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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) on: September 24, 2014, 12:22:52 AM
ec_duz_it


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« on: September 24, 2014, 12:22:52 AM »

I just finished this blog about a recent bikepack trip to the Kern Plateau:

http://www.tourdelospadres.com/blog.html

This area is definitely not the riding quality of Sedona or Moab, but if you live in So Cal, it is definitely worth the relatively short car ride.  It is laced with trails and fireroads. Enjoy.
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 08:03:57 PM
Michael_S


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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 08:03:57 PM »

Looks like an awesome ride in spite of the HAB sections.  I thought that area would be a great bikepacking venue and sounds like you found some nice trails.  I've done some backpacking in the nearby Golden Trout and Domelands Wilderness areas and love the area. With the silty soil maybe a 29+ might be a good choice?

If you ever want to go back up there I'd love to go.  I don't sleep in past 700am  :^}

mike
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #2 on: September 25, 2014, 08:37:37 AM
ec_duz_it


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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2014, 08:37:37 AM »

The trails are all in pretty good shape, because the motorbike riders pay to have them maintained.  That is a double edged sword, because you will see some motorbikes on the trails (and the trails are more sandy than they should be). But that being said, from Friday through Sunday we only saw 3 groups of Motobike riders total. They were not really annoying due to their low numbers and the guys we saw on the trail were friendly.  I would think May or June would be the best months to ride here, as the trails would be harder packed after the winter.  

One idea I had after this trip was to take the Cannel Plunge shuttle (I hear they are $40) from Kernville up to Sherman Pass and do a loop similar to what we did (but adding Sherman Peak to the route) and then do the Cannel Plunge on your way back to Kernville at the very end of the ride. That would make for a really great ending/addition to the ride we did and would be a great 2 or 3 day trip.

There is a lot of great potential in this area for big multi-day rides.  My next trip to the area to explore will be more on the west side of the Kern rivers (Portuguese Pass, Greenhorn Mountains etc.
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #3 on: September 25, 2014, 10:40:35 AM
JRA


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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2014, 10:40:35 AM »

Thanks for the report.  I rode MTB's with a bunch pals way back in the late 80's in that same general area.  I remember some sandy sections from the motos too.  A beautiful area as I recall.  Brrrr.... I also remember being COLD.  We were there about this same time of year and woke to (an unexpected) 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground one morning.    
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #4 on: October 04, 2014, 09:28:21 PM
evdog


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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2014, 09:28:21 PM »

Nice writeup Erin, thanks for posting.  I have a friend in Kernville and we ride Kernville and Sequoia NF once or twice a year.  Mostly in the Greenhorn Mtns and around Camp Nelson.  There is some really fun stuff and I have been mapping out bikepack routes in my head for a couple years.  In 2012 I spent a couple days exploring the same area of Kern Plateau you rode in.  

One loop was from Curliss Meadow - Boone - Trout - road to Sherman Pass - Sherman Peak - Sherman Pass Tr - Trout - Schaeffer - Beach (20mi, +/-3500)
The second was Blackrock Visitor Ctr - Beach Ridge - up 21S37 and 20S39 roads from Troy Meadow - Jackass Peak Tr - Granite Broader - Blackrock Mtn - Smith Meadow - Fish Creek - bushwack out of deadfall hell - 21S41. (37mi, +/-4500)

There was some really nice riding and some crap.  Jackass Peak was great like you said.  Don't ever try Smith Meadow (nearly non-existant) or Fish Cr (I counted 120 downed trees).  They are not open to motos so no one maintains them.  I think any trail marked by a bike symbol on that map should be ok to ride.  Anything else may become an adventure - a lot of the trails will lead you to massive HABs to get back out.  

I think the potential up there is nearly limitless.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to get up there for bikepacking yet.  It is best to avoid it on summer weekends.  I was there August mid-week and saw only 2 riders.  

The routes I have in mind are along the lines of a Sierras crossing which can be done staying north via Camp Nelson or turning south from there through the Greenhorns and then the Breckenridge Mtns to Bakersfield.  Lots of options there and I have never gotten around to much research.  

Let me know next time you are thinking of going back, I would be interested in joining.  My friend knows the Dillers who made the map so I can get beta on what some of the trails are like. 

FYI they often don't open the gate to Sherman Pass Road until late June, depending on snowpack.   The shuttle company usually has a good handle on when that might happen.  
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #5 on: October 04, 2014, 09:55:34 PM
evdog


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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2014, 09:55:34 PM »

Found the pics from those days: http://s958.photobucket.com/user/edogger2/library/Sierras%20Aug%202012/3%204%20Kern%20Plateau?sort=9&page=1

The last 4 are from Smith and then Fish Cr
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #6 on: October 05, 2014, 06:29:24 AM
AZTtripper
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2014, 06:29:24 AM »

I lived in the Kern Valley from 2000-2004 working for the shuttle company as a guide. Got to ride a lot of the trails up there definitely a sweet area. The moto's are a double edged deal for sure, but it takes a different skill set to ride ST on a moto so you don't see as many as say a dunes area.

There's great rock climbing and kayaking in the area as well. I had my own little tri days there, a quick MTB at Keysville, then kayak a section of the river, then rock climbing the Kern Slab. Not really that bad ass as nothing took all that long, just a lot of fun.

Only did a little bit of bikepacking then, one that was memorable was mostly 2 track but very scenic out to the upper South Fork of the Kern under Mt Olancha.

I really liked the whole Black Rock/Jackass Peak area even if the trails were sandy. It would be tough but riding up Sherman a week before the gate opens could be sweet. Creeks would likely be running and the trails should be as packed as they ever could be. 
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #7 on: February 28, 2015, 12:16:06 PM
ec_duz_it


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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2015, 12:16:06 PM »

Tim, I mapped out what I think would be a nice "weekend warrior" route taking your suggestions into account.  What do you think of this clockwise loop?  I haved noted my comments/ options on this map.  I am tentatively thinking May 15-17 for doing this, before they open Sherman Pass Road.  I have only done about 60% of this, but this could be a really nice loop.  Any suggestions would be great. 

Link to download map:

https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRRa0ZmcGswVWtaQ2NUQw

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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #8 on: February 28, 2015, 07:25:43 PM
AZTtripper
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2015, 07:25:43 PM »

Looks pretty good. I wasn't aware of the Rincon Trail. Is that new?
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 10:19:06 PM
evdog


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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 10:19:06 PM »

Looks like a cool route Erin.  I would be interested in joining if I can swing the time off in May. 

I have always heard that Rincon is a pretty heinous moto trail.  Lots of steep up/down.  There is a trail called Opium which roughly follows the old flume opposite the River from Whiskey Flat. I have ridden the first ~7miles of Whiskey Flat from town and it is pretty good.  Beyond that it climbs in and out of a bunch of drainages and is pretty tough going.

A route I have been looking at might involve going up Cannell (I'd prefer suffering up that even if HAB vs the paved road), then take trails north, do a loop up top, then cross down toward the Kern.  The dream is to cross the river at Forks of the Kern and go up Freeman Creek, Summit, then down south Slate Mtn and then fire roads to Tobias Tr, down Tobias and then take Whiskey Flat back to the start.  Crossing the Kern would only be possible in fall though and the trails down to it could be very questionable.  Who's up for some exploring! 
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #10 on: March 01, 2015, 09:38:05 AM
ec_duz_it


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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2015, 09:38:05 AM »

You are welcome to join me if you would like.   I'm not sure if Rincon Trail is new or not, but it is definitely on the map.  It looks like up and down, but doable in both directions, but I don't know what its really like since I have never done it.   Perhaps Old Flume Trail to Rincon would be a better option than Whiskey Flat to Rincon.  According to this-  http://kernriversierra.com/bike/whiskeyflat.html  Whiskey flat trail is done either as an out and back or as shuttle, so that tells me it can be done both ways. 

I thought about going up Cannell Trail, but going up the road sounded easier.  Has anyone ever ridden up the Cannell Trail?  Sounds pretty tough, but I am sure some sections are ridable in the uphill direction.  And if this is done in late spring and Sherman Pass Road is closed, cars/ traffic would be a non-issue. The other plus of doing this before the road opens is that the moto trails will be hopefully hardpacked and untouched since the fall season prior (they were pretty tracked up and sandy when we went in Sept.). 

Here is the USFS discription of the Kern Plateau trails. It is a good starting point at least

https://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsbdev3_058998.pdf

According my map, if you crossed the Kern River at Forks of the Kern, you would be going through Golden Trout Wilderness for a small portion.  The west side of the Kern Rivers is very appealing too, I starting trying to figure out some routes on that side, but never finished them.  I have done summit trail near Quaking Aspen Campground, and parts of it were amazing, but parts of it you could barely find the trail.  Here are two routes I started, but never completed on that side:

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/5870374

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/5884096

This whole area is extremely scenic and appealing to me. I am sure there is a good 250 mile or so route that could be figured out in this area.  There is no doubt it would be challenging though.




* Jackass_Peak_Trail.jpg (160.25 KB, 504x348 - viewed 570 times.)
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #11 on: March 01, 2015, 03:46:15 PM
AZTtripper
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2015, 03:46:15 PM »

I rode up Cannell once it could be done, I remember the Rincon now not recommended for most but Bikepackers aren't most. Whiskey Flats is fine in the up river direction, well at least it was 10 years ago.
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #12 on: March 01, 2015, 06:01:35 PM
evdog


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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2015, 06:01:35 PM »

I am pretty sure Rincon is not new.  Like a lot of the trails up there it is just not well known. I have never been on it, but I would imagine it is like many other trails up there.  Where it is steep, it would be difficult to bike as the motos would churn up sand and loose rock.  Where it is lesser grade, it could be nice. 

As an out and Whiskey flat is normally ridden about 7-8 miles out from Kernville as far as I know.  Those who shuttle it normally ride back towards town, though I don't think it would be any worse going the other way I have just never heard of anyone doing that.  To include it as a part of a route at the end of the ride I would want to descend Cedar Canyon Tr to River Tr.  I have not done this ride, and it sounds like it could be very technical, so I am not sure if it would be suitable for bikepacking. The main reason in going up Cannell and ending this way is it would cut out the pavement climb up to Sherman Pass.  While that adds singletrack, it may also be a lot more difficult. 

With the route as you have it, going up the paved road would certainly be easiest way to get up there, and descending Cannell Plunge would certainly be a happier ending than Whiskey Flat.  I would not hesitate to try this route as is.  A lot of the trails up there are a crap shoot.  And before the road opens we could be dealing with a lot of downed trees.  I am definitely interested in this ride, just won't know til closer on if I can get the time off work. 


I am aware of the Wilderness at the Forks of the Kern.  It is unfortunate that it is there, but it is also very likely the route would be impossible anyways due to river crossing and impassible trail.  One can always dream, though....

For now I'll see if my friend in Kernville can provide any insight into the singletrack and options you've included in the route. 
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #13 on: March 01, 2015, 08:17:10 PM
Michael_S


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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2015, 08:17:10 PM »

I've waded knee deep across the Little Kern at the "Forks" in June some years and other years it was chest deep and fast moving ( and I barely made it across).  The fall is a much safer time.  The trail up the main Kern is pretty sandy, I'd want some 3" or bigger tires.

I love the area and have been hiking and riding up there since I was a kid.  Been dying to do a bikepack on the Kern Plateau, just can't get any interested riders to go.

mike
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #14 on: March 02, 2015, 09:58:40 AM
trebor


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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2015, 09:58:40 AM »

I'm totally interested in this area and have been pouring over the maps too. The density of trails and roads is astounding making for for a kid-in-a-candy-store outta me.
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Rob Roberts

  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #15 on: March 02, 2015, 10:04:30 PM
ec_duz_it


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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2015, 10:04:30 PM »

I pieced together a bunch of files and here is the same route as the map I posted previously. I wish it was not a figure 8, but oh well....

 http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7106630

The numbers look tough, but doable.   The first 35 miles would no doubt be the real test, then it would be relatively easy going. 
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #16 on: March 27, 2015, 08:12:05 AM
ec_duz_it


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« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2015, 08:12:05 AM »

With little to no snow in the mountains and the temperatures already reaching the 90's in Kernville, I am about 95% sure I am going to do this loop next weekend.  It will be great training for the TDLP. If any of ya'll want to join me just remember I have only done about 40-60% of the route and so this is very much a beta route.  There will be likely lots of walk a bike and downed trees and I am not entirely sure where all the water sources are.  Should be an adventure!
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #17 on: March 29, 2015, 10:40:09 PM
evdog


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« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2015, 10:40:09 PM »

Sounds like Cannell shuttles have already started running which means the road may now be open.

I doubt I would be able to join you but just in case the planets align which days this weekend are you planning to ride?  (I imagine this would be a 3 day ride). 
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #18 on: March 30, 2015, 07:56:58 AM
ec_duz_it


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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2015, 07:56:58 AM »

I am planning to get to Kernville by mid afternoon on Friday and just start riding.  If I can get in 20 miles or so on Friday evening, that is the goal.  That should allow me to finish by mid afternoon on Sunday.  Weather calls for high 20's at night on the plateau, so its still pretty cold up there.

Bummer to hear that the road might already be open.  I was just going off of this: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/sequoia/recarea/?recid=79918   I will call the forest ranger today and find out if the road is open or not.  If it is open and the plateau trails are now open to OHV's that might make me want to change plans.  But likely I will still go anyways.  The OHV's did not bother me much back in September. 
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  Topic Name: Kern Plateau (Southern Sierras) Reply #19 on: March 30, 2015, 08:23:40 AM
evdog


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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2015, 08:23:40 AM »

I just saw a post on mtbr that said first shuttles to Cannell were running this weekend. Its possible the road isn't open officially but MRA has a key?  You may see some but I doubt motos would be an issue yet, it would be quite unexpected that the road is open this early if that is the case.   If they are up there hopefully they are clearing downed trees as they would have more issue with them than a MTB.
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