Cedar Roughs Wilderness

Sargent Cypress at Cedar Roughs Wilderness AreaSargent Cypress at Cedar Roughs Wilderness Area
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Size: 6,287 acres.

Location: The Cedar Roughs Wilderness is located just west of Lake Berryessa in eastern Napa County, California.  Cedar Roughs forms part of the western boundary for the Lake Berryessa watershed.  The landform is generally a rounded ridgeline extending northwest to southeast.  Iron Mountain in the southern portion of the area is close to 2,300 feet in elevation, while the central portion of the wilderness area approaches 2,400 feet.  The visible character of the wilderness is one of a natural landscape maintaining its primeval character. 

Area Description :

 There are excellent opportunities for solitude and dispersed recreation within the Cedar Roughs Wilderness Area with views of the surrounding landscape from atop the main ridge.  Because recreational use is very limited, due primarily to the lack of good access, there are very few visitors to this area.  Primary types of recreation include hiking, hunting, wildlife viewing, and botanizing.  One trail at the north end on the south side of Pope Creek ascends a ridge to the south on Department of Fish & Wildlife property.  This is an old jeep trail dating back to the time when the property was in private ownership.  The trail ends before crossing the wilderness boundary.  Because of the lack of trails leading into the Cedar Roughs itself and the presence of very thick vegetation in the cypress stand, hiking through this part of the wilderness area is difficult.  However, with wilderness designation and plans to improve access with a new trail, visitor use will gradually begin to increase as recreationists begin to discover this new wilderness area.

The dominant feature of the Cedar Roughs Wilderness is the large stand of Sargent cypress (Cupressus sargentii), comprising about 50% of the total area.  The harsh environmental conditions of the ultramafic substrate have caused the development of a unique vegetative cover dominated by the cypress, with a resultant lack in vegetative diversity.  Much of the remaining vegetative species include gray pine, whiteleaf manzanita, and leather oak.  Although Sargent cypress is common in the serpentine areas found throughout northern California, the stand within the Cedar Roughs Wilderness is unique both in character and expanse.  It is noteworthy because of its size (over 3,000 acres of which about 2,800 acres are within designated wilderness) and because it represents an important reserve of relatively pure genetic material, exhibiting no sign of hybridization with McNab cypress (Cupressus macnabiana) which is typical in other California cypress communities.  Because of the unique vegetation here, it has attracted interest in amateur botanists, as well as nearby academic institutions such as U.C. Davis.

Closed cone pine forest, serpentine chaparral, oak woodland, and the riparian belt of Hardin and Trout Creeks are other habitat types present, while seeps and springs occur near the periphery of the cypress stand.  One BLM Sensitive Plant Species is known to occur here, Marin County navarretia (navarretia rosulata).

There are two distinct perennial streams within Cedar Roughs Wilderness, Hardin Creek to the west and Trout Creek to the east.  Bordering a portion of the north boundary is Pope Canyon, where Trout Creek converges with Pope Creek.

The Cedar Roughs Wilderness supports a variety of common terrestrial wildlife species.  Another special aspect of this wilderness is that it is the only known area in Napa County where black bears breed.  Mountain lions are occasionally spotted on adjacent private lands.  Fisheries habitat is found along Trout Creek and Hardin Creek within the wilderness.  Rainbow trout, brown trout, bass, and bluegill are present in both streams, and western roach is believed to occur in Hardin Creek, however both streams are too limited in size to provide significant fishery values.  The northwestern pond turtle is also known to occur in these creeks.

Getting There : 

Located off Pope Canyon Road 2.2 miles west of Pope Creek bridge, Lake Berryessa, or 6.3 miles east of Pope Valley airstrip. Park on the south side of the brown and yellow gate, and follow Pope Creek upstream approximately 1/4 mile. Look for trail markers. Cross Pope Creek and climb hill a short distance to an abandoned jeep trail. The old jeep trail provides access into main block of public land.

Boat-In Access: Located 1.8 miles past Pope Creek bridge on the Pope Creek arm of Lake Berryessa. Nine boat ramps are accessible from the south and west sides of the lake. For accommodations, camping and boat launch information, contact (707) 966-2111. Capall Cove is a public boat launch located just off Berryessa/Knoxville Road 2.6 miles east from the intersection of Berryessa/Knoxville Road and State Route 128. From the main body of the lake, enter Pope Creek arm of Lake Berryessa by passing under the bridge. Continue westward 1.8 miles to the trailhead which will be on your port (left) side about 1/4 mile past Trout Creek.

Maxwell Creek Access: Another area for hunting and wildlife viewing is located off Pope Canyon Road 4.2 miles west of Pope Creek bridge, Lake Berryessa or 5.6 miles east of Pope Valley airstrip. Provides access to 175 acres of CDF&W and 160 acres BLM land adjacent to Maxwell Creek and access via abandoned Dollarhide Road. After approximately 1 mile, trail enters private land.

Additional Information:  On October 17, 2006 the President signed the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act.  Section 3(9) of the Act designated 6,350 acres in Napa County, California, as the Cedar Roughs Wilderness.

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Bureau of Land Management
Ukiah Field Office
2550 North State Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
Phone: (707) 468-4000
Fax:  (707) 468-4027
Office Hours: 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
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