Friday mystery photo

View into Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness.

Tom Hilton, flickr

This photo photo was taken in John Muir Wilderness, California.

California's John Muir Wilderness is a designated wilderness area that extends along the crest of the Sierra Nevadas, in the Inyo and Sierra National Forests. Established in 1964 by the Wilderness Act and named for naturalist John Muir, it contains 581,000 acres of pristine land. 

Mount Whitney at sunset. Photo: peretzp, flickr

September is National Wilderness Month, and we're highlighting some of America's most incredible (and incredibly important) wilderness areas! Take a wilderness photo tour and learn how you can protect it.

John Muir Wilderness contains some of the most spectacular and highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada, with 57 peaks over 13,000 feet  in elevation, including Mount Whitney which is the highest peak in the continental U.S. This region's peaks are typically made of granite from the Sierra Nevada Batholith, and were shaped by the dramatic movement of glaciers. The southernmost glacier in the U.S., the Palisade Glacier, is contained within this wilderness area. 

Photo: Ken Lund, flickr

This designated wilderness area contains large areas of subalpine meadows and fellfields, stands of whitebark and foxtail pine, and vast stretches of lodgepole pines. 

Many different types of species call John Muir Wilderness home. Common animals in this region include yellow-bellied marmots, pikas, golden-mantled ground squirrels, Clark's nutcrackers, Golden Trout and black bears. The wilderness area also includes California Bighorn Sheep Zoological Areas, which are set aside for the protection of the species.

Photo: peretzp, flickr

Visitors and outdoor enthusiasts relish John Muir Wilderness for its 589.5 miles of hiking trails, including the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail which run through the wilderness from north to south. The John Muir Wilderness is the second most-visited wilderness in the U.S.