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Kalmiopsis Wilderness

Contact Info
College of Forestry and Conservation, Wilderness Institute
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812



The Kalmiopsis Wilderness now contains a total of 179,755 acres and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. All of the wilderness is in the state of Oregon.

Public land becomes wilderness through legislation passed by the United States Congress in the form of public laws. For the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, this process began in 1964 when 78,850 acres were designated by Public Law 88-577. The following public laws also affect the Kalmiopsis Wilderness: 95-237.

The Kalmiopsis Wilderness is part of the 106 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of wild lands contributes significantly to the ecological, economic, and social health of our country. Wilderness provides clean air and water, a shelter for endangered species, sacred places for indigenous peoples, a living laboratory for research, and a classroom for exploring personal values while experiencing risk, reward, and self-reliance. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude.


Additional Details:

Specific Regulations

Group Size: maximum group size for overnight use is 12 persons and 9 saddle/pack animals per group. Group size for day use is not restricted, but keeping groups smaller reduces physical and social impacts.

Feed for Stock: use only processed or pellitized feed. Hay or unprocessed (viable) grain is not permitted.

Permits: A self registering, unrestricted, free-use permit is required to float the Wild sections of the Chetco and Illinois Rivers. There are no permits required for hiking, but please fill out a voluntary trail registration card where provided.

Fire: Along the Wild section of the Illinois River, a fire pan (or similar device) is required for open fires below the high water mark.

General Regulations

As in all Wilderness areas, possession or use of motorized vehicles or equipment is prohibited. All wheeled mechanisms, including bicycles, wagons, wheelbarrows are prohibited (excluding wheelchairs for persons with disabilities).


The collection of plants or plant parts in the Wilderness is not allowed, except by permit issued by the Forest Supervisor for scientific or educational purposes.

The collection or disturbance of cultural artifiacts, both pre-historic and historic, is prohibited.

Firewood: Do not use wood from live or dead standing trees or brush. Use only small (4 inch diameter or less) dead and down material. Use existing firerings, keep them small and clean out ash (and widely disburse) when fire is extinguished.

Leave No Trace principles:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

The Kalmiopsis Wilderness is located in southwest Oregon and managed entirely by the Siskiyou National Forest. Portions of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness are located on 4 Ranger Districts (Chetco, Gold Beach, Galice and Illinois Valley) with Chetco designated as the lead managing District.

Western access is from Highway 101 on the south Oregon coast via the Chetco Ranger District in Brookings, Oregon and the Gold Beach Ranger District in Gold Beach, Oregon.

Access on the east side is from Highway 199 (Redwood Highway) which connects to Interstate 5 in Grants Pass Oregon. Trailheads on the east side can be reached from the Illinois Valley Ranger District in Cave Junction, Oregon.DirectionsAccess to the Wilderness is either from the western coastal side (Highway 101) or from the eastern side in the Illinois Valley (Highway 199). Most trailheads are remotely located, at higher elevations and require at least one hour or more of travel time on gravel-surfaced, one-lane roads with turnouts.

Customizable Directions

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