Mountain Bike Rides in the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra Keyesville Classic Trail

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A premiere Southern Sierra cross-country race course with many options.

Adam Craig racing Keyesville
Adam Craig, US Olympian & 2011 US National Champion, racing Keyesville in April 2011.
Photo by Mike Lane/Sierra Images.

The new singeltrack on Keyesville Classic
Spring mountain biking on the Keyesville Classic.

Black Diamond

THE STATS
8-10+ Miles.
1200+ feet of climbing.
1200+ feet of drop.

Loop.

 

Keyesville Recreation Area

Keyesville Recreation Area offers year-round bike riding, with superb conditions in the winter and spring. The Keyesville Classic Mountain Bike Stage Race takes place here in late March every year. While its a grassroots-style event, it attracts many of the best mountain bikers in the USA. The 24th annual race takes place March 30-April 1, 2012. More info on the Facebook page.

Keyesville trail in the winter
Tacky soil on the Keyesville Classic Trail in the Winter.

On The Trail

There are a myriad of options for riding in Keyesville. Various motorcycle trails and narrow dirt roads criss cross all over the place. The BLM is in the process of forming a new Resource Management Plan, so some of the options may change.

The race course loop involves trails and dirt road on both sides of the paved Keyesville Road. The shortest possible loop that incorporates all the good singletrack will be briefly described below...

 

 

Highlights from the 2011 Race

A Loop Option:

Starting at the main Keyesville Staging Area by the restrooms, .7 miles down Keyesville Road from Hwy 155, begin riding southwest up the paved Keyesville Road.

Ben Cruz

WTB Rider, Ben Cruz.
Eye of the tiger.

Photo: Mike Lane/Sierra Images.

 

Pass Pearl Harbor Drive and a couple minor trails/roads on the left, and at about .7 miles turn left onto a main dirt road and climb up to a major intersection. For the most direct way to the singletrack, stay straight (ignoring offshoots) and keep pedalling on the main dirt road.

(Tombstone, where the most recent Keyesville Downhill Course is located, is accessed up to the right. This is also an alternate route for more mileage.)

At about 1.5 miles from the parking area/restrooms, the dirt road merges into a narrow motorcycle singletrack. Take this! Unfortunately, some ATV's/quads poach this section of trail, so its a bit wider than normal mountain bike singletrack. But when ridden fast, it has great flow! Be ready for some quick steep climbs though.

In another mile, the trail narrows into solid singetrack.
Tinker
2X Olympian, multiple time National Champion, and mountain bike legend, Tinker Juarez, riding in 2011.

Photo:Jeff Stanners/White Spider Photos

 

 

 


At 3.5 miles, the longest continuous downhill section starts! Almost immediatley the trail splits; stay left for the Keyesville Classic return route (you are actually on the upper Kern Canyon Trail for this segment). (Turning right takes you on the much bigger Kern Canyon Trail ride, or to an alternate loop that climbs back up a dirt road leading back to the Keyesville Road.)

At about 4.5 miles, veer left on the narrower singletrack before dropping into a gully; this is the new Keyesville Classic singletrack alternative to climbing Pearl Harbor Drive (dirt road). After about 1.5 miles, the trail spits you out on Pearl Harbor Drive for a short jaunt; keep riding up the road. (Mountain bikers are currently working with the BLM to continue this singletrack all the way back! Any positive pro-mountain biker feedback to the BLM helps!)

Lower Kern River at Keyesville

Cooling off at the Lower Kern River, 1/4 mile down the dirt road behind the restrooms at the Keyesville Staging Area.

At about 6 Miles, go left on Mammoth Mine Loop Road (dirt road) and climb to the next section of singletrack which cuts off to the right at 6.2 miles. Take this trail, which follows an old flume, around and down to another intersection at a quad/motorcycle trail. Turn right here and follow this. In about .3 miles, it veers close to Pearl Harbor Drive. Stay straight, climb a little hill, and continue on this until it wraps back around to Pearl Harbor Drive. Veer left onto Pearl Harbor Drive and look for the coninuation of the trail to the right. This will bring you back to Keyesville Road, where you can keep riding on the other side or ride back to the staging area.

Elevation Profile

Keyesville Classic

Trailhead

Tombstone Race at Keyesville Classic

Tombstone Dowhnill Race at Keyesville.
Photo by Scott Ferris, 2011.

The Keyesville entrance is located just north of the town of Lake Isabella. From Hwy 155, go west on Keyesville Road. Drive almost .7 miles and park on the left in the large dirt open area near the restrooms. This is known at the main Keyesville Staging Area.

Cierra Smith in Keyesville Classic Race
Cierra Smith racing in 2010
through Dutch Flat/Snake Pit Trail.
Photo by WMSmithPhoto.com

 

The bottom of Dutch Flat Trail (and Snakepit Trail) are on the other side of Keyesville Road. The Keyesville Classic Race Venue is farther up the Keyesville Road and off a dirt road to the right. Following Keyesville Road for 1.5 miles will take you to the top of Rocky Gorge/Tombstone Ridge, which descends back down to the Keyesville Classic Loop.


Dont Get Lost!
Kernville Adventure Map

The Keyesville and Kern Canyon Trails are depicted on the local adventure map:

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