Forks of the Kern Trail

MODERATE 20 reviews
#14 of 73 trails in

Forks of the Kern Trail is a 5.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Springville, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 5.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,220 feet Route Type: Out & Back




nature trips

paddle sports

bird watching




wild flowers


White water kayakers use this trail to bring their kayaks to the put in point on the Kern River. The trail descends roughly 1000 feet with a handful of switchbacks. There are no really steep sections and the descent/climb are pretty gradual with plenty of flatter sections to rest while still gaining ground.

2 months ago

good morning hike !

3 months ago

I'm biased of this beautiful place, and it will always be home!

9 months ago

Great quiet trail. Every bend in the river of a fly fisherman's dream. The initial descent and final ascent are not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

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.

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.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Love the trail.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Decent trail. Little tough on way out but great trail to continue to kern flat.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I wish I could give this trail a better review. I have never witnessed a greater cumulative disrespect for a "Wilderness" area in all my life. Trash from decades of misuse can be found everywhere, some more that 30 years old. Human excrement littered the trail, the closest to the trail was 18 inches away. There was evidence of motorcycle traffic on the far side of the river on an old trail system. Multiple groups that exceeded the 15 person limit were encountered. I have backpacked all over the country. I have never seen anything like this in a "Wilderness" area. It almost seems like a mockery to describe it as such. Aside from the negligent human impact, the scenery was great, the rivers are beautiful. It just makes it that much tougher to see the neglect. Pros: Beautiful Scenery, water present, good campsites. Cons: Hot in summer, garbage everywhere.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Was great for a day trip. Good campsites that I saw. Fishing was excellent. I'm going to come back to stay a few nights to explore much more of it.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Good moderate trail. The drive out there can be a pain as it is tucked away. Once you get there though the trail down to the river is not terribly steep but moderate is the perfect rating for it. Lots and lots of bugs, plenty of back country campsites. I didnt see more than 5 or 6 folks the entire weekend. Lots of beaver action in the area so lots of lagoons and marshes to fish. Views were amazing and worth the 5 hour drive from south county. I really like privacy and off the beaten path type stuff so id go again and again and again. The hike back up took about an hour at a medium pace.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This is a pretty easy trail that leads to great fly fishing in the Golden Trout Wilderness. It gets pretty packed in the summer with kayakers, but nothing like some of the other trails I've been on. It can get hot here in the summer, so bring plenty of water!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Like a shorter version of the Grand Canyon. A joy downhill but never forget gravity, because it will never forget you! Do not overload yourself with unnecessary weight. Pretty trail with a nice river as the reward.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hiked this trail with some friends, set up camp by the river and had a wonderful time fly fishing. We couldnt of asked for a better fishing spot.

Friday, July 01, 2011

This trail is awsome its an easy hike going down to the river it can have quite a few people there but you can get to a place where you can be by yourself if you dont mind doing a little cross country and on a hot day if the river is low enough go for a swim. But coming back up to your vehicle can be a bit strenious as its all up hill

Saturday, June 05, 2010

This is a beautiful trail from start to finish. I hiked it with a friend in May 2010 and it is not very demanding at all. The trail is easily marked and the descent is fairly gradual with a handful of switchbacks. At the bottom, the confluence of the Little Kern and Kern Rivers was flowing pretty strong. There are many places to relax by the river and enjoy the wildlife. We saw many species of birds and a few small harmless reptiles. We were the only two people down there so it was a really nice place to get away from it all and purely relax. The hike back out was much easier than I anticipated. We did the roughly 2 mile hike and 1000 foot climb out in just under one hour. The hike offers great views of the back side of the Needles and the Kern River Valley. I look forward to doing that hike again!

8 months ago

recorded Kern Forks uphill

9 months ago

Monday, June 29, 2015

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