Mountain Biking Kernville

Best Time of Year - June to October
Type: Mountain Biking
Gear Needed - Mountain Bike
Why You Should Go - Kernville has such a vast assortment of trails to ride!

A little about Kernville...
Kernville is a small town situated along the Kern River,  nestled in a valley in the Southern Sierras about 4 hours from San Diego. It has the river, forested mountains, a rocky valley, and even Lake Isabella when it has enough water. Many of the adventures you can experience start right from town, literally out the back door. It is truly a small town, not some rebuilt suburb designed to look like a small town, and it feels like one. I mean, just drive five miles North and you no longer have cell coverage. Or a gas station. But, that's why you want to be here. To get away from the hustle and bustle and get in some real adventuring. And that's why Kernville is the place.

Kernville has some of the most epic riding you can find in California. There are some incredibly well maintained singletrack trails that take the rider through forests, rocky technical stuff, and even scenic river trails. Someday soon I will write a special post dedicated to the rides that can be found here, but in the meantime check out my map and then check out the best of the best below:
  • Cannell Ridge - The Big Daddy. Know a really skilled rider, he or she knows about Cannel. 27 miles of single track and fire road, mostly but not all downhill (you will want to shuttle this one - call M & R or ask a good friend).
  • Just Outstanding - So great, KRBC developed an award winning beer after it! Starts with singletrack in the forest, taking you through tunnels of manzanita, across creeks, and then some very fast and almost technical fire road.
  • Portuguese Pass - I used to think Just Outstanding was my favorite ride, until I found out about Portuguese Pass. Forest single-track just like JO, but a lot more of it! Park at the trail exit and bike up the road to the start. There might be snow, and you might be putting on a show for a mountain lion (Since they outlawed hunting them, they have grown in population, and are more densely populated than anywhere else in the state - so I was told). I rode this trail alone one time and wore my full helmet just in case.
  • Camp Nelson - There are quite a few trails in this area, but the areas namesake - The Camp Nelson Trail, is the main attraction. It's up the road a bit, but riding through the giant sequoias makes it worth it!
  • Kernville even has a skills park right in the middle of town.
  • Head away from town, camp at Quaking Aspen CG, and ride/explore the heck out of the Camp Nelson area.
  • There are also some campgrounds by the 100 Giants.
  • Bring a tube and float the river when and where it's safe.
Basic mountain bike gear. Bring multi-weather clothes to layer with. It can be 100 degrees in the valley and snow up on the higher trails.

There are a couple markets in town that have plenty of the items that you will need.
  • Sierra Gateway Market (right across from KRBC).
Reservation Windows (For Campsites, Permits, etc...)
  • Campsites - They open as weather permits. The higher up you go the later they are available in the Spring.
  • Permits - None needed.
  • Peak Season's - MTB (Apr - Nov).
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Video - 

Tips and Tricks
  • For a warm up, check out the bike park in town.
  • You don't have to get far from town before you lose cell coverage. Plan accordingly.
  • No gas outside of town either (unless you get to Camp Nelson).
Dining (and Stuff)
  • Kern River Brewing Company - Go for the beer and stay for the food (the chicken wrap with jalapeno jelly is awesome). Oh, try the Framboise - my guilty pleasure.
  • McNalley's - Killer steaks if you find yourself up the road a bit. 
  • Ewings On The Kern
A Little More Info
  • Weather at Weather Channel.
  • Shuttle Service (for Cannell Ridge) at Mountain and River Adventures - 760-376-6553
    or toll free at 800-861-6553. They also run a shuttle up to Just Outstanding (but self-shuttling to here is not that big of a deal if you have the vehicles).
See you out there!