Mountain Bike Rides in the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra The Kern Slabs (Kernville Rock)


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Great face and crack climbing above the river near Kernville.

Kern Slabs and the Miricle Mile of Kernville Climbing
The "Miracle Mile" of Kernville rock climbing above the Kern River. Kern Slabs on right; New Directions Cliffs left. Enjoy over 100 routes in this area.
  • Sport & Trad Climbing

  • 5.3 to 5.11+

  • About 5 miles north of Kernville

  • 1-3 pitches

  • 3,400 ft in elevation
The Kern Slabs
The Climber on the right is on Dirty Dishes, 5.7

"The Slabs"

Officially, this climbing area is known as "Kernville Rock" in the guidebooks. Others call it "Kernville Dome." Most locals call it "The Kern Slabs", or often just "The Slabs."

Kern Slabs Climbing
Climbing "Fine Line", 5.10b, a local favorite.
Classic Lieback Route on Kern Slabs
On the super classic Lieback Route 5.8.

From Sierra Gateway Market in Kernville, drive north on Mtn 99 for about 5 miles. Park on the right across from Thunderbird camping/day-use area.

Hike the steep slope about 15-20 minutes to the dome.

Dont miss the classic and highly rated "Lieback" and others like "Claustrophobia Crack" and the "Chouinard Special".

There has been some new route development on the north side of the rock; new sport climbs include IPA Lot, This Buds for You, Growler - all in the 5.8-5.9 range.

A Guide by Herb Laeger is available online and at Sierra South & Riverside One-Stop in Kernville.

Many of the routes are described in the older guidebook: Southern Sierra Rock Climbing: The Needles. The more recent guidebook,California Road Trip: A Climber's Guide Northern California, also has information on the Slabs.

Mountain River Adventures and Sierra South in Kernville guides here and other locations.

Climbing Nearby

Just to the north is New Directions Cliffs and Chico Flat Rocks, offering plenty of climbing.

There are also some good boulders near the road, and at the top of the slabs.

Also, a rugged trail traverses above the Slabs and New Directions cliffs; The Old Flume Trail.

At the top of Kern Slabs
At the top after a short 3rd pitch.

Chimney at the top
A fun easy chimney leads to the summit of Kernville Rock.

Kern Slabs views
Kern Slabs granite with Baker Point behind. 2nd pitch above Claustrophobia Crack.

Just up the road

  • Corral Creek Wall
  • Roadkill Rocks
  • Salmon Creek area Climbs
  • Book Rock

Kern Slabs Climb
On the north side of the Slabs, climbing "Pale Y Ale." Photo taken from "IPA Lot." There is a route up the crack behind, as well just beyond, "Growler" and "Friction Brewing."

Don't Get Lost!
Kernville Adventure Map

The Slabs and nearby trails are depicted on the adventure topo map:

Buy Locally

Map Details