OverviewSouth Yolla Bolly Mountain (formerly named Mt. Linn) lies in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel wilderness. South Yolla Bolly Mountain is one of the most prominent peaks in California ranking #10 on the list with 4,814 feet of prominence ranking just below Ultra Prominent peak Mt. Eddy. South Yolla Bolly Montain is the tallest mountain on the ridge line that you can see west of I-5 form Corning to Red Bluff. I couldn’t find much information on this peak on the internet, so I thought it would be a good adition to Summit Post.
This area was first protected in 1931 when it was classified as a primitive area. Further protection was given when this area became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, created by the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The California Wilderness Act of 1984 added another 2,000 acres to the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, for a total of about 151,626 acres.
The Wilderness is roughly oval in shape, being about 19 miles long in the north-south direction and 24 miles wide in the east-west direction. The majority of the Wilderness lies in two districts of the Mendocino National Forest (Covelo and Grindstone Ranger Districts). The far northern portion of the Wilderness is in the Yolla Bolla Ranger District of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. To the far west, a part of the Wilderness is in the Mad River Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management has a small portion of the Wilderness (also on the western edge).
The lowest point of the Wilderness is along Cottonwood Creek (2600' elevation). This is just four and a half miles from the highest point, South Yolla Bolly (Mt. Linn), at an elevation of 8094 feet. Several other peaks push their way above 7000 feet and provide fine views Lassen Peak, Mount Shasta, the Trinity Alps, the Kings Range and sometimes the Pacific Ocean.
Geologically, the area began to form 150 million years ago from ocean bottom sediments. Forces deep with the earth pushed the oceanic plate against the continental plate. This pressure changed the sediments into schists. Continued pressure pushed the land far above the sea and erosive forces started carving landforms. Evidence of past glaciations can still be seen on both North and South Yolla Bolly Mountains. Today the most evident geologic process is that of landslides which naturally occur on many creeks, rivers, and steep mountain slopes.
The forests in this Wilderness are extensive. The principle species are red fir, white fir, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and incense cedar. Less common species are juniper, foxtail pine, hemlock, Jeffrey pine, western white pine, black cottonwood, and a rare yew. Other cover types include grasslands - locally known as "glades", wet and dry meadows, oak woodlands and brush lands.
Getting ThereSouth Yolla Bolly is normally approached from I-5. You can get there from the coast but you have to work at it and I would recommend you buy a map before you try it.
From I-5 you can exit in Corning or Red Bluff and head west towards the little settlement of Paskenta.
The Corning exit is the same as the world famous Olive Pit exit. Instead of heading east into town, head west towards the mountians. This road A9 goes directly to Paskenta through Flourney. In Paskenta you want to find the paved road M2 that goes to the Cold Spring Guard Station. There aren’t many roads in Paskenta so you are sure to find the correct road. Turn right on M2.
Follow M2 for 25 miles to the Cold Spring Guard Station. The first 19 miles are paved and then it is a high speed gravel road. At the Guard Station turn right on road M22. This gravel road is still high speed and follow this road about 9 more miles to road 25N19 that is signed for the Ides Cove Trail. Follow 25N19 for 2.2 miles up past the pack station parking to the backpackers parking. This last .5 mile is a little rough, but there was a 2WD car parked at the trailhead, so it isn’t that bad.
From Red Bluff the drive is much more difficult, but this is the way I went to the trailhead. I came out the route to Corning. There are several exits for Red Bluff take one of the middle ones and head west. Find the airport and get on the road on the west side of the airport. Red Bank Rd. is paved and takes off heading west from the airport and goes about 15 miles before you come to a fork with Colyer Springs Road going to the right.
Colyer Springs is gravel and you pass through a private hunting club. Past the club the road starts getting crooked and it will be this way all the way to the trailhead. At about 23 miles from the airport there is another fork and I took the right one up to Valentine Ridge. There is a sign that says the road is closed at this point during the winter.
I stayed on this road for another 17 miles and it eventually became M22 up on top of the ridge. I did see a bear in the middle of the road as I came around one of the hundreds of turns, but he didn’t stand around and let me take his picture. Continue on theis road untill you see the sign for Ides Cove Trail and road 25N19. Follow 25N19 for 2.2 miles up past the pack station parking to the backpackers parking. This last .5 mile is a little rough, but there was a 2WD car parked at the trailhead, so it isn’t that bad. This route from Red Bluff takes a long time to get to the trailhead and is only given for reference and if you have a lot of time to kill.
Red TapeAccess to this wilderness is relatively easy. No visitor permit is required but you will need a campfire permit. Maps and information are available at:
National Forest Covelo Ranger Station
825 N. Humboldt Ave. 78150 Covelo Rd.
Willows, CA 95988 Covelo, CA 95428
(530) 934-3316 (707) 983-6118
TDD (530) 934-7724
Mendocino National Forest
When To ClimbMost wilderness areas are closed due to weather conditions from October through mid-May or June. You may also contact the appropriate Ranger Station
after May 1st for actual/projected opening dates for high country recreation.
CampingThere are lots of campgrounds available in the area including Whitlock and Rocky Cabin campgrounds provided and maintained by the Mendocino National Forest. These campgrounds are on the M2 and M22 access roads. For more information access the following link to the National Forest.
Camping is also available in the South Yolla Bolly Wilderness by backpacking in to Long Lake on the north side of South Yolla Bolly Peak or at Ides Cove on the south side of the peak.. There are also a couple of picnic tables at the trailhead with campsites. There are no restroom facilities or water available at the trailhead.
Mountain ConditionsThis is a summer hike, June through October. This is also a Wilderness Area, therefore, snowmobiles are not allowed in the winter. Go to the following link for more information.