Mountain Bike Rides in the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra Rocky Gulch Trail

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Both technical and flowy, this trail is studded with Sierra Slickrock.

Rocky Gulch Trail SingletrackMaking winter slalom turns on Rocky Gulch Trail.

Black Diamond

THE STATS

2.5 Miles
240 feet of climbing.
900 feet of drop.

Usually ridden one way:
Its best to ride down from Wagy Ridge Tr (1.2 miles) to the trail and end on Sawmill Rd.

UPDATE: May 2017: Trail has been maintained and is riding awesome! On the climb back out, look for the fainter mountain bike trails that bypass the steep hike-a-bike sections on the main trail! Both side options are on the left side.

The Ride

Rocky Gulch Trail Granite Slab
On one of the granite slabs.

Packed with nonstop action and almost continuous twists and turns, this dirt singletrack is interlaced with numerous rock obstacles and balance-testing granite slabs.

It has a few sections that will remind riders of Gooseberry Mesa or Moab - with a distinct Kern River Valley flavor.

Rocky Gulch Trail is a 2.2 mile trail that continues off Wagy Ridge Trail at about 5100 ft of elevation. It has massively improved this winter (Nov 2015), and is now being integrated into some of the epic rides in the area.


The Details

After riding Wagy Ridge to the first major intersection (about 1.2 miles), turn right at the split for Rocky Gorge Trail (unsigned). The trail continues in the character of upper Wagy Ridge Trail, but is a bit more technical with more rock features.

The majority of the trail is downhill, and the pace really starts cranking as you approach Rocky Gulch. However, the gulch is the low point of the trail so about 3/4+ miles of climbing ensues. Previously, there were some tough sections of hike-a-bike, but there are some great new re-routes that massively improve the quality of the ride out. Because they are new, they are not very obvious. Immediately after crossing Rocky Gulch, the trail steeply climbs a little ways (about 300 hundred feet beyond the gulch).

Rocky Gulch Trail Granite Slab
Some Sierra Slickrock.

There is a band of rocks to the left, and a new climb trail starts just beyond. Not too far after the trail reemerges with the original Rocky Gulch Trail, another re-route veers off left just before a righthand turn.

The trail ends at Sawmill Road. Turning left leads to the "Granite Trail," which crosses French Gulch and climbs up to Wall Street Trail and eventually to Dutch Flat Trail. Going right on Sawmill Rd leads to 2 other trails that connect to Wall Street Trail and Keyesville (one veers of Borderline 4x4 Rd), and to Wagy Flat Rd in 1/2 mile. Note that these trails are unsigned, except for Dutch Flat.

When to Ride

If it's not too hot:
Add this trail to the Just Outstanding to Dutch Flat Ride for a big day on the bike.

In the Fall/Winter/Spring:

Rocky Gulch Trail Granite Slab
Plenty of twists and turns here.

Some of the best "off season" riding in the Kern River area is located here. As the temperature cools off and a few rain storms pass through, the trails just get better and better.

There are some good loop options on these trails near Sawmill Road. Drive up Sawmill road to the USFS land and park in one of the dirt pullouts.

Climb Sawmill Rd to Wagy Road to Wagy Ridge Trail, and finish with Rocky Gulch Trail for a 8.5 mile ride.

To add more miles, ride some of the trails on the south side of Sawmill Road. (One option is to take "Granite Trail" up to the ridge/"Wallstreet Trail" and then come back down the trail that connects to Borderline. Or, just keep going all the way into Keyesville via Dutch Flat Trail)

Riders also shuttle Sawmill Road and lap either Wagy Ridge, Rocky Gulch and/or Dutch Flat Trail as well.

Elevation Profile (From Wagy Ridge to Sawmill Road)

Dutch Flat Trail from Sawmill Road

Trailhead

Rocky Gulch Trail Granite Slab
Love that traction.

Ride from either Just Outstanding or Wagy Ridge, (click for directions to each).

To loop from Sawmill Road:

Drive to the west side of Lake Isabella. From Kernville, take Burlando Road 6+ miles to Sawmill Road and turn right. This is about 2 miles past Wofford Heights. From Lake Isabella, take Hwy 155 and turn left on Sawmill Road. Once at Sawmill Road, continue up for about 3.8 miles and park in a turnout. (The dirt road to the left leads to the unsigned "granite Trail," which is a good place to start.)

 

 

Dont Get Lost!
Kernville Adventure Map

These trails are depicted on the local adventure map:

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