from the Scodie Mountains extending north.

Elevations along the trail vary from 4,000 feet at State Highway 58 to 7,600 feet at Bear Mountain. Whether or not the route is passable depends on the weather. Summer temperatures can range from 32F to over 100F with summer thunderstorms bringing lightening and the possibility of flash floods to all trail segments. Winters can be bitterly cold, but the entire trail segment is usually free of snow by the middle of May.

Maintenance problems include rock slides in the Owens Peak area, down trees at most of the higher elevations, erosion along the Cameron Ridge, and maintaining the trail width at several locations. Unauthorized vehicle use presents problems at various places on the trail, most notably at Bean Canyon, Dove Spring Road, and Sky River Ranch. Drinking water is scarce along most of the BLM trail section and available sources must be maintained for through hikers. Reliable sources of water include Fox Mill Spring, Chimney Creek Campground, Joshua Tree Spring, Golden Oaks Spring, and Willow Spring. A few other sources, such as Spanish Needle Creek, are available seasonally.

The PCNST represents a significant recreational use of public lands.

Objective   Manage the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Special Management Area (116 miles) as a component of the National Trails System that is maintained in cooperation with the Ridgecrest Resource Area and in a manner compatible with the adjacent USFS and National Park Service trail segments.

Management Prescriptions

  • Continue closure of trail to vehicles, including bicycles.
  • Manage the Lamont Peak spur trail to the PCNST as a hiking and equestrian trail, keeping it closed to motorized and mechanized vehicles.
  • Spur trails will be established where possible and an equestrian trailhead will be pursued near Tehachapi.

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Support Actions

The MOU with the Ridgecrest Resource Area for shared maintenance responsibilities will be continued. Water sources along the trail (Fox Mill Spring, Chimney Creek Campground, Joshua Tree Spring, Walker Pass Campground, Golden Oaks Spring, and Willow Spring) will be maintained and additional water sources will be developed as possible.

Increase presence by BLM and volunteers as needed on the trail to insure visitor safety and to protect the resource.

A brochure for the PCNST will continue to be made available to the public and updated as appropriate.

Volunteer agreements will continue for maintenance of certain trail segments and additional agreements pursued.

Area Map

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