Today was a planned half-day of hiking, about seven miles down down down into Kern Canyon towards the Kern Hot Spring. The Kern river is a nice place to relax and fish, so we were looking forward to our afternoon off and started off the morning at a leisurely pace. I think we were the last ones to leave Moraine Lake. The one big concern about the day was rattlesnakes. It’s not common to find rattlers up high, but the trail would take us down to about 6500 feet while passing through a rattlesnake’s paradise. Several years ago the area burned, and now the trail is lined and overgrown with shady ferns that a rattlesnake would just love to nap under.

Trip Report

Moraine Lake Morning View
Moraine Lake Morning View

So we took off and hoped to make it through the rattlesnake gauntlet before the heat of the day. Last year both Paige and I encountered rattlesnakes on this stretch so I was extra alert this time. Of course, not a single rattlesnake was seen. When we reached our campsite slightly downriver of the spring, we also made sure it was rattlesnake free. The hike down wasn’t void of excitement, however. We had our first official Whitney sighting from a distance (it looked so far away!), and had a cute bird begging for food almost like a squirrel (no, we didn’t feed it).

Kern River Hot Spring
Kern River Hot Spring

We spent the afternoon relaxing along the river, fishing, and hanging out at the hot spring. At the spring we chatted with a friendly group from Mountain View and Sunnyvale (my town) and followed it up with a good night of sleep.

Map and GPS Track

Leave a Reply

  1. Phil

    I’m inspired by your posts and blog. You do a great job…
    I am actually going to be doing this trip in the reverse direction next week (except starting at Cottonwood Pass), so your posts have been very useful!
    I’m debating what kind of bear protection I am going to need for this trip since only one day will be in a bear can required area. Did you pack one? Understand there are lockers on most of the route. Your thoughts on this appreciated!

  2. Calipidder Listing Owner

    I used a Bearikade Weekender – I can fit 7 days of food in it with no problem. For me, it’s not so much the bear protection as it is the overall critter protection – lots of mice and marmots and squirrels are out there too. It’s worth the peace of mind for sure. Plus, hearing bears sniffing around camp at night made me grateful for it!

  3. Phil

    Thanks for the insight. I am planning on hauling my good ole garcia then. Bearikade is on my wish list. Great shot of Mt. Whiney – predawn, magical!

  4. websailor

    You and Paige really missed out! Last year when I hiked the HST is August and went thru this section (exact same hike – Moraine Lake to Kern Hot Springs), I ran into three rattlers in the hot section. First a nice big, but somewhat angry one that I almost poked with my pole as I strode downhill. Then, after taking pictures, I headed off again only to almost run into another one about 100 ft away as I was fussing with my poles! At that point I slowed way down and watched where I was going! The third one was a charm. 😉

  5. Trip Planning: High Sierra Trail, Summer 2015 |

    […] Day 4 – Morain Lake to Kern Hot Springs […]

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