July 23, 2022
Just under two hours north of Tehachapi is the lovely valley of Kennedy Meadows. At 6427' elevation this area is referred to by the Pacific Crest Trail hikers as the area where the desert meets the Sierra.
As a trail angel in Tehachapi, I heard about this place from the hikers who stayed with us at Hippie Hiker Haven and I found myself intrigued by it. The hikers had just covered over 500 miles of desert and they were anxious to get out of the desert and into the Sierra. Kennedy Meadows is another 136 hiker miles from the Cameron Road/ Hwy 58 trailhead and it's one of the roughest sections of the desert portion of the PCT in terms of elevation climb and water availability. There were several hikers who decided to skip this section, so they were looking for rides to Kennedy Meadows. I was happy to oblige.
After dropping off our hiker guests and eating a pretty darn good lunch at Grumpy Bear's, (yes, they have vegan options) we drove over to where the PCT trail meets Sherman Pass Road. Although it would make an easy hike as well at just under two miles. Just a couple hundred feet west of the trailhead is a parking area with portable toilets and easy access to the South fork of the Kern River. The gently running stream invites you to relax along its banks and take in the beauty that is all around.
The trail heading north out of Kennedy Meadows is a relatively easy one as the altitude change is a steady climb. You can do a short hike to Kennedy Meadows Campground or commit to a longer hike if you're well prepared. We prefer day hikes as camping isn't quite my thing. The trail is well marked and the beauty of the surrounding Sierra is worth every footstep.
Returning to our vehicle, we decided to head back to Tehachapi via Sherman Pass west to Sierra Way then south into Kernville. At certain points along the paved road, you'll feel like you are on top of the world with the most amazing views. There are dozens of campsites along the road with more hiking trails to be explored. Whether it's the PCT or one of the other thousands of well-marked trails, you can find plenty of hiking close to Tehachapi. So get out there and Hike Up!
Sarah Rose, local business owner, nature lover and writer would love your feedback and hiking ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.