Socal - Kern County - Kernville NickNames: #CannellMeadow
|From Bakersfield, take Highway 178 to Lake Isabella. Turn on Highway 155 north to Kernville. Go past Kernville still traveling north to the "Sherman Pass" Road. Go to the summit which is approximately 10-15 miles. The starting point is at the top of the summit.|
Even though the trail conditions were bad, it is still an amazing area to ride. The meadows are still green and the forests have for the most part escaped the fires of the last several years. And until you get about 1/3rd of the way down the plunge you get to escape the crazy summer heat and the oven that is Kernville.
Have fun if you go, just be prepared to slip and slide around every sand filled turn.
a Cross-Country Rider from California
All I can say is this ride "Ain't all downhill"! It has some uphills & go prepared to pedal...it was way fun! I went with 5 other guys, one of them was a local "Kernville" MTBR & we were all thankfull he was there to "guide" us "flat-landers" over the trail!
IF you have the stamina you need to do this ride...it took about 3-4 or more hours.... (I don't really remember!??) from the start & that was with several rests for "re-grouping" as we needed to wait occasionally for all 6 of us to come together at possible trail junctions! (We honestly never sat for a "lunch-break of sorts)
All I can say is BRING lot's of water & energy suppliments so you do not bonk & make the ride become a BUMMER FOR YOU OR OTHERS ...SO DO NOT GO UNPREPARED!
"IF" you are a "serious", "die-hard" AND "VERY EXPERIENCED" mountain biker then go do this ride b-4 you get too old! haaaa-haaaa! You will NEVER REGRET IT & will be able to say you did it!
The trail starts off downhill with some motorcycle whoop-de-do's and sandy spots, but before long climbing ensues. It's up and down to Mosquito Meadows and then some steep climbing to a pass at about 9,400' near the 4 mile mark. From the pass, the trail drops some 1,600' through forest, meadow and stream. The top part is mostly buff forest singletrack that passes by all too fast. It gets progressively more technical as the trail grows rockier, but it's a "fast technical" that is an absolute blast to rip through. Make sure you have good tire pressure or you're sure to pinch flat through here.
At about 9 miles you reach Big Meadow and fire-road. The route follows the fireroad on the west side of Big Meadow for about a mile before singletrack starts again on the left (it's sign-posted). The trail is mostly flat and a little sandy here. Shortly, you'll come to an equestrian staging area. Bear right to find the trail again. You'll cross a meadow and come to fireroad and a youth camping area on the other side. Follow the fireroad up through the gate and go right (uphill) on the fireroad for about 2 miles. You may see a steep, sandy singletrack paralleling the road on your left. It's the Cannell Trail, which we lost down at the youth camp, but we thought it was just fine to climb on the road. When the road turns downhill, you can jump on the sandy singletrack or just ride down the road for about 1/2 mile. The singletrack crosses the road and you want to get on it going up to the right. It's steep in places with some very tough rocks. You top out at about 8,400' before dropping 800' over the next 1.5 miles on nice rocky, technical singletrack into Cannell Meadow.
The next 3 miles are mostly flat as you cross in and out of Cannell Meadow and the forest that's alongside it.
At the end of Cannell Meadow, the canyon closes in a little making the trail a little more challenging. Then you're at Pine flat and the top of "The Plunge". The biggest view you've had for the whole ride, other than from Sherman Pass, was looking across Big Meadow, but as you round a turn in the trail, you have an excellent vista of Lake Isabella and beyond, 4,000' below you.
The Plunge is about 10 miles long and was quite different than what I expected - it was mostly buff decomposed granite with banked turns with only a few technical areas as opposed to the rocky drop into Cannell Meadow earlier. But it was ear-to-ear grinning fun to bomb. The lower section had some loose rocks in the trail and some switchbacks but it was still very fast. Near the bottom, you come to a fireroad that bears left and up to a gate. We tried going right here but soon lost trail and had to back-track to the gate and over.
All told, we covered 26.7 miles in about 4.5 hours, went up 2,290 feet and down over 8,300 feet. Sweet, epic, awesome, quintessential, classic - one of the best rides ever. The only tough thing about it is coordinating the long shuttle from/to Sherman Pass.
Ride distance: 26 miles Elevation change: +2290 / -8300
Singletrack=75% Dirt Road=15% Truck Trail=10%
Lorax a 38 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Truth from Corona del Mar URL: Cannell Meadow Trail pictures