Short Pacific Crest Trail Hike to Kern River

1 review #8 hike out of 11 in
1.9 mi
1 hrs 4 min
180 ft
Elev Gain


After those tackling the Pacific Crest Trail have slogged through the Mojave Desert and ascended from Tehachapi, they finally reach the Kennedy Meadow Store which marks the beginning of the Sierra Mountains. For those trying to do all 2700 miles in one year northbound, this marks the spot where they now have to consider swapping their shorts and sun shade for microspikes and snow gear. The first 2 miles of the trail goes to a bridge crossing South Fork of the Kern as the moderate trail winds through the Sierra South Wilderness. When we did this trail in August of 2017, the trail was bounded by prickly matajilla poppies and wild lavender. At the bridge the Kern River was rushing past and we camped on the left side of the trail up the hill that is immediately after the bridge.

Finish the hike by returning the way you came. Now you have that feeling of having walked 2 out of the 2700 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail!

Getting Started

Take the 395 to the turn off for Kennedy Meadows. The road climbs steeply for 9 miles, the levels out for the remaining 15 (approximate) miles to Kennedy Meadows. Take the right turn to the campground, but first make sure to make a pit stop at legendary (to PCT hikers and fans) Kennedy Meadows Store. You can start the hike from there, or drive to the campground 1/2 mile further up the road. The trail starts at the back of the campground right behind the pit toilet.

Taking Children

As a flat two mile trail (4 miles round trip), this would be ideal (10) for children.

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