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North Yolla-Bolly. Photo by Outdoor Project Contributor Jason Mandly

North Yolla-Bolly

[content courtesy of the Outdoor Project]

The Yolla-Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness anchors the southern extent of the Klamath Mountains and covers over 151,000 acres of land that is rather hard to access. The remoteness of the wilderness combined with the fact that the showier wildernesses to the north tend to attract more people grants a visitor to the Yolla Bollys rewarding solitude. Despite its remoteness, North Yolla Bolly can be seen from most of the Northern Sacramento Valley and the surrounding mountains. This makes it obvious that the view from atop North Yolla Bolly covers a huge chunk of Northern California.

Features: Net elevation gain of 2,100ft. Horseback riding and dogs allowed on trail.

As you ascend the peak you’ll find yourself in a rare stand of Foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana). This species only has a few stands scattered around the higher elevations of the Klamath Mountains and the Southern Sierras. It is a relative of the long-living bristlecone pine.

Hiking directions: The quickest way to the top of North Yolla-Bolly is to start at the Stuart Gap Trailhead and take the Pettijohn Trail south and to the east of Pettijohn Basin. You’ll pass by a trail connection that leads to North Yolla Bolly Lake, an optional addition to your trip that adds about 2 extra miles. The main trail continues to the top of a broad ridge where you’ll be rewarded with a view of North Yolla-Bolly’s more dramatic west face. You’ll see a faint use trail in the grass and lupine heading east toward the peak. This trail is less established than the Pettijohn Trail; however, folks have marked trickier portions of the trail with sticks in an “X” formation. Your destination is a saddle to the south of North Yolla-Bolly. From that saddle, it’s a relatively short cross-country romp to the top.

How to get there:  (from Red Bluff, CA): From I-5 in Red Bluff, exit Adobe Road and head east 0.4mi to Main Street (CA 36). Turn right onto CA 36 and continue west 55 miles to the town of Wildwood. Turn left onto Wild Mad Road (Forest Road 30) and continue for 8.8 miles. Turn left on Little Black Rock Road (Forest Road 35) and continue for 12 miles. A sign will point you towards Stuart Gap Trailhead. Continue up the dirt road 2 miles to the trailhead.


Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.