Mountain Bike Rides in the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra Salmon Creek Wall & Falls Area


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The beautiful 450 foot granite wall hosting upper Salmon Creek Falls and other the nearby crags attract exploring climbers.

Looking at Salmon Creek Wall
  • Single & Multipitch
  • Trad Climbing
  • Class: 5.8-5.12+
  • Elevation: 6500 ft.
  • Land: Sequoia National Forest
  • Where: Between the Kern River & Kern Plateau
  • Access: Kernville, Mtn 99/Sherman Pass, Kern Plateau
  • Hiking: Class 2-3
  • Map: Kern River Sierra Outdoor Rec Map

The Area

Just north of Kernville, the amazing Salmon Creek area offers a mind-boggling amount of adventure. Salmon Creek drops from the high peaks of the Kern Plateau, like Sirretta Peak at almost 10,00 feet, down to the Kern River at 3,000 feet in elevation.

Salmon Creek Wall
Salmon Creek Wall. (Click for full resolution).

Although there is very little access to this region, Cannell Trail passes through the upper headwaters, and Cherry Hill Road accesses the edge of the Plateau a little lower. The only access between the Kern Plateau and the Kern River is the Rincon Trail, which weaves right through the Rincon Faultline stretching all the way up to the Forks of the Kern. The climbing spots mentioned can be accessed from both the Plateau and the Rincon Trail near Salmon Creek.

Salmon Creek Wall and nearby crags

When looking up at the main upper Salmon Creek Falls, it's impossible to not notice the massive granite wall on the north side of the falls.

Unfortunately, much of the face doesn't have many features. There are 2 known routes on the wall. Just to the north of the wall, another crag looks like it could have some nice routes up there! We have heard that it's called Fish Wall and has been climbed. (If anyone has information on this, please let us know!)

Salmon Creek Wall Original Route 5.9
Salmon Creek Wall's Original Route, 5.9, up the corner. (Click for full resolution).

Hiking and Access

Getting to Upper Salmon Creek Falls and the climbing areas requires some hiking.

From the Top off Cherry Hill Road:

In the summer and Fall, climbers can access the area from the Kern Plateau. The USFS Salmon Creek Falls Trail, 33e36, is the trail to take. It starts off a dirt road diverging from Cherry Hill Road near Horse Meadow. Click here for all the details on hiking this trail.

From the Kern River area:

In the winter (and year-round), one may hike up to the falls from the Rincon Trail. 1/3 of a mile past the Salmon Creek Bridge, a partially cleared and cairned (ducked) route turns off the Rincon Trail. In 2019, quite a few local hikers and climbers have been using this trail. A detailed description of this "Wild Route" is here!

The Details

Salmon Creek Wall

The Original Route, 5.9. The Domelands guide book by Moser and Vernon mentions this route. It goes up the corner on the left side of the wall.

Anchor on Fish n Chips, 5.10+.

Fish and Chips, 5.10+. This route was never completed. It goes up the arching corner in the left of center of the wall.

An anchor is located at the top of the first pitch, near the top of the obvious arching corner (see photo).

Fish Wall (name ?)

Just to the north of Salmon Creek Wall is another formation that seems to always draw the eye of the climbers. We've heard this referred to as the Fish Wall. If anyone has any inforamtion on this, please let us know.

It looks as if it could host some good routes. We will update once we climb this! Or, if anyone has and can share some details.

See photos below.

Don't Get Lost!
Kernville Adventure Map

The trails and climbing locations are depicted on the 6th edition of the Kern River Sierra Map.

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Map Details


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Nearby Activities

Salmon Creek Wall's Original Route, 5.9, up the corner. (Click for full resolution).

Salmon Creek Wall's Original Route, 5.9, up the corner. (Click for full resolution).

Other Climbing in the area

Toward Kernville:

Toward The Needles: