Mountain Bike Rides in the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra Sherman Peak Trail

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A forested trail that climbs a ridge up to Sherman Peak at 9909 ft.

Sherman Peak Trail
The trail follows the ridge in the photo center up to the peak. Photo from Bass Peak.

Black Diamond

THE STATS

  • 5 Miles roundtrip
  • Mostly Singletrack
  • 900 feet of climbing
  • 900 feet of drop
  • Out 'n' Back, or
  • Can connect to several other trails
  • Non-Motorized Multi-Use Trail
  • Top Elevation: 9909 ft
  • Lower Elevation: 9200 ft
  • Sequoia National Forest
  • Access: Sherman Pass Road. Kernville, Kennedy Meadows, or Johnsondale
  • Seasonal Closure due to snow.

 

 

On the trail

The climb to Sherman Peak, at almost 10,000 high, is a wonderful summer workout.

Sherman Peak views
Peering north over Golden Trout Wilderness, the Sequoia National Park and the Upper Kern River Canyon from Sherman Peak.

Often called the "Bonus," the trail is sometimes added to the Cannell Trail for additional epicness.

On one of the easier sections of trail
So much easier on the way back down!

It is also another way to access the Cedar Canyon Trail or the many cross country options in the area (like the Meadows Loop).

As a stand alone ride, it packs a punch for a 5 mile pedal. While much of the trail is easy riding, there are some very steep sections. In the summer, the trail surface can be quite loose in a few places.

With one of the very best views in the Southern Sierra, it's well worth it!

[NOTE: Near the top the singletrack merges with the Sherman Peak 4x4 Road, so you may see others up there.]

The Details

Sherman Peak Trail ascends from the parking area at Sherman Pass, 9200 ft, opposite the Cannell Trailhead. Don't confuse it with another trail, Sherman Pass Trail, which drops from the parking area and connects to a huge network of trails.

On the Trail
Trail scenery.

While most of the trails are motorcycle-legal in this area, Sherman Peak Trail is not. The lighter use and lack of OHV trail maintenance funding, sometimes makes it less obvious to see than extremely popular trails like Cannell Trail.

The majority of the trail is on good but-sometimes-steep and rocky singletrack. After about 2 miles, the trail merges onto Sherman Peak 4x4 Road. At that point, turn left and climb to the peak.

A radio tower is at the top, along with several webcams pointed at the amazing and far-reaching views.

On a clear day, the panoramic vista is immense. Enjoy the view of the striking Kern River Canyon slicing through the heart of the High Sierra from Mt Whitney, mega granite features in Domelands Wilderness, Olancha Peak on the Eastern Sierra, Dome Rock and the Needles, the Western Divide, Kaweah Range, even an itty-bitty view of Telescope Peak in Death Valley.

 

Farewell Gap from Sherma Peak Domelands
The headwaters of Little Kern River at Farewell Gap on the Western Divide. Looking into Domelands Wilderness from the Peak.

With so much terrain in sight, the inspiration for plotting new adventures is impossible to resist.

Sherman Peak Massif
Another view of Sherman Peak from the Brush Creek Overlook area. The trail climbs the ridgeline from the far right of the photo to the Peak (left of center.)

Elevation Profile

Sherman Peak Elevation Profile

Trailhead

Sherman Pass / Cannell Trailhead. From Kernville, the trailhead is 1+ hour away. Drive up Mtn 99, then turn right before the Johnsondale Bridge onto Sherman Pass Drive and go up to the parking area at the top.

Olancha Peak
Looking into Domelands Wilderness from the Peak.
Dont Get Lost!
Kernville Adventure Map

This trail and optional routes are depicted on the local adventure map:

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Map Details

Other Nearby Activities

Sherman Peak Cirque
Sherman Peak Cirque, as viewed from the southwest.