Rockhouse Basin

DIFFICULTY 1 reviews
#64 of 66 trails in

Rockhouse Basin is a 15.4 mile out and back trail located near Inyokern, CA. The trail is primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

15.4 miles 350 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash


3 years ago

The marker for this trail is in the wrong place on this map, in my view. If one drives up from Long Valley Campground a few miles before the road turns to the east, there is an entry for Rockhouse Basin. The one in this overview is from Sherman Pass Road, it appears, and it would be a long hike. Perhaps several entries should be noted, since several trails lead to Rockhouse Basin and Rockhouse Meadow. The eastern trail from Long Valley Rd. is the entry I would recommend for this location. The trail from the north would take you there, but, it is the long way in, unless you prefer the north end of Rockhouse Basin. They once permitted driving to the National Forest Gate 2 miles in to the West, but now, it requires an extra two miles. Now, it is 4.5 miles to the South Fork of the Kern River. So, the whole trip is 9 miles instead of 15.6, if one were to start at Sherman Pass road. This trail from the east crosses the Pacific Crest Trail which can be taken north into Rockhouse Basin proper or one can take other trails to south and go to Rockhouse Meadow or on to Manter Creek. At the river crossing in the south, for the South Fork of the Kern, while heading for Manter Creek, before getting to the actual Rockhouse Meadow, there is a delightful place to camp [if viewed from the river side]. There are large rocks and trees that were nearly untouched by the fire in 2000. There is a nice bed of pine needles, with sand around, but, the large rock formation extends out into the river. There are usually a few trout swimming around under the big rock on the other side of the river. A light breezes goes up or down the canyon depending on the time of day. There is a nice place to build a safe, well-contained fire. There is water flowing by in the springtime and trickling by in the autumn. The hike in is easy due to the drop in elevation. The fire took away the shade trees which were so welcomed in the past. Because of the lack of shade and the extended hike uphill, the hike out is about medium. The last time I went in the middle of the summer, but, we had unusual overcast skies and temperatures in the mid-70s. Normally, it would be in the mid-90s. With the drastic reduction of activity, due to moving the gate out two miles, the area around the river in many places has a 4 foot high thicket about 2 feet thick, making fishing in the ‘old holes,’ next to impossible, unless you have waders or water shoes. A few Angus steers were grazing on the Rockhouse Meadow/Manter Creek [west]side of the South Fork. There is a cabin below the spring on the Rockhouse Meadow side about one-half mile from the stream crossing. Note: Most years in the springtime, it is unwise to cross the stream without a rope and good skills.