Kennedy Meadows area of the Kern Plateau – private property, population winter, about 50, summer about 200
Do NOT get this KM mixed up with the one on Hwy 108 which has a resort and pack station, fishing, lakes, etc.
Google and Facebook don’t know the difference, so if they start talking about restaurant with prime rib, horses, etc. – it’s not THIS KM.

I can answer questions about this area via email at    4/2/17

**Sherman Pass is CLOSED DUE TO SNOW!!!     See the Kern Plateau pages….Call Kernville for update 760 376-3781
Paved roads are open up to the gate on 5 mile.  pretty much bare ground now.   OHV trails closed, Monache very closed.      the gates are locked at Blackrock.   Blackrock station closed.  There’s NO ONE on the hill to help you if you get stuck, and cell service doesn’t work.  When you see snow, STOP.  It isn’t going to get any better ahead!

Gates are locked.  Ice is all over the roads – BLACK ICE HAPPENS!!!  every night, lasts all day sometimes.  

Kern River is running HIGH.  (yeah!!)

Snow happens.   Carry blankets, water, food, and DRIVE CAREFULLY!  WATCH FOR BLACK ICE!! 
Kern Plateau: Fish Creek and Troy Meadows closed.  

***5/6/16  The USFS has decided to allow the folks at the Kennedy Meadows General Store to oversee the Kennedy Meadows Campground!!!  It would be free (donations accepted), the bathrooms remain, but no water, no trash service – pack it in, pack it out -or take to dumpsters at the Fire Station. !!  It’s OFFICIAL –

**PCT hikers – Darn cold at night !!   KM Store  open weekends only, Grumpy’s open and serving meals on weekends, maybe.  .   Snow can happen at any time!  Currently snowy above 9000 ft.

To get there:  take the Kennedy Meadows turnoff about 3 miles north of Pearsonville on Hwy 395.  Ascend the paved, 2-lane 9 Mile Canyon Road to the top at about 6000 ft.  Keep going, it’s another 15 miles to the Kennedy Meadows proper.  The road goes over Pine Pass, elev. 7200 ft. which can get icy any time!  Along the way there are private places, please do not disturb.  There are meadows.  There are 6 yellow “call boxes” should you need help – those calls go to the Tulare Co. Sheriff.  There is NO CELL SERVICE after you leave the bottom of 9 Mile, which means OnStar doesn’t work either!.  That’s why the call boxes if you need help.  There are signs announcing the Kennedy Meadows residential area.  There are 2 operating restaurants, a General Store with gas and propane, and not much else in the way of public places. Beyond that is the whole Kern Plateau area, full of meadows, trails, OHV roads and trails, camping, etc.  See the Kern Plateau pages.  BUT – there can/should be snow in these parts  from November until May    Always have food and water in your vehicle, summer or winter.

It’s an hour from Ridgecrest!!!!  and another hour of exploring beyond KM up on the Plateau!!  Cooler in summer!  Pretty fall colors!!  Closed due to snow in winter – November to usually May.

Campgrounds CLOSED. – Fish Creek, Troy, Kennedy Meadows!   OHV trails CLOSED   Fishing season closed Nov. 15, but there really aren’t any fish.  Last  summer the streams dried up and are not flowing since June!   And nothing up there is stocked.  Go elsewhere for fish.
Take your own water!!

remember – no cell phone service= no OnStar service either, 

summer and fall – call Blackrock at 559-539-2607 x 72276.  Anne is there now, but if you get a strange reply when you dial 72276, it’s because the phone is busy.  Try later.       Call Kernville for info – 760 376-3781  Blackrock is closed now, until Memorial weekend.

Fishing season  CLOSED.  Opens April 29, but the Kern River isn’t stocked any more..  There is fishing in places in Owens Valley which stay open all year. 

*** The Kennedy Meadows General Store IS selling gas!  $4.79, regular unleaded 87 octane only.  Open weekends, midday only.   The Hamburger Shack closed till mid May.

Grumpy Bear – winter hours.  call 559-850-BEAR

Most folks don’t realize that this beautiful area of the Southern Sierra even exists!  The Kern Plateau is a unique area because it is a plateau – more or less flat – not at all typical of the rest of the steep-sided Sierra Nevada.  The result is several lazy streams (good fishing) and lovely meadows!  Roads are open in the summer but not when there’s snow.  To the south of Kennedy Meadows is the Domelands Wilderness area, and to the north the South Sierra Wilderness, and north of Blackrock is the Golden Trout Wilderness area.  The PCT comes through here, passing at Kennedy Meadows from Walker Pass, heading north to Whitney area.  Snowmobiles are welcome in winter on roads, not meadows!

However, even though this is Sequoia National Forest, there are NO Giant Sequoia trees on this Plateau.

Rocks and snow are removed from 9 Mile road by Inyo County,
Call Kernville USFS to check 
on status of the roads – 760 376- 3781 #2. 

Grumpy Bear under new management, open  – call um!  559-850-BEAR

Blackrock info station CLOSED for the winter.  Gates locked.

Snowmobiles ARE allowed on the roads!  Cross country skiing and snowshoeing encouraged in winter, of course!

Remember to get a wilderness permit for any hikes into the Golden Trout Wilderness – ie. Casa Vieja and Jordan Hot Springs.Anne can do that for you at Blackrock Station.

 Lovely new Guard Rails on 9 Mile Canyon Road – 1 mile below Rocky Point, then 1 mile from Rocky Point to the new road.

ALL Jeep and OHV roads and trails currently CLOSED.    Check with  Kernville.  760-376-3781   Monache road closed and 4x4 always.  There’s a bad rocky spot on a steep hill.   Not for Subarus even – need more than 8″ clearance!!  No dualies – it’s narrow. 

Campfire permit can be found here –

Chimney Peak and Long Valley, Rockhouse Basin, etc.CLOSED DUE TO SNOW – but great place to XC ski or snowshoe, or snowmobile!!  -north on Hwy 395 to Kennedy Meadows sign 3 miles north of Pearsonville; up Nine Mile Canyon road (all paved, 2-lane);  at the top of the 9 Mile Canyon road about a mile past the cattle guard, opposite the BLM fire station, is the “Scenic Byway” Chimney Peak Road.  It’s dirt all the way and goes up over a ridge and drops down to Lamont Meadow, the Chimney Peak Campground, and on down over Lamont pass to meet Hwy 178 near Onyx.  There is also access to Rockhouse Basin (a wilderness area) near the south end of Lamont Meadow, though the loop road is closed due to washouts right at the KM turn.   Road not graded.  could be rough. 

FISHING SEASON April 29, 2017 onward until Nov 15.– BUT…. The Kern River is not being stocked (again ) – so you’re on your own….fishing right at the South Fork crossing is NOT good.  Fished out!   Gotta hike to find dinner.
Fishing licenses NOT available on the hill – gotta get at an official sporting goods store with official F&G computer hookup.
The roads and campgrounds – paved, OPEN. Info at Blackrock station is OPEN.

Kennedy Meadows:  (1 hr. from Ridgecrest)  about 50 full time winter residents, 200+- summer residents.  No public facilities – ie. no power, no community water system, etc. – each home is responsible for its own power (solar or generator), water (well), septic tank, etc.   NO public restrooms except at campgrounds.  Kennedy Meadows Campground is OPEN.

  1. *north on Hwy 395 to Kennedy Meadows sign 3 miles north of Pearsonville; up Nine Mile Canyon road (all paved, 2-lane)  to Chimney Peak area in the Pinon forest, then north on the paved road another 12 miles over Pine Pass  (7200′) into the Kennedy Meadows area; elev. 6500 ft. GAS AT THE STORE when open!   (cheaper to fill up at Pearsonville as needed. ) When open in summer, this road continues on over Sherman Pass and down to the North Fork of the Kern River.

  2. *This road is NOT for king-pin trucks ever; large toy-haulers and horse trailers and RV’s need extreme caution at “Rocky Point”, about 6 miles up the road (not wide enough to pass another toy-hauler!!).  Road is kept open to Kennedy Meadows in the winter – snow is plowed in Tulare County, but chains and/or 4x4 needed in winter when there is snow and ice.  Road closed at the Store in winter.  Inyo County removes rocks from the 9 Mile Canyon road most days.

Less than an hour from the desert to the mountains!! In summer, Kennedy Meadows offers commercial establishments for food,  GAS,  propane, groceries, drinks, souvenirs available at the Kennedy Meadows General Store, and hamburgers and sandwiches at the Chuckwagon BBQ on the Store porch. The Kennedy Meadows campground 3 miles north of the store (straight ahead at the Y intersection near the store) has good camping along the river .   Permanent and vacation homes abound here, but there is no electricity or any public utilities except phones. Pay phone located at General Store.  (The Store and “everything else” is left at the Y intersection, labeled Beach Meadow Road – even if it isn’t- it’s the Sherman Pass Road and so labeled after the bridge.)

Grumpy Bear Resort –  under new management. Call for hours  559 850-BEAR  Open Weekends for sure,
Ireland’s-currently closed.

Kennedy Meadows General Store  559 850-KMGS ;  now selling 87 oct GAS.  winter hours.
**Don’t expect the facility in the movie “Wild”!! That was a tiny place in OR.
It has a beer and wine on and off premises license (you can drink it on the porch)
** ChuckWagon BBQ features great hamburgers, open 11-4  summers.
Store has T-shirts, has a few Bear cans, and does accept mail/packages for PCT hikers
-mail USPS to Kennedy Meadows General Store, 3A5, 96440 Beach Meadow Road, Inyokern CA 93527,
or UPS delivery to 96440 Beach Meadow Road, Inyokern CA 93527.  (Fed Ex doesn’t work well, UPS does)
Showers $4. Firewood available, $6. Load of Laundry – check $. Fishing licenses NOT available.  

PCT Hikers – the KMGS will take packages for you, and will ship out stuff ($$).  They do have ice cream – until it’s gone.  You can camp there briefly.  NO INTERNET NOWHERE.  No cell phone contact either.  Is a pay phone when it works.This is the wild mountains, after all!! 

Do not get this KMGS mixed up with the Kennedy Meadows Pack Station and cabins up on Hwy 108 – not the same at all!! No cabins for rent here, just very nice people, good stuff, and a nice place to be on the porch.

Kennedy Meadows phones-most private residences have phones now.  Two pay phones – one at Grumpy Bear Resort – inside the door, credit cards only; one at the KM General Store, little blue booth out by the parking lot – credit cards work best, sometimes coins work…  911 calls go to 911 center at Tulare Co. Sheriff in Visalia, ask for help in Kennedy Meadows – (comes from Ridgecrest in Kern Co)

Kennedy Meadows also has a Volunteer First Aid Team. They are trained in first aid, are not EMT’s, have AEDs, no cost to you, are willing to come to anywhere in the area up there to help out and make sure an ambulance or helo gets called if necessary. Call (559) 850-HELP, and you’ll be on a party line with the first aid gang. They need to know where you are and what you need.
Kennedy Meadows road has CALL BOXES!!!! (since 2/1/06) calls go to Tulare Co. Sheriff in Visalia, not to the 911 office; call them for whatever – tow truck (call routed through to CHP), ambulance, etc. etc. Bright yellow call boxes on posts, lighted at night, 6 of them, starting at the top of 9 mile, just past the cattle guard, one near the bottom of Pine Pass just north of Churchill mailbox, one just over the top of Pine Pass, about 1/4 mi. north; one just south of Government spring and Pine Canyon Rd, one right across from the Ducor Phone Co, and one up the Campground Road about 3 miles.

July 2000 the Manter Fire burned 74,000 acres of mostly wilderness area, but backfires were set along the paved road from before Pine Pass all the way to Troy Meadows. These fire scars will be there for the rest of our lifetimes…. ie. it will be at least 50+ years before we get enough brush to act as nurse trees for new Piñon trees to sprout in the burned areas. The fire area is interesting to watch recover – grasses and tons of wildflowers, then shrubs, and finally trees. The oldest trees up there are around 150-200 years old, so it’s been that long since it last burned. Piñon-Juniper isn’t very fire adapted…. Within the burned area there are many islands of unburned land – a refuge for the animals and a seed back for recovery of plants. Recovery will happen, but very, very slowly!! It depends upon water and snow – and the Southern Sierra is much drier than the rest of the range.. None of the homes in the Kennedy Meadows area proper were affected. Homes down in Pine Canyon burned. The campgrounds are all OK.

To add insult to injury, another huge 150,000 acre McNally fire occurred July 2002. It burned the upper regions of the Plateau and down the Sherman Pass road, mostly in “mixed conifer” forest, but the chaparral and drier areas really took a hit! Same story – it’s a wonderland of wildflowers for the next many years, and the USFS is planting after salvage-logging the burned ones.   However, most of what you can see from the roads is just beautiful forest!!

2016 – Chimney Fire burned quite a bit right at the top of 9 Mile.  No facilities burned, but we lost a whole lot of piñons.

See Kern Plateau for more info about the beautiful high country beyond Kennedy Meadows, closed in winter.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This