The great thing about the Whiskey Flat Trail, which begins just outside the wonderful little town of Kernville, is that is can be as hard or easy, as quick or lengthy, as leisurely or demanding as you want it to be.
The first portion leading away from the town skirts just out of sight of the Kern River, through scorched black trees that fell victim to the Bull Fire in 2010.
After picking over a partially downed bridge over Bull Run Creek, I cut through a field to get some river views and finally stumbled across the water at the confluence of some of the rapids the Kern is known for and the gentle entrance of a smaller fork of the river, which was a great place to sit and watch the river and a couple of fishermen trying their luck on the east bank.
That’s where I turned around to head back (the Trail of 100 Giants to the north was calling) – after relaxing by the river. While I only did about 1.2 miles in and back, the entire trail stretches for 15 miles and ups and downs, ending at a footbridge across the Kern at Fairview. This site has a great detailed write-up of the full 15 miles; it’s geared toward mountain bikers, but hikers can take the same route.
Directions: From Sierra Way in Kernville, turn west onto Kernville Road and drive across the bridge and past the main business district and park. Turn right onto Burlando Road and follow it as it curves for a little over 2 miles until it ends at the parking area for the Whiskey Flat Trail.