Explore the most popular river 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.

hiking
11 hours ago

amazing, can't wait to go back

This trail is great for beginners to test their skills and see if hiking is meant for them. The trail is easy to complete but has everything you would see on moderate trails in a short package.

hiking
6 days ago

To find the trailhead, drive down the Needles Road for 3 miles until the road deadends at a campsite, parking lot and outhouse. We thought we were maybe going the wrong way, but yep, just keep driving til you can't drive no more. We made it in a Kia Sorento, but there were sudans there that seemed to have bad the trip just fine.

It took my 59 year old dad and my small terrier -mix 3 hours to finish the hike, and I think the terrier had the worst of it. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but I might not recommend bringing them, as my dog is still licking his paws four hours later.

The uphill parts were brutal in some places, but the absolutely worst part was the staircase at the end. I'm actually unsure if you're even supposed to go on the staircase - as many people have mentioned, the tower is closed (burnt down) and when you make it to the top of the staircase, the last few steps are missing! I carried my dog up the staircase, got nervous about the height and turned back. but the second set of stairs took my breath away (maybe it was the combo of the altitude, adding another 12 lbs to my weight by carrying the dog, and the stairs that did it). The view was beautiful (although terrifying)!

Saw a rattlesnake on the way back, so pay attention to your surroundings.

hiking
8 days ago

Like some said, not a lot of shade. We only crossed one creek (still no bridge but we climbed a log), but there were some washes that may have water after the snow melts. (went in early June).

Found what looked like trail that followed along the river, but it quickly became overgrown and impassable. Would have been a nicer trail if we were closer to the water.

The trail continues on and there's no clear marker for the end of the Bull Run trail portion.

Otherwise extremely pretty trail, definitely want to hike when its cooler.

Bring lots of water. Flashlight is a must. Walking back is way better than walking there!!

hiking
14 days ago

Haven't been there BUT:
Between the fact that it's right on a very cold river, to the lack of photo of the actual hot springs to a few people who say they couldn't find it - I don't think there's an actual hot anything to be found here...

hiking
17 days ago

I loved this trail. Lots of sequoias hidden throughout the trail which was beautiful. Hiking out was a challenge but definitely worth it. I did 10 miles in about 5 hours.

hiking
19 days ago

Wowzers! This was extremely difficult for me... the elevation changes really made it even harder, but the constant inclines & declines were killer. Yes, the 1st part is the steepest but it never gets easier... just down to go back up to go back down several times. Absolutely no shade for over half the trail. The creeks were a nice reprieve - we took hand towels & soaked them in the water (likely the only thing that kept us out of medical danger). We had lots of water, but still not enough - we ran out half way back on the return... Don't forget that steep 1st incline is also an incredibly steep decline at the end... this was causing alot of pain on our toes & feet. The cave is definitely neat, but it's a long trek out. There is a geocache there too... If you think you have enough water, get more... double it!

backpacking
24 days ago

I proposed to have this trail added to AllTrails because it's a great alternative to the Norris trailhead in the early season that still ends at the Jackass Lakes. Not having done Norris, I can't compare the difficulty. Early season meant a little snow on the ground, but only in the shady areas. Not on the trail.
Getting there - it takes about an hour and a half to drive back Beasore Road after you turn off from Bass Lake. The road is unpaved at times, but I don't have 4WD and it was not an issue. But if rain is in your forecast, call the ranger for a road report. Make sure you either load the route into your Google Maps app before you lose service, or keep an eye on mileage so you know when to expect the parking lot. There is a large trail head sign for Jackass Trail head - you just start guessing the meaning of life that far back a dirt road and if you missed it some how.
The trail - the elevation climb is no joke. We did it in 2 hours with our packs on which sounds like cake to the experienced. When you start out, you're pretty pumped to be heading out, so you tend to not let it phase you. Just keep a trekking pole handy. We met a dad and daughter at the lakes, she was 10 and it was her first over nighter. So take that for what it's worth. Trail has a lot of shade, but some open hot spots as well if the sun is out. Since we went up so early in the season, some of the trail was hard to follow - look for stacked rocks to keep you on track. You shouldn't have much of an issue. Props to the USFS for going out there and clearing the trail - lots of fallen trees over the winter.
The lakes - lower Jackass Lake is great. I won't even try to explain the views, too incredible for words. There were 2 other campers up there, so 3 total sites set up along the lake and that was a good capacity. There is an upper Jackass Lake, we hiked to it the next day. You can see it on the map here. It was still frozen over but totally stunning. Again - views on views. Hike will make your glutes talk.

on Freeman Creek Trail

24 days ago

nice, quiet, breezy, running water sounds , a very nice hike, plenty of shade.

hiking
29 days ago

Beautiful hot springs. Not to many people during the week.

camping
1 month ago

Moderately hiked (easy to moderate), lightly camped trail. Several sand embankment campsites - perfect for stone fire rings and level sand tent footprints. No need to hike water in, I wasted the effort as my Sawyer filtered river water was crisp and quenching. Seven Teacups is not accessible from the trail as crossing the Kern is necessary and is hazardous given high river flow. Recommend hiking past teacups (about 2 miles from bridge) to find less frequented campsites. No permits required, but if you are fishing you must use “no barb” hooks (bent down barb - increases fish survival) as this is a wild Golden Trout (California’s State Fish) area which is protected (limit 2 catches and not more than 10”) - catch and release is always best.

1st bit probably the most challenging. The cave experience was quite rewarding. I would say the trail is a must if you are in the area. Bring a flashlight and water.

hiking
1 month ago

I have no idea why this is rated hard but so be it. It's a nice hike with not much elevation gain. You can bring your dog and the path is well maintained along the way (some larger rocks in the way but that's it). If you wanna catch some fish along the way, make sure to bring BARBLESS hooks, as these are the only ones allowed in this area. There are many very nice campsite along the way, very close to the river. I'd rate this hike as easy to moderate.

Did this hike back in February. It started to snow a bit once we got to the cave but no snow at all on the path.
As mentioned before, the initial climb is steep on goes on for a while. However, I would still rate this hike as moderate, since I feel like I did harder ones that were rated as moderate in this area. It takes a while to get to the actual caves, the hike itself felt like more than 5 miles to me. The caves are quite big and I'd recommend this trail especially for the winter/early spring and late fall time when everything else around this area is snowed in and you're still looking for a somewhat challenging hike.

backpacking
1 month ago

It was very sketchy on some parts, definitely was not easy. But the view will make you want to go back every time.

Wonderful hike, went there with my friend today.

The initial climb is challenging, but it plateaus out a bit, crosses a creek three times, and the cave is on the left.

Very cool to see the Native American cave paintings.

A wonderful hike with incredible views. We shared the trail with a mountain lion today, be careful. Also, be prepared for quite the uphill trek.

Awesome hike, ~1.75 hours there, 1 back

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.

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
3 months 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.

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.

Brisk spring morning hike. Cross the creek by crawling over logs. Woulda gone further but my daughter got tired. Definitely will come back to. Bring water. No shade, which is fine in cooler temps but would be killer in the summer.

hiking
3 months ago

late February, cool morning and the river was low, but still a great little 4 mile hike.

Gorgeous scenery. We took the dogs and it was a great trail for them as well. I would rate the trail as easy/moderate. There are plenty of rocks to climb over on the trail with some occasional inclines . There were also a couple of cool spots right next to the river to do a camping trip, so we will most definitely be back!

on Miracle Hot Spring

hiking
4 months ago

Don't be fooled by the track on this map. It is not accurate. The springs are right on the river. If you drive into the Hobo Campground, you can find the trail head to the springs at the far western end of the campground. A short walk will bring you to several shallow pools where in you will undoubtedly find humans of all sorts. Some of the pools are very hot!

on Balch Park Trail

5 months ago

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

hiking
5 months ago

I went there this morning with my baby Jade, it was easy to park and walk straight less than a minute to a nice hot spring. Jade and I had a great time and met nice people at the Miracles hot spring. Don’t forget to bring waters and some snack if you prefer.

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.

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