Cannell Trail Fri. Nov. 18th (tomorrow)
Way late notice, I know, and most people don't have Friday off, but I'm
wondering if anybody else might be doing the Cannell Trail tomorrow.
I'll be doing the full loop: park the car just north of Kernville. 18 miles of
pavement up along the river in which you gradually gain 1000'.
Then 15 miles and 5400' of paved climbing up the Sherman Pass
Rd. to the pass. Then 27 miles of singletrack across the Kern
Plateau and down the Plunge back to the car. This totals about
60 miles and 8000' of climbing; I'm figuring about 7 hours of
I'm planning on starting riding around 7:15 or 7:30 and finishing
by 3:30, but I'm somewhat flexible. E.g. if others were shuttling
I would adjust my start time to meet them at the pass.
Weather looks great. Who knows how much longer the snow
will hold off...
I'll be on my singlespeed...
Looks like a fun loop, too bad there is so much road stuff. I'm planning on riding up Cannel trail to Sherman peak and then back down next summer with some friends.
Originally Posted by kdinger
I think you are crazy riding that as a loop but to each his own. I know that you picked a great day to do it. The weather up here in Kernville has been outstanding for the last several days. What has set this last week apart has been the lack of haze in the air. It was so clear up here I'm sure the veiws were spectacular. I took my son motorcycle riding down by the lake and it was smooth and calm. Around 4:00 I thought about driving over to the trailhead to see if you were done yet (It is about 2 miles from my house) but I got busy doing nothing around the house.
That is a crazy loop but riding it up and back seems even more sadistic. I hope you have ridden the trail before so you know what you are getting into. Unless you are some superhuman climber I would recommend hiking boots instead of riding shoes. I don't know for sure but I would guess you would be walking 6-9 miles of trail on the way up. It would be quite an accomplishment.
It was a great day. I actually got someone else to come along this time. It was a
Originally Posted by jfsh
little cold going up along the river, but the climb up to Sherman Pass warmed us
up nicely. As you say, the air was very clear so all the views were just spectacular.
Had you come by the trailhead at 4:00 our car would have still been there - it took
longer than expected and we finished about 4:45. Actually the ride time was just
about 7 hours as I expected but there was more off-the-bike time, mostly dealing
with my friend's tubeless tires. (Note: if you have slime in your tubeless tires and
you get a flat, then your valve stem fails, and it turns out you brought a schraeder
valved tube so you borrow your friend's tube, and then you get another flat, it will
be very hard to get a patch to stick to the tube because it is now covered in slime.)
I do what I've taken to calling the Lower Cannell loop (bottom trailhead ->
Sherman Pass Rd -> Cherry Hill Rd -> Big Meadow -> Cannell Trail) three
or four times a year (I live in Ridgecrest), but this is the first time in 5 years
I've done the full trail from Sherman Pass. The upper part is great - much,
much better than I remembered. I think I'll be doing the full loop more often
from now on. There was a little bit of snow on the trail but not enough to cause any
problems. This is the second time in a row for me that there has been a fire along
the Cannell Trail - last time a large area in Cannell Meadow, this time a single
(but quite large) downed tree somewhere between Mosquito Meadow and Big
As far as riding it as a loop - I don't like riding up the river much, but I actually
enjoy the climb up the Sherman Pass Rd. No traffic (saw two cars today) and
I like the gradual process of climbing higher and getting more and more
expansive views and watching the vegetation change and feeling the air get
cooler. I agree that going up the Plunge is nuts - I've done it once and
it was miserable (it was not my idea, it was part of a silly "adventure" race).
Being from Kernville, do you have any ideas for other lesser known trails to
try in the area? Or would the locals rather keep the crowds concentrated
on Cannell and Just Outstanding? I tried the Clear Creek trail down by
Havilah a couple weeks ago (as a loop, of course, up the Soda Springs
Rd. and down the Clear Cr. Tr.). The climb was fine and the whole ride
was pretty, but the Clear Cr. Trail had major sections that were unrideable -
lots of downed trees, etc.
There is tons of other stuff here. There are not a lot of local riders here and most of the ones I know aren't trying to hide any trails. Many of the trails need more traffic so they don't get overgrown. I think it is too bad that most people only ride those two trails. During the Summer and Fall you could ride two weeks here and not do the same trail twice. There are DH and XC options and loop potential like what you did on Friday. Let me know specifically what you are looking for and I can give you some suggestions.
In general, long (say 30+ miles) loops with lots of climbing (say 5,000'+) and
Originally Posted by jfsh
a mixture of single track and fire roads are my favorite. Pavement is ok, especially
if it is climbing on quiet roads. Is there any good reasonably long singletrack open in
the winter? My brother and sister-in-law will be visiting over New Year's and would
like to ride.
Originally Posted by kdinger
There are several places that come to mind. The first place I would recomend is the OHV area between Sherman Pass and Troy Meadow campground. I think there is over 100 miles of maintained singletrack and many more miles of dirt road. You can get a good map of the area on the Sequoia National Forest website. These trails are built and used by motorcycles but are great for mountain bikes to. I would not ride there on a summer weekend but in the fall the place is a ghosttown. You could ride countless different loops using the roads and trails in that area. Once you get a map you will see what I mean. I have ridden all of these trails on my dirtbike and about half of them on my mountain bike. You can drive to the area from the east side off of 395 just North of Ridgecrest.
Another good one to check out would be Cow Flat road to Brekenridge road to Mill Creek trail. Mill creek is about 7 miles of great downhill. Cow Flat road is a dirt road that climbs out of the Kern river canyon from 178. The high point of this ride is 6700' so you could do this earlier than some other rides around here.
You could still ride all that stuff now but not after it snows. During the winter we ride the Kern Canyon trail a lot. It starts in Keysville and shadows 178 for about 15? miles. It goes over several ridges and in many places is high above the highway. There is quite a bit of climbing. An out and back on that would be a long day and it would be 99% singletrack. About 10? miles down the Kern Canyon Trail, Badger Gap trail forks off to the right. It climbs for 14 miles and 2500' to Rancheria road. You can stay on the trail for another forty minutes and ride up to Oak Flat Lookout. It is an old fire lookout tower that can now be rented by the general public. I rode up there once during Thanksgiving weekend and there was a family staying there for Thanksgiving. We always do this trail as a shuttle and we go down it. It is not nearly as steep as Cannell and I think you could ride up the whole thing.
I have been looking at doing Clear Creek for a while. Stories of downed trees and private property at the bottom have kept me from trying it. We are doing a ride in the Piutes on Sunday. It is another that I have ridden on my dirt bike but not yet on my mountain bike. We are shuttling up to the Claraville area but I'm sure you could ride it as a loop. It would be brutal, a long dirt road climb. I am thinking the trail will be shorter but more difficult then Cannell. We will see how it goes. I love riding a trail for the first time.
I could go on and on but these are the best suggestions I could think of right now. Please feel free to ask me more questions and I will do my best to answer.
Jeff, thanks for all the ideas. Should keep me busy for awhile. Mill Creek was on my list, but I was thinking of looping through Bodfish and Havilah, looks like the Cow Flat Rd. is a much better option - much less pavement. I've ridden up in the area around Troy Meadows once but there were way too many motorcycles. I'll have to give it another try in the fall sometime. I can confirm the downed trees on Clear Creek. And perhaps also the private property - when the trail comes out the mouth of the canyon it bifurcates several times - I chose a route at random and ended up having to hop a barbed wire fence to get to the road. I assumed that somewhere there was an official trailhead, but maybe not. How did the ride near Claraville go?
Originally Posted by jfsh
I used to live in it's shadow 30 years ago. Good ol' Squirrel Valley. Is the dirt road still
open to the top?
We have done a cool loop up there where we go about 8 miles up a dirt road then about 8 miles back down some cool singletrack. This time we decided to get dropped off at the top a ride down into the Weldon area. This was on some trails that I had ridden many times on my dirtbike but not on a mountain bike. The trails in this area are known for being steep and rocky. This stuff lived up to that reputation. There were several sections that were just too steep to climb on a bike. Our ride time was about 4 hours and I would guess that 1.5 hours of that was pushing up hill. There were some sweet downhill sections though. I will do this trail again but it will need to be after I forget how burtal the hike-a-bikes were.
As for Cook's Peak I think the road is still open. I have never been to the top myself but know several people who have.