Back in August of 2019 Phil headed out of the Forks of the Kern Trailhead to Painters Camp. Here is what he had to report. Should help with some planning this season.
Hiked from Llyods Medows – Forks of the Kern up to Painters Camp late Aug 2019. From the Forks up to the Stock bridge (about 10 miles in) the trail is good. There are more deadfalls – fallen trees across the trail than usual. Expect about 1 every half mile or so. After the Stock Bridge it gets a whole lot worse the trail has one ever few foot ball fields of trail. The Trail fades in an out starting about 1/2 mile past the bridge. I have done this trail 25 times in the past 30 years, know the land marks and it took some serious work to stay on trail. If you have never been past the bridge I strongly suggest planning for a lot of extra time to sleuth out the trail. It generally parallels the river, BUT there is a section 1/2 mile or so past the bridge that turns inland goes over a rise then fades out in a meadow. This meadow has several bark-less dead tall trees – Widow Makers just waiting to fall over, not the place where you want to be stumbling around. The best I can suggest is to look to the far end of the Meadow on the left is a Large Granite bolder head to wards it, and pass on the left and slightly down hill the trail picks up just among a patch of a few trees. After that the trail fades in an out, and eventually comes within sight of the Kern River. At Manzinita Creek go across and diagonally across the gravel river bed the trail picks up the far slope. About 3+ miles in The trail down to painters is marked with a Carin. That will take you down by the Kern about 1/4+ mile up you come to Nine Mile Creek the ford is to the left of where the trail kind of meets the creek. Just across the creek about a football field or so is Painters Camp.
Thank you Phil for taking the time to report back to everyone on your trip. For those that went out last season, you can still send in your trail reports. It is never too late and can always help in planning for next seasons trips!