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Hiking & Biking Trails

Hiking & Biking Trails

For directions, see our “Local Guide” section!

Cannell Trail

This is the closest trail to Kernville and begins 2 mi. north of Kernville on Mnt. 99. The 14 mi. of trail (round trip) range in altitude from 2,800 – 7,200 ft., making it the highest of the nearby trails. The Forest Service lists the trail as “strenuous,” and hikers need to bring their own water. Backpackers will find the gradual climb of the early part of the trail turning quite steep near Pine Flat, but it does afford one of the most spectacular views of the Kern River Valley. Mixed pine and fir forests cover most of the higher part of the hike.

Trail Map: Cannell Trail

Whiskey Flat Trail

This trail starts at the end of Burlando Road in Kernville, follows along the Kern River for 14.5 mi. one way. There is a moderate change in elevation and occasional steep inclines to hike. Hikers probably will be able to glimpse white water rafters while hiking the riverside through mixed chaparral and occasional pines. Fisherman tell hikers there are many good fishing spots along the trail.

Photo Credit: Brian’s Hikes

Rincon Trail

Rincon trail travels some 19.5 mi. along the Rincon Fault. Hiking the Rincon is relatively strenuous with elevations from 4800 – 5600 ft. Hikers will go up and down almost constantly as the trail passes through various drainage’s, and will be treated to some fine stands of Jeffrey and Digger Pine, cedar and chaparral. The crossing of Salmon Creek brings an interception with Packsaddle Cave trail, and about 12 mi. after that some very nice camping and fishing spots at Durrwood Creek.

Photo Credit: kernriversierra.com

Flynn & Tobias Trails

These two trails start at about the same point 16 mi. north of Kernville. Flynn starts at the Fairview Foot Bridge, crosses the river, and travels up Flynn Creek, raising in elevation from 3700 – 6000 feet. Listed as a strenuous hike, the visitors to the area will see larkspur, wildrose, gooseberry and brewer’s oak. Be warned that poison oak abounds in the area. The Tobias Trail starts just a half mile up the Flynn trail. While the trail is only 9.2 mi. round trip, it rises from 3700 – 6000 feet in a short time, and should be considered strenuous. For the first mile and a half, the trail follows the Tobias Creek and offers good fishing along the trail but, according to the Forest Service, be prepared for a hot, dusty hike in the summer.

Photo Credit: kernriversierra.com

Packsaddle Cave Trail

If you are looking for the unusual along the Kern Valley hiking trail, this is the trail for you. The five and a half mi. round trip will take the hiker up a moderate but occasionally steep trail to a nice cave. Although most of the stalactites and stalagmites were removed illegally some years ago, it is still an interesting site. If you take the Packsaddle Cave Trail, be sure to take a flashlight to explore the cave.

Photo Credit: alltrails.com

River Trail

This trail begins some 19 mi. north of Kernville on Mnt. 99. For those who would like to really know the surrounding countryside with a relatively easy hike, this 10 mi. trek is the one to take. Rising in elevation only 500 ft. from its start at the Johnsondale bridge, the trail winds up the Kern River, then climbs to some riverside bluffs, and down again to the riverside terraces. A full spectrum of plants will be found, with digger pine, live oak, incense cedar and manzanita, as well as other species of pine growing along the walkway. For campers, an area of high boulders gives the illusion of camping in mountain caves. This is also one of the few local trails that is occasionally submerged, especially in the spring runoff period.

Photo Credit: summitpost.org

Bull Run Trail

Starts north of the Greenhorn Summit up Rancheria Rd. (Note: four wheel drive is required for the last 1/2 mi. of this road). The trail starts near the end of Cow Creek, eventually turning into Bull Run Creek, and then turns upstream and climbs gently for 1.5 mi. into Bull Run Basin. A moderate climb up a ridge ends at road 24S35. Pine and oak trees line the creek with bushy slopes above. There is trout fishing in the creek but it is not stocked.

Photo Credit: kernriversierra.com

Just Oustanding – Beer & Trail!

Trail Map: Just Outstanding

Carve you way through cedar forest and into an unforgettable manzanita tunnel on this fast flowy trail. The ride is just so outstanding that there’s even a beer named after it at the Kern River Brewing Company! And by the time most dusty riders reach the valley floor, they’re craving some of that refreshingly relevelant IPA (rated 4th in the world by LA WEEKLY).

For those who enjoy biking loops, there is a nice 5+ mile ride on the top of Just Outstanding.

Ride the top 3 ‘sections’ (road crossings) down and climb back up Rancheria Road. You will cross Rancheria Road on the first road crossing, and then another dirt road that wraps around Cook’s Peak. On the third section, the singletrack merges right onto an old logging road and quickly comes to an intersection. At this point, riders usually go left and down JO.

However, you can pedal to the right and stay on the old logging road, which meets up with Rancheria Road. Turn right on Rancheria Road and pedal back up to complete the loop.

The main JO singletrack is about 5 miles long and drops you half way down the mountain.

After a quick-but-steep climb above a creek crossing, the trail ends at Waggy Flat (dirt) Road.

From this point, there are a few possible options of varying difficulty:

1. Old State Road: The original JO ride: When the singletrack ends at a dirt road, turn left and climb Waggy Road for a couple miles to a saddle. Continue down the 4×4 road for a couple miles, and then turn right on Old State Road (graded dirt) and coast down to Wofford Heights.

2. Wagy Ridge Trail: This is a popular version of the ride; turn left and climb Wagy Road to the saddle, then turn right on Wagy Ridge Trail. The challenging trail ends at Sawmill Road, if other options are not taken (a great trail veers off this, but it is on private property and very difficult to find. It is not the motorcycle trail that veers off onto private property as well). An alternative parking area is at Boulder Gulch Campground, just below Sawmill Road.

3. Sawmill Road: Probably the easiest of the options, turn right and descend Waggy Road to Sawmill Road. Go left on Sawmill, and take this all the way down to Hwy 155.

4. Dutch Flat Trail: This is a local classic and one of the best options; JO to Sawmill Road, to Granite Trail (a few options here), up Wall Street Trail and Down Dutch Flat into Keyesville.

Trail Map: Dutch Flat

Kern River Trail

Begins at the lowest bridge on Hwy. 178, just before you enter the canyon. There are gradual elevation changes as the trail parallels the river through open hillsides of grass and oak. The trail ends beyond China Garden. There can be excellent wildflower displays along this trail from mid-March to late-April.

Trail Map: Kern River Trail

Mill Creek Trail

Starts 1.5 mi. east of Hwy. 178 on old Kern Canyon Rd. The trail climbs gradually along Mill Creek for 2 mi., crossing the creek several times. Open oak/grass and riparian woodlands are found here, with fine spring wildflowers. Leaving the creek, moderate to steep grades climb through brush fields to mix conifer forest. The trail ends at a small spur road just north of Squirrel Meadow.

Photo Credit: alltrails.com

Remington Ridge Trail

Starts 1.75 mi. west of Hobo Campground on old Kern Canyon Road. Moderate to steep grades climb from open oak/grass woodland with spring wildflower, through brush fields to pine/oak forest at the O’Brien Spring Road. Views of Isabella Lake, Kern Canyon and Kern Plateau can be seen in the higher portion of the trail.

Photo Credit: kernriversierra.com

Sunday Peak Trail

Climb through mixed conifer forest on a moderate grade to the summit of Sunday Peak. Excellent views of the Kern Valley, the Plateau and high Sierra peaks may be seen on clear days. This trail is a good day hike for families, with picnic lunch on the summit. Drive 7.7 miles farther to Greenhorn Summit. Turn right (north) on 23S16. This is a dirt road just past a maintenance shed. Note your odometer and go as follows: At 4.3 miles, Tiger Flat Campground. Keep straight on 23S16. At 6.6 miles, a road junction with a sign “Camp Mountain Meadow GSA”. Park here.

Photo Credit: alltrails.com

Bright Star Trail

Starts in the Piute Mountains from Road 28S27 near Inspiration Point. This is an historic route which is not maintained and not passable for horses or motorcycles due to loose talus slopes. The route may be difficult to follow in places – a topographic map is required. The lower 1/2 mi. is on private land to the end of Erskine Creek Road. Historic evidence of mining can be seen along this route.

Photo Credit: inn-california.com

Trail Info Credit: southern-sierra.com

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