Friday, October 19, 2007

Biking Sherman Peak to Kern River

This mountain bike ride, called the 'Cedar Creek Ride', is one of our new all-time favorite epics! Its beautiful, rugged, long and hard, extremely remote, and fuuuuuun! You pass through so many different ecosystems, its like being on 5 different rides.

There's different versions of the ride that can make it longer, shorter, or slightly more downhill-orientated. We started at Sherman Pass, where Cannell Trail starts, about an hour north of Kernville in the Southern Sierras.

The initial singletrack climb takes you to one of the best viewpoints in the Sierras, at Sherman Peak. You look straight into the heart of Domelands Wilderness, up the dramatic Kern River Valley to Mount Whitney, and across at the Needles and the Western Divide. (Sorry, no photos of this right now - you'll have to ride it to see!)

Then after a curvy forest descent, we pedaled through lush meadows and streams and into one of the several sections of burnt-out forest. After many miles, we arrived at the Cedar Creek drainage. It was flying time! 4,000 feet of rugged singletrack bliss. It was like the nearby Cannell Plunge on crack; but not quite as long!

Towards the bottom of Cedar Creek, the views open up to Mineral King to the north and the Needles right in front of you! We turned and rode a couple demanding miles on Rincon Trail. Another less-technical option is to ride this trail all the way out, but instead we dropped down to the River Trail.

This trail is gnarly. The first rocky section passes a mine, and proceeds narrowly along a steep cliff. Scary!

Then the trail drops down to part of the wilderness section of Kern River, known as the Forks of the Kern. Beautiful! The trail, which is relatively flat here, is the most technical on the ride and there's 4 miles of it. You either hate it or love it! There were plenty of short hike-a-bikes over boulders. But, we cooled off and swam in the river a few times. We loved it!

Here's a quick video on a fun section of the River Trail:

Email if you want more info on this bike ride. We're planning to ride another version of the ride soon!

This is a GPX file of a different version of the ride (Taking Sherman Pass Trail at the start, and coming out on Rincon Trail rather than the River Trail).

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