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.

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
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.

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
1 month ago

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

on Miracle Hot Spring

hiking
2 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

3 months ago

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

hiking
3 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.

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

This trail was a little difficult to find after the sign that says “Freeman Creek Trailhead”. We made a right turn into the lot right past the sign and then you’ll keep going straight onto the road with the marked sign (can’t remember the number) NOT the road to the right. It’ll just take you back to main road.

We hiked about 4.5 miles into the trail and didn’t find any end point so we turned around at this point. It’s a fun trail the first half and going back is a BIG workout. Expect to go up all those fun little descents. Took us about 4 1/2-5 hours total with little stops. Beautiful scenery but definitely a moderate hike. Including taking a little detour in the beginning we did about 10.5 miles. Not sure where this trail was supposed to end.

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.

Easy pretty :)

hiking
3 months ago

Went there last week and was unable to locate it due to my uncertainty of my footing. Though the river is low, it is still very dangerous.

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.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice hike to the falls although you can't really see the teacups unless you wade across the river and scale the side of the mountain. Not feasible for me, the dogs, wife and son... yes it's that easy. There is only a little bit of going around and over some rocks. The trail takes you along the East side of the East fork of the Kern River the whole way. The falls are about 2.5 miles in and on the West side. not really many good places I would cross. The lower part of the falls is beautiful but you can't see the actual teacups from the trail. Gorgeous hike though. Do it.

hiking
5 months ago

AMAZING cave. I’m only giving it a 4 due to the multitude of gnats when crossing the creek. We went in mid-October and there wasn’t much shade but the weather was great. Our 2 dogs had a blast. It is steep at first but eventually lets off. The cave is something that you normally pay admission for. Bring a headlamp and a camera/phone that can try to do it justice. Would do again.

Sequoia NF is absolutely beautiful! The ride to the trailhead itself is filled with stunning scenery. This trail as described is 2.5 miles of the “River Trail” and is NOT “hard”. My sister-in-law was who doesn’t fancy herself a hiker was hesitant to join the hike because she was put off by the “hard” description. I convinced her based on the distance and topography and she had no trouble at all. Now, we were unable to cross the Kern River and get to the Teacups as the water was too high. We even hiked beyond the Teacups in an attempt to find a safe place to ford to no avail. Oh well, next time we’ll approach from the other side of the river. Nevertheless it was a beautiful day and a beautiful scenic hike along the river.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hiking trail from Whiskey Flat trail head to a terrific waterfall pool area of the creek. Picture perfect.

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome hike BUT there are two ways to get there: the first is up the Kern as this map suggests, but yes you need to wade across the river (which is not easy or warm). The second route is (as another writer suggests) up the road another mile-ish past the waterfall/look out. It's very easy to miss. It's an old road that joins a trail which is a little overgrown but quite beautiful. I used a local map which included the trail. It intersects with a few other trails and roads but eventually drops down to the creek and it's easy to scramble to the top of the cups/falls. Be careful! It also looks easy to fall down those falls!

I just hiked this trail today. It was a tough hike for me since I didn't prepare so it was an uphill battle for me. I took my time and made it. The view was beautiful.

Great trip mountaineering the teacups. the water was a bit higher so it took a little more time to make sure everything was done safely. Don't jump if you don't know how deep it is. We past a group with one guy to had a broken ankle.

This trail was difficult especially during the summer months. We ran out of water on the way up to the cave 48 ounces each so make sure you bring plenty of water or a filter. We brought headlamps to explore.

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