Explore the most popular camping trails in Sequoia National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I was dumb and tried to hike to the end and let me tell you after about 3-4 miles it becomes very steep and makes me think it’s more tailored to dirt bikes that can handle 6 miles of unrelenting uphill. After the first meadow and couple miles there are no places to camp at all, maybe one flat part 4-5 miles in. It is also full of about 20 blind ridges and passes that make you think you are almost past the hardest part but then it just gets steeper and there’s another 3 ridges you didn’t see before. So first 1-4 miles is a nice, normal hike. The rest is hell and I don’t recommend for hikers. A lot of rocks to make your feet hurt and no accessible water until maybe the end but I didn’t get that far.

on Balch Park Trail

3 months ago

What is marked as a trailhead appears to be on state prison grounds. Has anyone actually done this hike?

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.

4 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

Fairly easy hike. May have had too high of expectations, but it was okay. Views were just okay... no distinct start/finish... description says it's a 1.9 mile hike, but it's not marked except for the PCT trail markings... I used this app & hiked just under 4 miles... I guess you can go as far as you want; nothing states "Walkers Pass begins / ends here"

This trail is steep, has some very nice views and the stream is tranquil. It is approximately a 6 hour hike if you plan on going all the way to the cave.

6 months ago

Amazing hike from Sierra Road up to the Meadows yesterday. It's strenuous but not technical, and very rewarding. Fantastic views and some interesting wildlife.

Started out at 9am, got to the Meadows at 1:30pm. Ate lunch for half an hour, then back to the parking lot at 5:15. So 4:30 hours hiking up, 3:15 coming down. I brought 3 litres of water which was just enough.

Very little traffic on trail expect for a few mountain bikers riding down. They can approach very quickly and surprised me at one point - keep your head up.

Would highly recommend for fit, experienced hikers.

Great trail to get to some wild trout. Not many people fishing this far up the Kern because of its isolated location. Great trout and great backpacking. The hike out is tough. Leave early in the morning or later in the evening. Pack as light as possible.

8 months ago

Pros: incredible wild flowers, amazing views, and a lot of solitude. Cons: Trail from farewell pass to silver lake is completely overgrown at times with thorny shrubs and fallen trees. The trail beyond that is super hard to find until Franklin pass (which is still snowy) . Be prepared to navigate with a compass and topo and not see a defined trail for miles.

This place was absolutely stunning. When we were here the falls were perfect. The water wasn't too strong, but the rocks are slippery at points. Some people like to remove clothing so keep your eyes out if you have kids! The top of the falls is beautiful and there are several pools to swim around in. Some deeper than others. You can see occasional trout in the streams and deeper pools. We just got home and we already want to go back.

9 months ago

Nice trail, tough trail for a beginner once we started reaching 9000 feet I had to stop every quarter mile because I wasn't in good condition but beautiful scenery especially when it's cloudy

It is amazing scenery

mountain biking
11 months ago

Good long ride but difficult in sections. We're planning on doing the Cannell trail from the top but the road is still closed part way up from about 6000ft. You can keep driving the fire road past big meadow to park and join Cannell trail from there. You can also bike from the closed road which is a 2500ft climb.

Rode on a Saturday and did not encounter anyone else except some moto riders towards the end. Some great views and scenes throughout the ride.

I'm a novice and coped but it is difficult and took 5 hours.

Make sure you are well prepared because there is no phone coverage and no one else to help you.

Friday, May 19, 2017

prepare for a continuous uphill battle. it's tough.

Monday, May 15, 2017

AMAZING! We hiked with two kids 8 and 10 yr old. Keep going past the 1 mile!!! You'll be glad you did. Due to the massive amount of Rain/Snow this year the water level is very high. Extremely beautiful hike. We hiked 5 miles in and there was still more to the trail. Much to do and see. Our favorite parts were the little primitive camp sights along the way that the kids stopped and played in.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Keep going trail spans many miles

Sunday, April 02, 2017

My nephew and I completed this as a backpacking trip. We hiked to pine flats which is really beutiful. The wildflowers are beautiful right now. There was still some snow on the ground at pine flats. The trail was very difficult with the fully loaded pack. We were exhasuted by the time we got back and had sore feet becasue the trail is quite rocky. We did not see many people once we got about 2 miles in. We did see a coupl of dirt bikers on the way out. The views of the kern river an lake isabella are amazing. I would not recommend this as a backpackign trip for any beginners.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Backpacked this trail in June of 2016. We were the first group that year to cross over from the Mineral King Side. There was considerable snow blocking the trail, but we managed to make it up and over (no special gear required).

Crossed the Gap and camped down @ Bullion Flat. Fantastic little area. Water running down the side of the camp site. Spectacular sunrise. Well worth the drive up to Mineral King.....which is possibly the worst road have ever been on. Overall, great weekender trip. We used it as our shakeout for the HST later that year.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ran around and spent time up there as a kid. Awesome area!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Nice quiet trail, not a "destination" but a pleasant couple of hours hike that is easy underfoot, our kids enjoyed it which meant we enjoyed it too. We carried on up the trail another mile of so past the campground to make a 4 mile round trip hike.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

it is a long drive up, but beautiful!

on Balch Park Trail

Thursday, October 06, 2016

great for a day trip with your family

nature trips
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

We pick wild blackberries along Bear Creek Road leading to Balch Park nearly every summer. We haven't been for about 6 years, so we thought we would drive through on our way to Ponderosa to see if there were any berries. I wasn't very optimistic about finding any, given the recent prolonged drought conditions and the late date, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the blackberries bushes were plenty. Unfortunately most berries were dried up or overripe, but persistence paid off with just enough berries in our buckets to make one batch of wild blackberry jam!

I recommend driving up no later than middle of August to harvest a good amount of blackberries at their peak of ripeness! Make sure to wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, close toe shoes and maybe even some latex/rubber gloves as protection against the vicious thorns in the bramble. You don't want thick or leather gloves because the berries are delicate and you will just squish them if you try to pick them wearing leather gloves.

I have a friend that to,d me once about her Balch Park Family camping tradition. They would drive up early enough to stop and pick a bag of blackberries on their way up. She would used them to make wild blackberry syrup and serve over their pancakes for breakfast on the first morning. YUM! What a tradition and what great memories! Something about the labor and pain needs to gather those blackberries just make the reward so much sweeter!

Fishing at Balch Park and picking wild blackberries has definitely been a family favorite!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

This requires a $30 ark entry fee to get access. I rated it a three because I didn't actually pay the fee. I found a local free trail not on the list.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Good sites open areas and lots for the little ones to do

trail running
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Very dry, but the trail was smooth & well-maintained.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Going in is a breeze, but the hike out is a challenge. There are great fishing and swimming holes about 3.6-3.7 miles in along the Kern River. At the forks there are many signs of litter and junk leftover from recent others. We arrive on a Wednesday and hardly saw a soul. Left on Saturday morning and saw heaps of groups, fishers, campers, scouts etc. Definitely will come back.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

are there any thru trails east to kern canyon ranger station and on past little whitney meadow to cottonwood pass?
alltrails.com is great for short localized hikes, but i can't find any trails that go through; even while the forest service maps show some such trails.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Went this past weekend on opening day spent two nights it was freezing cold at night but worth the sights. My new favorite camping spot...

Monday, April 04, 2016

very tough on a few crests.. but thoroughly enjoyable

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