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SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby merlynnmann » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:35 am

I did another kern river hot springs in june 2012.This time i left the springs going north on the high sierra trail 4 miles(1hour 40 min.) and just before Whitney Creek(1/3 mile) turned right and exited kern valley up "willows route".Look for huge tree at entrance of the willow chute(about 2/3 of a mile from trail) It is a manzanita bushwhack to get to the tree. My hiking partner who hated the funston lake route hated this as well.It saved many miles but not energy, but i would do it again. merlynnmann@yahoo.com



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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby cgundersen » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:51 am

Sounds like you guys are serious gluttons for punishment. But, I guess soaking in the comfort of the hot springs fuels some wild climbs. Got any photos to share?
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SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby Hobbes » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:40 pm

I consider KHS as shorthand to identify the general region (+-5 miles) that might be described as "here be dragons" with regard to a certain species of fish.

I've studied various routes from the 3 main eastside THs (Cottonwood, Portal & Symmes), and from what I can determine, the only way to reduce a minimum of 30 miles (one-way!) is to head over the canyon wall past Funston. Since that route still looks to be around 18+ miles + some major league bushwhacking + some crazy ass exposure, I've given up finding any kind of short-cut.

It is what it is, so if you want to get there, you gotta train for some big mileage. My fantasy plan is to head straight to the Kern via Trail Pass, follow the river norte, fish & hang @ "the spot" (revealed to me by an old-timer who no longer fishes, but has spent a lot of time in the area), then head out either via Wallace/Whitney (HST) or go up to Milestone & out @ Shepherd. Either way, it's 60+ miles to fish a stretch of river that is 'just right'. LOL
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SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby Hobbes » Wed May 07, 2014 10:25 am

The fishing zone around KHS is still on my bucket list. I keep playing with the numbers, but there doesn't seem to be any way around hiking 30 miles in and 30 miles out. That is, unless you enjoy bushwhacking through manzanita and navigating down/up cliffs.

The fastest route I've come up with is going over Trail pass from Horseshoe to the bridge crossing, then follow the Kern river trail up to the HST junction. From there, it's either turn around and go back, or follow the HST to the PCT, and head back via Crabtree, Miter & NAP.

This would have to be a late season hike to not only let the water level drop, but to also be in best possible condition. If you could avg 15-20 miles/day, you could do the loop in 5 days. All that effort just to fish some of the most exclusive spots in Calif.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kern_River_rainbow_trout
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby jrad » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:11 pm

I've backpacked TWICE, down only, to Kern River roughly on your GPS route (below).

FIRST trip was over 35 years ago. I and a friend came down Rock Creek drainage (hugging the 9800-ft contour pretty much) and camped on a flat shoulder, a delightfully spacious, flat area at 9600 feet, with good views across to Chagoopa ... roughly 3/4 miles due north of your "6" way-point. Next morning we contoured around (9500-9600 ft) down to your line more or less and dropped down gullies to the river. Strenuous and extremely sweaty but safe and easy.

SECOND second time, 10 years later on one of my "Halloween Trips" (last week of October), I came solo from a camp near Siberian Pass and thence more or less along your route but I made a terrible mistake falsely "remembering" we had dropped down the middle of the basin that follows the intermittent stream about .5 miles north of your route. No we had skirted that drop. This time I kept thinking for sure we HAD dropped into the basin and only realized my mistake at about the 8600-ft level when I finally could see beyond the trees. What I saw was an ever steeper drop off with no sure view of a route all the way down. A VERY bad route. I was out of water by then and worried I might be forced back up (hours dry?) but kept thinking I'd see a route clear to the bottom. Soon a 200-ft vertical drop in the dry stream bed forced me to the N side of the dry stream bed. My new route led down 15 mini-cliffs (no gear). Luckily there was always a way down, including one that required me stepping out into a tree (a couple of feet away from a 20-ft cliff) which I shinnied down w/ pack. I wasn't sure I would make it until I was 95% down and was very unsure I could go back up (prospect of no water until next day perhaps). Then I heard a wonderful spring (I guzzled maybe a gallon right there!) and finally crashed through some light brush to the sandy flood plain and on to Kern HS by dark. I did not have to cross any swamps, at least. It was all very dry and sandy.

Finally on the trail just about sunset, I kept looking up at the cliffs I had descended (of course nobody in creation knew where I was - so cool!), saying over and over "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" The ordeal made me sick in retrospect. I love mountaineering and scrambling but have NO stomach for mountain climbing. Huge difference.

Bottom line is I can attest to both routes being doable but your route is reasonably firm and easy though steep. A good sweat but not scary. Forget the other unless well watered and with companions (and maybe ropes).

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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby Nozmo King » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:58 pm

I've made four trips to the Kern from Mineral King, & one almost to the Kern via Cottonwood Lakes area. By far, the fastest was Franklin Pass. We got over the Pass on Day 1 & were @ the Kern by 2 PM on Day 2. Went over Coyote once but I don't recommend it. It's not as scenic & the trail is sketchy near Broder's Cabin. Went over Sawtooth, which I hate, & then via Big Arroyo, which I love, but that took us 3 days. Last year, we went over Blackrock & then into the Kern by going by Moraine Lake. Beautiful trip but not fast. The trail from the eastside, which I did over 30 years ago, seemed very sandy & lots of sun exposure. The Kern Hot Springs are awesome & I love fishing that river. Someday I hope to spend 4 or 5 days just camped by the river, fishing & hitting the Hot Springs.
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby richlong8 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:20 pm

I have hiked to the Kern via Trail Pass in the Cottonwood area, about 18 miles, pretty easy walking, for the most part. However, this only puts you at the ranger station, about 1/4 mile upstream of Coyote Creek. On the plus side, i was able to hike out in one long day. I think it would take about the same time to get there by Mineral King, but this would put you down in the Rattlesnake Creek confluence area, closer to the hot springs. There is great fishing downstream from Coyote Creek, but it is great around Rattlesnake as well, Depends on where you want to go, and how much time you have. A person could spend a lifetime fishing this river, and never fish it all. I have looked down the 1000's of feet to the river from near the Funston Lake area, and personally, I don't think it is worth the effort. Here is a link to a trip report from my trip a few years ago, if interested. http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... f=6&t=7043
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