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Sequoia National Forest, in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California has the highest concentration of giant sequoia tree groves in the world with 38 groves within the park boundaries. Other species of trees include Jeffrey Pine, Red Fir, Coast Douglas-fir, Ponderosa Pine, White Fir, and Lodgepole Pine. In addition to the big trees, the park also features 850 miles (1,370 km) of trails, camping facilities, and beautiful wilderness areas. Sequoia NF is the official home of the Boole Tree, 12000 foot peaks, granite monoliths, and many limestone caves. Check out the trails listed or go to the Visitor Center for more info. Sequoia National Park, Sequoia National Forest, Kings Canyon National Park and Giant Sequoia National Monument are all next to one another in this area so it is a great place to make a trip out of.

hiking
17 hours ago

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.

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
7 days ago

One of the most beautiful hikes I've ever done! I would rate it at a medium hike level though. The hike is long, but not hard. Amazing trees, fern, views

hiking
8 days ago

This trail is marked easy on AllTrails but really the whole trail isn't easy.

While you're on the Fire Road, during the first third of the loop, the trail is easy. But once you turn off the Fire Road at the Apex of the loop the trail becomes a mid-sized path that is more moderately challenging than an easy rating would suggest. We would rate it moderate because of the elevation drop and level of trail maintenance. I would not suggest that day hikers who are limited to easy trails should attempt the section that branches out from the Fire Road particularly after a rainfall.

In a previous post, Luke mentioned that the turn off is easy to miss and it is. As you are walking north on the Fire Road, look for a picnic table on the left in a clearing by the creek. The trail will begin in about 50 feet to the left. There is a marker but it is still easy to miss.

My hiking partner and I used AllTrails with my phone over Verizon. Using GPS we could track our location in real time on the AllTrails map. Even so we accidentally ended up off trail a few times. Some of the intersections along the trail are not clearly marked.

Once on the moderate level section, the trail begins a rapid descent which you can see on the AllTrails topo diagram. There are sections that could be difficult for anyone who does not have good lower mobility. At the location I have marked with 2, the trail splits and the marker isn't clear. Use your map with GPS to make sure you get on the correct trail.

I hiked this trail in Oct17 and even then the creek had enough water in it that you would have to wade through where it crosses the path. Be aware there's no bridge at this spot. You can see the water level in my photos.

Features of this trail as it is mapped in AllTrails include mountain top views, patches of Lady Bug swarms, creek crossing, views that potentially could gaze out to the coastal ranges and off-highway vehicle access.

We thoroughly enjoyed this loop but both of us thought it would be wise to note that the Fire Road section and the third-third which begins at the creek crossing at the forest floor should be considered easy. The second third should be considered moderate.

horseback riding
9 days ago

Mill Creek Trail review

I was looking for a trail ride on horseback outside of Bakersfield, something not too far away but fun. I came across the Mill Creek Trail but could not find a lot of information about it for horse riding. My wife and I decided to explore this trail. Here is my review.

First of all, thanks to the Backcountry Horsemen of California Kern River Valley unit for maintaining this trail. They have done an excellent job.

This trail ride is a beautiful ride that is mostly a gradual climb over the long haul. I would classify it as a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 in difficulty. Although the trail is well-maintained there are parts where your horse must step very carefully around rocks and maneuver other obstacles, including crossing the Mill Creek several times. The trail is a multi use trail, shared by hikers, bikers, and horses. Motorized vehicles are not allowed… But we did see one hunter returning down the trail on a small motorcycle. Cattle also roam the area as evidenced by their sleeping areas and droppings.

The trail head begins off of Kern Valley Road. Google maps will take you right to it if you enter “Mill Creek Trail Head” (shows up as Porterville). The drive up the Kern River Canyon with a horse trailer is precarious, so take your time completing the 27 miles up the canyon to Kern Valley Road. Be polite with traffic behind you. I had to pull off several times to let faster moving traffic pass. There is not a lot of parking space at the trail head. The best place to park a trailer is directly in front of the trail head sign. (See photo of parking situation.) I was not able to turn around with my trailer at the trail when we left and had to drive up Kern Valley Road until finding a larger turn out.

Once saddled up, we started the trail. The first switchbacks may be a little steep and on the side of steep hill slopes but don’t worry… Most of the trail is not like this. After you get around the first hill, you will arrive at a gate. The barbed wire gate for horses is to the left of the hikers gate. You will have to get off your horse to open and close it. From then on just follow the trail. The ride is beautiful and very quiet among Scrub Oak trees, granite boulders and at times is completely in the shade of Mill Creek.

My wife and I only rode about 1.5 miles in and then back out which took about 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace. The entire trail continues for approximately 7 miles up to Squirrel Meadow and Breckenridge Road. I can’t imagine doing the entire ride in one day unless your horse is in super mountain shape. As you can see from the photo of the satellite image with the pins on the trail, this trail basically climbs the mountain all the way to the top. I suppose you could trailer in your horses to Squirrel Meadow and ride down the mountain much more easily if you had someone meet you and pick you up.

If you are looking for a beautiful mountain ride close to Bakersfield and have some experience with trail obstacles, this is definitely worthy of your time.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful, quick loop with the most breathtaking sequoia trees. Just very short.

This trail is a bit misleading based off the map. I thought the end would be some epic spot but the map on Alltrails simply stops when in actuality the trail goes up to Ponderosa. We stopped roughly where trail shows though.

I would also argue that this is a moderate hike. I am not in good shape and although I got my HR up at spots it is not hard.

Beautiful trail and hike.

hiking
12 days ago

definitely worth the hike. Trail is actually closer to 14.5 out and back. I underestimated the incline past mile marker 3 so wasn't able to reach the summit before I had turn back to make it back down before dark.

hiking
15 days 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.

hiking
24 days ago