Explore Kernville - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Kernville Map
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This was our first hike, and ay yi yi. I wouldn't choose it for your first, but it is definitely doable. It's pretty much a straight climb for the first mile, at least. It was fun, once we got past the initial climb. You cross a creek probably three times, its pretty. I wouldn't suggest doing this once it gets warm, you're super exposed to the elements, with zero shade. I will say, if you dont read all the reviews before you hike, you will more than likely miss the cave (like the hikers that were about 30 min behind us). Signs are knocked down, pointing in the wrong direction, but the best advise, stay to the left, lol. There are piles of rocks on rocks, stay to the left, or go left if there is a fork. Once you reach "the cave" sign, look up to your left, and behind you some...you will see the cave; it's about .25 miles from that left turn around the large rock. Take a flashlight the cave is big, and dark. It's a fun hike, but strenuous if you're not in shape. It took us 2 and a half hours, there and back. Have fun, happy hiking.

It’s so nice & the water feeels great but a lot of weirdos lol

trail running
24 days ago

well maintained trail thanks to the "Stuards of the Sierras" volunteering to keep these trails nice and clear for us. thanks guys!

This trail is easy until mile 2.5 from there elevation is gained quickky and without mercy almost all the way to mile 7.5.
I was not prepared for that since other used have said this trail was "easy" im an experienced hiker/trail runner and i would rate some sections of this as hard.
After about Mile 6 you are all the way up in the big pretty pine trees with good canopy cover. its much prettier and there was a spring at mile 7 i was able to filter water out fro. and even got cell sigal

in total i logged 14.45 miles for this out and back.

hiking
27 days ago

Great trail. Lost my GOPRO if you found it or find it please send me a text. 6619794798. Much appreciated.

If you reach the Rincon trail head, turn back you’ve gone too far. There’s a sharp left that is marked by white rocks that is easy to go past. The pack saddle 2.25 mike trail head is in the wrong place, so don’t follow it. Other than, very cool hike. Bring good flashlights.

hiking
1 month ago

Mill Creek Trail
Beautiful trail in the spring! We only went in two miles then back but it was gorgeous and we crossed four creeks. If just heading in a short distance I would call it Easy not Moderate, but I'm guessing it gets steeper. We took a small group and everyone loved it. Trailhead starts out a little steep but thats only like an 1/8 of a mile, then it moves on to rolling hills. Enjoyed the open spaces but my favorite was the wooded areas near the creeks. Looking forward to coming back to do the whole thing!

hiking
1 month ago

Views were nice and the trail was well groomed. Tired cave with good examples of formations on the inside. Allot bigger than I thought it would be. As far as a moderate rating, I must need to get in better shape, between moderate and difficult.

hiking
1 month ago

My brother and I were excited to checkout the trees on the trail but M-90 was closed a couple of miles before the trail. I've looked on the National Forest website and didn't see any reason as to why it was closed but figured I'd post here so others don't miss out.

My brother and I hiked this trail to the cave yesterday leaving around 1pm and arriving back to our car around 3:30pm. There is quite a decent incline in the beginning and because of this as well as some of the trail having a few obstacles (mainly downed trees) I'd say this trail is more on the hard side if I were to compare it to other hard-rated trails on AllTrails. The cave was really cool but bring a high powered flashlight to enjoy it fully. All we had were the flashlights on our iPhones which were ok but not great.

1 month ago

Magical

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful. I recommend camping the night at Redwood across the street from this trail if staying in the area. That way you can visit the trail early a.m. or late p.m. to avoid the crowds. It was such a treat to walk among these giants at dawn.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike, very easy! Nice paved trail. Great for kids and dogs.

My friend and I were out here the other day at about 7pm. I’m glad I had my headlamp because it was pitch black. There was no moon out but the stars looked amazing! When we arrived, there was one couple in one of the pools and some tweeker in the small rectangular pool. Since it was later in the day and completely dark, my friend and I got naked and we sat next to the tweeker (hahaha). Please note, my friend and I are larger (fluffy) guys so when we sat in the rectangular pool, the water overflowed to the other pools (too bad the tweeker didn’t float on over..). About an hour later, the couple there had departed and my friend and I made our way to that pool, leaving the tweeker alone in a half empty pool (hahaha). We stayed for about 2 hrs gazing at the stars and just floating naked in the hot pool. This was our first time coming here and it was a great experience for the both of us. We would definitely do it all over again. The map on this app was great to use especially since my phone reception had stopped working. The hike down to the pools was a breeze; however, for two fluffy guys heading back up the trail, it was an adventure.

hiking
3 months ago

I went there with my baby, it was a nice day.
We had big fun hike both way down to the hot water and hiked up the hill.

We arrived. Skinny-dippers all over left and right. After about 1hr of being there everyone left and we had all 3 ‘pools’ to ourselves. Once we had it to ourselves it was GREAT!

PROS:
Warm/hot water
Water is see-through to the bottom
Clean water cycles daily with the natural spring current
Good views on the way there
Good views once there
Great great great spot if you get it all to yourself
My belongings were respected
People were respectful
Easy/short hike down/up

CONS:
Visibly flowing dead skin
Skinny-dippers (may be present)
Groups of people hang out spot
People camping very nearby
Water smells like sulfur/egg (you get use to it quick)
Trash/man made stuff left behind
You may come across ‘sensitive’ people
For elders (The hike back up may be a little steep)

Too many people and too much trash. It's now more of a cesspool than a hot spring. Go if you don't mind sitting shoulder to shoulder with 7 other people. Including children who urinate in the water.

Just wanted to add that Kern River Conservancy and Keepers of the Kern are putting more effort in keeping that part of the river clean. It's disturbing to me that people go to a beautiful place like the Forks and have to leave their trash. we have gotten the river from Kernville to Johnsondale bridge free of trash.

fishing
3 months ago

I haven't been as far as painters camp. we made it about a half past the bridge. my favorite place. Going to go to painters camp the year. I love the Kern

First off, please keep in mind that there are TICKS IN THE TREES that will drop on you. I pulled one off my dog during the hike and just found one on my rib. Other than that, the trail itself is absolutely gorgeous, and the cave is a wonder to behold. The stalagmites are still forming and all the formations are truly incredible. My dogs had no problem on the trail, though they are in great shape. Once you reach the end of the trail, you'll notice the sign fell down and someone had dragged it further down the trail, but we put it back where it belongs. You'll want to go to the left to get up to the cave.

hiking
3 months ago

very easy trail. I enjoyed the nice walk with my dogs

Trailhead is unmarked. You will need to go to what looks like a fire road directly across from the fairview campground parking. Trail is straight up and you will need to keep an eye out for markings when you get to the end showing you to the cave. It is not clearly marked and cairns or rock arrows as indicated in pictures have been changed or moved.

The hike was great and the weather in December was perfect. The cave was more than I expected, I was very surprised to see it was a real cave and not an old mining claim.
It's a busy trail and it was tough on my dog, due to the leash requirement, you probably shouldn't tell your dog where you're going.

too confusing not easy

hiking
4 months ago

Very fun as a beginner. Beautiful during the fall

hiking
4 months ago

It was a good day. Wish we were able to cross the river. Went with a 5 year old and she didn’t get tired till we turned back. We will have to try again when the water is a bit lower.

Read the Tips section. It’s important and would have helped a few the reviewers. The description even mentions it... still a beautiful hike without seeing the teacups but if you can cross and scramble up they are worth it!
Also, follow the gpx route for the best place to wade across.

hiking
4 months ago

The hike is almost a constant climb in elevation until halfway or so then it goes down just to climb up again to the cave. We didn’t quite make it to the cave due to timing and daylight ending soon. Overall it would have taken approximately 5-6 hours round trip so plan accordingly.

Beautiful views throughout the hike! NOT a difficult trek and I would label it as relatively level and easy. There are many routes to the river bank for anglers.

Excellent out and back hike. The first half of the way to the cave is uphill and has no shade. We found it strenuous even on an overcast day in November, so if you're trying it in the summer bring lots of water. The cave is very cool. Make sure to bring a light or download a flashlight app because it goes back far enough to get REALLY dark.

This trail is a nice way to start or end your day. Very flat and paved--probably even okay for wheelchairs. We went as the sun was setting for about 40 minutes and there were still people admiring the giants. It's hard to conceptualize their size until you see them in person.

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