Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kern River Hot Springs


We grabbed some snacks & beverages at a Bakersfield mini-mart & headed due east on Hwy 178. Into a wall of granite, a raging river filled with Sierra Nevada snow melt, the sounds of rushing water filled the air. We turned on to a dark narrow road without any guard rails. Oaks trees hung overhead, dark skies & huge cows in the middle of the road. After passing it once, we found the dirt parking area around 10:20 pm & started our hike down to the hot springs w/ flashlights. Down to the Kern River we scrambled thru muddy grasses & bushes. Candle light, river rock tubs & steaming mineral baths await. No one around, we had the whole place to ourselves..... until 1am.

There are numerous natural hot springs located on the Kern River canyon, most of them on the Lower Kern in between Lake Isabella & the Bako citrus orchards. Many are closed off to the public - private property.  Lower Kern Canyon on Highway 178 is the way to Kernville California & inside the southern portion of Sequoia National Forest. And yes, nudity is the norm at most hot springs, so offended families consider yourself warned.

Lower Kern River

Remington Hot Springs: [HIKE IN ONLY]
Old Kern Canyon Road; 2 miles west of Hobo Campground; .25 mile hiking trail descends down to the springs that overlook the Kern River. A few primitive campsites near dirt parking lot and more level RV spots on the paved road (to the west). Numerous hike-in camp sites in the oaks and near the river. Two developed National Forest Campgrounds are located a few miles to the east - Hobo & Sandy Flat.

Miracle Hot Springs: [CLOSED]
Old Kern Canyon Road; W of Borel Road intersection. Next to Hobo Campground. This one is no longer in operation, but folks have day use access for  fishing and picnics.

Delonegha Hot Springs: [Private Property]
Old hotel and stage coach stop; No public access

Scovern Hot Springs:
[Private Property]
Also known as the Hot Springs House; Resort burned down in 1971; Not much left

Democrat Hot Springs:
[Private Property]
Old stage coach stop; Cottages & hotel; No public access

Upper Kern River

Kern Hot Springs: [BACKPACK IN ONLY]
Backpack hiking trails lead from Jerky Meadow near Forks of the Kern into wild backcountry. This one is an overnight hike for sure, so you need to be prepared with topo maps, gear and supplies for wilderness travel on foot. Horses are also a common form of transportation. This springs location is on the High Sierra Trail south of Mount Whitney... in the remote Upper Kern River.