Kern River – Fall “Recon” Trip

This was a small “recon” exploration along the Kern River above and below Lake Isabella in mid October.  The purpose was to: Enjoy to Mid 70’s daytime weather, scout out potential sites for a group meet, evaluate water levels and fishing opportunities in the Kern River, evaluate if the area would be a good base camp for trail runs in the surrounding Sequoia National Forest. 

We found most of the public lands below Lake Isabella restricted from the usage of overland style camping.  There are a couple reservation/fee campgrounds but they offer little for larger groups

Above Isabella/Kernville we found an abundance of campsite options along the Kern River.   We selected the Lower Springhill Campground.  This site is at 3500 feet of elevation. We experienced no wind the first night and moderate winds the second as storms blew over the higher elevations of the valley.  Nothing above 12 mph winds

We found the fishing in this area very accessible with no results in the catching.  We did discuss with other anglers who had great results as recent as February

We found the village of Johsondale to be spared by the 2021 wildfires and while it seemed active around the lodge, there is no public fuel station.   

The burn scar area along Mountain Highway 50 is currently being logged to salvage the numerous old growth trees which were killed in the fire but not burnt beyond usage.  The salvage period is set to expire going into 2023 so there would be trail possibilities both east and west in elevations around 5k-8k. 

This upper Kern River shows promise as a base camp for trail runs such as the Sherman Pass 4X4 trail; Poison Creek Trail; Cherry Hill trail;