Trip Report: 5 Days in the GTW

Backpacker Mark and his daughter headed out for a 4 night and 5 day trip from the Jerkey Meadow TH. Curious as to what they found along the way? Here is his report.

On Thursday June 14 my daughter & I headed out from Jerky Trailhead for a 5-day backpack trip into the Golden Trout Wilderness.

  • Day 1 we hiked 5.6 miles to Little Kern Bridge.
  • Day 2 we hiked 8 miles to Kern River along the Trout-Willow Meadow cutoff trail (there were not opportunities to refill water bottles along this section of trail). Just after the junction with the Round Meadow trail we entered into the burn scar from the Oct 2017 Lion Fire. Downed trees were across the trail all the way to Willow Meadow. Then from Willow Meadow heading north on the descent to Kern River we again ran into downed trees across the trail (good water at spring just north of Willow Meadow).
  • Day 3 we hiked back from Kern River to Trout Meadow Station where there is a spring with a piped gate valve spigot.
  • Day 4 short hike back to Little Kern bridge
  • Day 5 back out to Jerky Trailhead.

Thanks for sharing Mark. Good to know about the trail conditions as well as where you guys found water. I am sure others reading will benefit from this report.

Have you been out to the Golden Trout Wilderness this season? Care to share what you found along the way? No matter how short or how long, it would be great to have as it benefits all the visitors to this site. Head over to the “Contact Us” section and submit one today!

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How’s The Fishing This Year?

Curious as how the fishing is going when the snow packs were low again? Well a local resident Chuck Stokke brings you a fishing update from the Kern River on Father’s Day. He discusses what baits were tried and which one was successful. Check it out to see what worked!

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Trip Report: Fishing in Alpine Creek

A couple users headed out for an overnight trip. They started at the Clicks Creek TH and went over to Alpine Creek. Here is the report.

Just got back from a two night camping trip into the GTW. FIRST NOTE: The Kernville Ranger station has relocated but they have not left any indication on the old building to help find the new location.

From a local newspaper: “The new Kern River Ranger Station is located at 11380 Kernville Road, Kernville, and is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.”

Our trip was for my buddy to fly fish for Golden Trout on his new Tenkara rod, and for me to photograph the area. We started at the Clicks Creek Trail head, (*be warned, it is easy to park at the ‘wrong’ trail head and this means you will walk an additional 1.5 miles on the Clicks Creek trail, don’t tell my hiking partner though! ūüėČ

Our destination was the Sage Brush Gulch area. Hiking in, we met a fly fisherman on his way out, a very kind chap who gave my buddy some flies and good tips. Down at the Little Kern we met four young guys camping and fishing at a great spot by the confluence of Apline Creek and The Little Kern, we hiked further on up Alpine Creek and set up camp.

On our first evening, we saw a healthy looking adult Sierra Gray Fox, he sauntered by on a trail across Alpine creek about 50 feet away, he seemed unbothered by us and our sleeping Dogo Argentino/Boxer. The fly fishing only produced a 6 incher who jumped off the barbless hook, but my buddy was happy to get a fish on. We saw a beautiful 10 -12 inch Golden Trout in Alpine creek in a deep pool, so they are in there.

The hike back out is not to be underestimated but actually wasn’t too bad, worst part was the Mosquitoes swarming by the water sources, bug spray and continued movement solved this for us. Driving back down to Johnsondale bridge we encountered a herd of about 100 cows being walked along Western Divide HWY to a new pasture, the cowgirl gave us a wave as we drove slowly by.

Nighttime low temps were a cool but manageable 45f-ish, days were 79/80f. It was a great trip, although my dog injured his foot on a rocky section near the river. (Lesson here : make sure your dog’s nails are trimmed safely short before heading into back country, and even then, do you really want to take your precious domestic pet / family member into the wilderness? Even though he loves it, I am not sure I will take him again, other than on day hikes. Was glad I packed first aid for him and a spare boot for any paw issues.)

Thanks for the report!

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Trail Report: Summit Lake

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User Scott Williams headed up to Summit Lake and beyond for two nights. Summit Lake is located on the Sequoia National Forest side of the wilderness. It is about a 7 mile adventure to get there. The photos above are from his trip. Here is what he had to report:

Backpacked up to Long Meadow out of Shake Camp and spent two nights. Beautiful weather and surprisingly no bugs. Stream is only about six inches deep and can be easily crossed without getting wet. Took a day hike up to Summit Lake. One very large tree down before the last creek crossing. Not passable by stock. Doesn’t look like anyone has camped at Summit Lake in awhile. If you make it all the way to Summit Lake, hike up the extra 100 feet over the pass towards Cyclone Meadow. Well worth the extra effort and probably more scenic than the lake.

Thank you so much Scott for sharing a piece of your adventure. Now readers have an idea of what to expect when heading out to Summit Lake. Thanks again!

Have you ventured out to the wilderness recently? Care to share your report with others? Make sure to visit the Contact Us portion of the website. You also head over to Facebook at post there too!

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Trail Report: Day Hike to Long Canyon Stringer

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Hiker Michael Brush headed out for a day hike to Long Canyon Stringer via the Blackrock Trailhead. The trailhead is located  on the Sequoia National Forest, but quickly crosses into the Inyo National Forest side of the Golden Trout Wilderness. Here is what he has to report.

Dayhike from Blackrock Trailhead to the top of Long Canyon Stringer, not far from Redrock Meadow (specifically to Casa Vieja Meadow, and head directly towards Redrock Meadow from there).  Weather was perfect for hiking

There were plenty of fallen trees to be found, I stopped counting at about seven or eight total.  One between the trailhead and the wilderness boundary sign, one group of two trees before Lost Trout Creek (in fact right before the unnamed creek south of it), and a whole bunch of downed trees in the vicinity of Beer Keg Meadow.

At that unnamed creek just prior to Lost Trout Creek, it was deep enough to get my socks a little wet with the Gortex hiking boots if I followed the trail as intended.  On the return trip, bypassed this by going downstream 50-100 feet and crossing a narrower spot.  The intended log footbridge with a planed top looks broken and sunken.  There was a flimsier one there (not planed), that flexed some under my weight.  As someone kinda big and a little clumsy, I passed on that option as the water appears to be at least 2 feet deep underneath.

Overall the good hike I expect during the early season.¬† For the early season water might be deeper, might be more downed trees, but the weather was perfect.¬† I attached pictures of the downed trees, the sunken bridge, Casa Vieja Meadows, roughly where I ended the hike (looking down the Long Stringer), and one of my favorite “landmarks” along the way:¬† “Stack of Pancakes Rocks” between Casa Vieja Meadows and Lost Trout Creek.

Thanks Michael for the trip report and photos to go with it. Glad you had a safe and fun time. Keep them coming if you head out more this season.

Have you been out to the Golden Trout Wilderness yet this season? Please consider sharing how it went here on the GTW website. The info shared will help others during their planning efforts this season.

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Last Road Opens

Mineral King Open Sign

The road to Mineral King is now open for public use. This is the final road to open for the summer 2018 season. Users can now access the northwestern most tip of the Golden Trout Wilderness via Farewell Gap. When entering into the wilderness, you’ll have to pay for a permit through the National Park Service. Permit fees are generally based on your trip’s starting point. Since Mineral King is within the National Park Service jurisdiction, you will have to obtain a permit there. This is a great access point to some very geologically unique areas, water falls, high elevation lakes of the Golden Trout Wilderness. Depending on the time of year, it can be great for photography.

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Trail Report: Jerkey Meadow to Trout Meadow

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Photo by Daniel Hall in May 2018

Last week Daniel went out into the Golden Trout Wilderness via the Jerkey Meadow Trailhead. He hiked up and over to the Little Kern River Bridge and ultimately to Trout Meadow. Then he reversed course and this is what he has to report. The Forest Service and partners will likely benefit from this report too for trail maintenance purposes.

Jerky Trailhead to Little Kern Bridge
There is only one blowdown in this section, a fourteen inch diameter one about a quarter mile before the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary. Hikers and stock are getting by it without significant problems or environmental damage.

Little Kern Bridge (via Willow Meadow Cut-Off) to Trail Junction for Trout Meadow
There are five blowdowns, ranging from six to fourteen inches in diameter. All except one are in the burn area over the crest of the ridge. Hikers and stock are getting by them without significant problems. Work was apparently started for a preemptive dropping of a large dead tree, but the sawyer work was not completed (see photos). By the way, the extensive and recent trailwork on this trail is
notable.

Trail Junction for Trout Meadow to Trout Meadow
There are six blowdowns, ranging from six to fourteen inches in diameter; one of them will require a lot of cuts and time to remove (see photo). Hikers and stock are getting by them without significant problems or environmental damage.

Trout Meadow (via the regular trail) to Little Kern Bridge
There are six blowdowns, ranging from six to sixteen inches in diameter. Hikers and stock are getting by them without significant problems or environmental damage.

Would you like to see Daniel’s photos from his trip? Check out the link HERE. Thanks so much Daniel for your trip report. It is greatly appreciated and I am sure it will of use to others planning on going out that same direction.

If you have recently went out into the wilderness and would like to share, please do! You can share via email, Facebook, or even just past your report in the comments below. It will get shared!

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More Access! Sherman Pass Road

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Photo courtesy of panamintvalley.com

The Sherman Pass Road is open to the Black Rock Trailhead. Now users can access the Inyo National Forest side of the Golden Trout Wilderness besides Horseshoe Meadow. The Black Rock Trailhead is a popular starting point for those going down to Jordan Hot Springs or visiting some of the largest meadows within the Golden Trout Wilderness.

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Trail Report: Summit and Maggie Lakes

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This past weekend hiker Andy Cai went out from Hidden Falls Campground and did a big loop to see places like Summit and Maggie Lakes. He even tried out the old Griswold trail that was reopened in 2015. Here is what he has to report:

Hidden Falls Campground -> River Trail -> Summit Lake, this section is easy to follow/hike and mostly snow-free, summit lake is ice-free.

Summit Lake -> unknown pass east of Sheep Mountain, this section is covered by firm snow.

-> Twin Lakes -> Frog Lakes -> Maggie Lakes. Snow-free but there are falling branches/trees everywhere. With a GPS navigation it should not be a problem to reach Maggie Lakes. All lakes including upper Maggie Lakes are ice-free. Frogs are so loud at Twin Lakes that you can hear them a mile away.

Maggie Lakes -> Summit Trail -> Griswold Trail. Falling trees everywhere but with GPS it’s easy to navigate.

Griswold Trail basically does not exist any more. A lot of bushwhacking and descending on steep slops with off-trail navigation. I had to cut a very steep slope from Griswold Trail down to Silver Creek eventually, as following the trail was not possible. That 1000 ft off-trail distance with 600ft elevation loss took me a couple of hours.

Passing Silver Creek I reached an abandoned fire road and walked all the way to my car at Hidden Falls Campground.

What a trip.

Thanks for the report Andy! This will be a big help for those wanting to head out this weekend or future dates this summer season. Anyone else venture out to the wilderness and want share you trip? Please do so as we all would like to know how things went!

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One Road, Several Trailheads

As of 9 AM this morning, the North Road (21S50) will be open to the public! This is a major access point to several trailheads on the Sequoia National Forest side of the Golden Trout Wilderness. Trailheads now accessible are the Summit Trail, both Clicks Creek ones, and Lewis Camp!

Popular destinations from these trailheads are Maggie Lakes, Little Kern River north of Grey Meadow, and the Little Kern Bridge. It is great to hear these will be a lot more accessible in time for Memorial Day weekend. Just make sure to grab your wilderness and camp fire permits (all free) before heading out!

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