(64) Springville to Kernville
Western Divide Highway
38 Miles - LENGTH
State highway, maintained, sandy - PAVEMENT
One of the twistiest roads in the state - CURVES
Springville to Mountain Rd 50 - CONNECTS
Springville, Kernville - GAS
Have you ever tried to replicate a photo? I have. It never seems to work.
My Motorcycle Tour & Travel Magazine arrived one month (Dec 2020) and the feature road trip that month was a ride through the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, including Highway 190 as the centerfold shot. I stared at the shot of a BMW GS arcing smoothing through an alluring mountain scene and the thought occurred to me, I know that corner.
And, I was headed in that direction through the Southern Sierra leading a new motorcycle tour in a few months. Route planned and months passed, the ride date arrived and I set off traversing the state for the sole purpose of taking a photo of one corner. I have heard of riding a hundred miles for ice cream, but this would be a 300-mile trek just to take a photo of a corner. Made perfect sense to me.
The tiny alcove of Springville is the start point for this ride, strategically situated for topping off your tank. Grab some snacks and some liquids. During summer, you'll need to hide in the shade, this is the Central Valley. It's hot. East of Porterville and at an elevation of 1200’, Springville is the launching point for anyone headed into the Southern Sierra Range. Highway 190 is also the southernmost Sierra Nevada Mountain pass when combined with Sherman Pass Rd (Sorry purists, we’re not counting Highway 178 Carter Pass which is barely over 6000’.)
The more you ride with Pashnit Motorcycle Tours, the more you’ll hear this phrase, ‘Endlessly Twisty’. What's our day going to be like? Endless Twisty.
Where are we headed? Does it matter? Actually no. That'll do, mount up, let's ride.
What Highway 190 has in spades is curves. And many. I’ve never met a motorcyclist who doesn’t react like a giddy school boy (or girl) when that particular description is used to describe the prospective ride for the day at the morning ride brief. As that’s generally the plan of every organized tour I’ve designed over the last 20+ years.
Highway 190 has one of the twistiest stretches of road in the state as in many curves packed into a defined stretch of road. While I’ve never counted, my referenced article claims 250 curves in 25 miles. Maybe someone did count them. But counting curves doesn’t tell a story.
At the White Barn outside Springville , take Balch Park Rd to Yokohl Drive to reach Highway 198 into Sequoia NP
Highway 190 clings to the edges of the Tule River (pronounced TOO-lee) as it flows out of the Sierra Range. The Tule River has three branches that converge here. Our ride follows the middle fork for a fair distance. The Tule River is named for a common bulrush or cattail known as "tule". The Tule River, that Highway 190 follows once flowed into the Southern Central Valley 150 years ago forming Tulare Lake. This shallow depression was once a vast lake annotated on many early maps as settlers began to populate the Central Valley starting in the 1850s. Water that supplied this shallow lake was gradually siphoned off for farming and irrigation.
In present day, Tulare Lake does not exist any longer. However, at one time, Tulare Lake was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, and the second-largest freshwater lake (entirely) in the United States. In 1849, Tulare Lake was 570 square miles, roughly 340,000 acres and 75 miles long, located along present-day Interstate 5 directly west of Porterville in-between Kettleman City and Corcoran. The size of Tulare Lake could grow to as much as 700 square miles.
Enough water remained in the 1940s so the Alameda Naval Air Station used Tulare Lake as an outlying seaplane base during World War II and even into the early years of the Cold War in the 1950s. Flying boats could land on Tulare Lake when landing conditions were unsafe on San Francisco Bay.
Reservoirs like Lake Success completed in 1961 were gradually built on the rivers supplying Tulare Lake, while irrigation siphoned off the rest of the water. Tulare Lake is now but a memory few people know about. The land beneath the lake is now farmland and no trace of this vast lake exists. Although now dry, the lake occasionally reappears during floods following unusually high levels of seasonal rainfall or snow melt, as it did in 1983 and 1997.
Our ride starts five miles outside Springville when Highway 190 reaches the Tule River. A short distance later, the first double hairpin appears and our climb into the Sierra Range begins. The elevation bumps past 2000 feet and will climb to 7200 feet in less than 20 miles of non-stop uninhibited curves. Depending on the time of year for your ride, there are often vehicles parked alongside the road at these lower elevations and people walking along the highway. Locals are frequently found walking down into the canyon to the river to escape the valley heat. Temperature drops 8-12 degrees for every 4000’ of climbing in elevation.
The Tule River along Highway 190 is also known for pools of water that form swimming holes. Bordered by large granite boulders, these make ideal cliff diving locations. If cliff diving is your sort of thing, do some advance research prior to a visit to the Tule River.
The curves for the next 20 miles are like a restless child, a cadence of constant, endless curve. Road surface is excellent with minimal sand in the road from vehicles cutting corners. The view begins to open up on the Tule River Canyon. Mountainous carpeted hillsides on the south side of the canyon push up thousands of feet, while granite boulders and raw escarpments push up along the north side. A glimpse of the Tule River is realized, but the river is narrow and often appears as a small creek. Spring snowmelt brings the rushing river.
Eight miles outside of Springville, the road passes underneath an aqueduct. Built by PG&E in 1909, the aqueduct was built to ferry water to a hydroelectric plant on the Tule River. The aqueduct follows the contours of the canyon for a short distance alongside the highway and alternates between an elevated sluice to an in-ground concrete channel alongside the road. The water in this aqueduct flows into a small forebay up above Springville and is used for power generation. The aqueduct originates at the Tule River Powerhouse a few miles uphill where the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Tule River join at Wishon Drive.
Water sluice dated to 1909 channels water for power generation downstream
Wishon Drive is a dead end and doesn’t actually go anywhere. However, it’s paved and splits off the main road into the North Fork Tule River Canyon. The pavement lasts five miles climbing to 4000’ before reaching the tiny mountain community of Camp Wishon. There’s a campground here that has 31 single family units and 4 double family units, and it’s open year-round.
High above the canyon is Sequoia Crest, another mountain community that can be reached by dirt fire roads from Camp Wishon. The paved road to Sequoia Crest is found further up Highway 190.
Bear Cave (sort of)
A hole in the canyon wall known as Bear Cave had me pulling a U-turn, wondering, What was that!? Other than being recognized as a man-sized hole in the rock wall, I can’t find any information about this to indicate it's an actual cave, rather I’m here to inform you I have no intention of crawling into a man-sized hole in full leathers. Bring a flashlight if you’re curious. The hole is right beside the road and hard to miss as you near Pierpoint.
The curves don’t stop, and you really ought to view the on-board video below to offer up a tiny slice of what's in store when you ride Endless Twisty. Endless curves one after the other, the ride up the canyon is one of the twistiest stretches of road in the state.
At the 4700’ mark, Highway 190 reaches Pierpoint, a small mountain community anchored by the Pierpoint Springs Resort in an arcing corner entering the edge of Camp Nelson. Pierpoint Resort is a family-owned business dating to 1961 spanning several owners and surviving several fires in the Sequoia National Forest near Camp Nelson. Surrounded by groves of giant Sequoia trees and mountains along the Tule River, the site spans 3 acres, offering a beautiful venue for events after an extensive renovation in 2017. There is also a 6-room vintage roadside motel behind the main building. Plan this as your lunch stop while checking out the 24-foot-long bar cut from a single sugar pine tree harvested locally. A general store here offers camp and fishing gear, along with a few other essentials. Further uphill, one enters Camp Nelson.
A long line of 50 mailboxes in one long row signals the beginning of Camp Nelson. This mountain community is actually below the main road and accessed by a broad turnoff at the mailboxes. Follow Nelson Drive, which is a dead end as far as paved roads go. There is a small general store and hardware store in Camp Nelson down below Highway 190. The community is mostly down below the highway via Nelson Drive and numbers about 100 permanent residents. Nelson Drive offers access to the general store, community chapel, Camp Nelson Lodge (10 rooms), and several campgrounds. During the Sequoia Complex fire in late 2020, Camp Nelson was evacuated, but no structures were lost from fire when the lightning-caused wildfire reached to within 2 miles of the community.
Named after John Milton Nelson who came to California in 1850 and in 1886 homesteaded here and built a cabin near this spot. He visited here first in the 1860s while traveling over the Jordan Trail to the Owens Valley. This resort was first used by the Yadanche Yokuts as a summer village which they called 'Ketilmuh'. Known in the late 1880s as 'Prohibition Valley' - A name that was replaced in the 1890s by the fame of Mr Nelson's Camp. By 1901, a hotel and store were in operation. A sawmill had been packed in from Springville and cabins were being built for summer homes. People came from the hot lower regions to spend time in the pinery fishing hunting and just enjoying the cool unhurried atmosphere.
Camp Nelson is the largest of the mountain communities along this ride
Sequoia Complex Fire burning on both sides of Highway 190 in August 2020
Climbing away from Camp Nelson, the curves on Highway 190 don’t stop, and we’re still not done. The rapid-fire curves continue another 9 miles, while climbing another 2000’ to reach Quaking Aspen Campground past Cedar Slope. Above Camp Nelson, Highway 190 enters the burned-out fire zone from the Sequoia Complex Fire of 2020. Time heals all wounds, but this one will be evident for many years, as the fire laid waste to both sides of the highway. The SQF Complex Fire was a lightning-cause wildfire in August 2020 burning predominantly in the Sequoia National Forest. By the time it was contained, it burned 228 buildings and nearly 174,000 acres or roughly 271 square miles of forest land. The fire burned until January 2021. The mountain communities of Ponderosa and Camp Nelson survived unscathed, but further up the mountain side along Highway 190, the wildfire was most devastating in Cedar Slope.
Double hairpins on Highway 190 above Cedar Slope.
Sequoia Crest is approximately 100 homes in the mountain subdivision said to be developed after 1955. Sequoia Crest was some of the last privately owned land that contained Giant Sequoia trees. Sequoia Crest is also home to the fifth-largest tree in the world, known as the Stagg Tree. (Officially the Amos Alonzo Stagg Tree) The Stagg Tree is a giant sequoia in Alder Creek Grove in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Estimated at 3000 years old, the tree has a circumference of 109 feet. During the 2020 fire season, Sequoia Crest lost 49 cabins in the SQF Complex wildfire, although 56 homes in Sequoia Crest survived the fire. In present day, a mere 10 people are said to live permanently (as of 2010) in Sequoia Crest. The elevation here is 7008’ and Sequoia Crest is surrounded on all sides by the Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest and the Golden Trout Wilderness.
Cedar Slope at 5584' isn’t a town, rather it’s a small collection of mountain cabins that date as far back as 1947. Originally homesteaded by Nellie Marshall in 1881. In present day, there’s a barely noticeable small handmade sign that denotes Cedar Slope along with another abandoned saloon in a broad corner. Around Cedar Slope is where Highway 190 enters a burned area along Highway 190. The forest recovers as the years ago by, but the skeletons of burnt trees remain for years despite salvage logging efforts in some areas.
Cedar Slope was the hardest hit of the mountain communities in the path of the wildfire. In Cedar Slope, 57 of its 65 cabins were lost, although Camp Nelson and Ponderosa were saved from the same fate. This region had not experienced such an intense fire since the year 1297 based on tree ring data. The road however remains the same plus three more tight hairpins outside Cedar Slope continues the elevation gain.
It gets mentioned over and over on this site, but sand. The higher elevation stretches of Highway 190 above Cedar Slope have road cuts that allow sand to flow onto the road in corners, and it's good advice to always avoid the inside line on these corners. Depending on the time of year, spring rains clean the road, while fall seasons have the biggest warnings attached about sand on the road. If the bike is sliding or breaking traction, you’re going too fast for your ability, and you’re taking the wrong line.
Endless curve describes the 6000' climb into the Sierra Range on Highway 190
The original plan for Highway 190 crossing over the Sierra Nevada dates to the 1920s when plans were to continue the road another 43 miles over the range from Quaking Aspen climbing to an elevation of 8200’ over present-day Haiwee Pass (currently a hiking trail) and reaching Highway 395. This plan lost interest after the 1970s with the establishment of The Golden Trout and South Sierra Wilderness Areas overlaying the proposed highway route. The establishment of these wilderness areas prevented this new Sierra Nevada pass from ever being built. Technically Highway 190 continues eastward, but from Highway 395 at Olancha in the Eastern Sierra Range flowing past Panamint Springs and into Death Valley. Highway 190 as a designation ends at Quaking Aspen Campground, however, the road continues due south as the Western Divide Highway. To reach the Eastern Sierra using Highway 190, one would need to continue to Johnsondale via Mountain-50 into the Kern River Canyon and connect with Sherman Pass or Highway 178.
Western Divide Highway
As Highway 190 reaches the Quaking Aspen Campground, the tight twisties finally draw to a close and the road straightens out and turns due south. You have quite literally reached the spine of the Sierra. This section is known as the Western Divide Highway or Mountain-90. The trek south is fast, with repeating broadly arcing curves. Several long straights provide a vantage point that extends far off into the forest.
When you see a pullout on the east side of the road, stop and take in the view. The view eastward is often a broad mountain top viewpoint looking down on the Kern River Canyon, which is several thousand feet below. It’s worth the stop instead of blowing on by. It’s also worth noting the 400-mile-long Sierra Nevada Range is drawing to a close here as you ride the very southern tip of the range. More interestingly, the range is split into the shape of a fork with the Kern River Canyon below having cut the range in half dividing it into two prongs.
Jordan Peak Lookout is located at the east end of the highway off of Forest Road 20S71 and directly north of Quaking Aspen Campground. The fire lookout is at 8592’ and the dirt road to the summit is 1.5 miles while being gravel and rocky. The lookout tower was built in 1934 and has the distinction of being one of the highest fire lookouts in California. It also affords one of the most dramatic 360-degree views the region has to offer.
Needles Lookout Trailhead is the second of three fire lookouts along the Western Divide Highway. The original tower was constructed in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, but the lookout burned down in July 2011 and has not been rebuilt. The trailhead is reached via a rough dirt road one mile south of Quaking Aspen Campground. Forest Road 21S05 leading to a parking area for the trailhead found 2.7 miles off the main road. Needles Lookout is a granite peak formerly with a fire lookout atop, normally manned all summer by a fire lookout. The lookout sat precariously atop a series of massive granite rock formations rising from the North Fork of the Kern River to an elevation of 8,245 feet. Reaching the fire lookout from the trailhead is a 5-mile round trip hike that culminates in a series of dramatic staircases and a catwalk to reach the lookout.
Mule Peak Lookout is at the southern end of the Great Western Divide Highway near the Trail of 100 Giants sequoia grove. It is a short but steep hike at the end of Forest Road 22S03. The tower is about a 500-foot climb above the trailhead. Mule Peak Lookout was built in 1935 by the CCC. It sits at an elevation of 8,142 feet and has a commanding view to the west across the Central Valley overlooking the Tule River Indian Reservation. The trail to access it is occasionally steep but not very long at about 1.2 miles round trip.
The two remaining fire lookouts are staffed during summer months and visitors are welcome. The Western Divide Highway portion is unique as there are three different fire lookouts to check out in this short 20-mile stretch of road.
Ponderosa is the mid-point of the Western Divide Highway stretch, another tiny mountain community at the 7200’ elevation with a population of 64 (up from 16 in 2010). It’s not a town, and barely noticeable if you’re zipping on by. Originally used as sheep pasture, the ranch spanned 280 acres and was eventually subdivided into a small mountain community in 1963. There’s a small lodge here with a gas pump outside, but I wouldn’t plan this as your fuel stop. The above ground tank pump doesn’t work. Check the hours in advance if you plan this as a stop. There is a small general store here, a tavern & restaurant, and (two) rooms are available for booking via Airbnb. Ponderosa escaped the September 2020 Sequoia Complex Fire intact and the fire line fortunately never reached this mountain community.
Dome Rock is easily missed, but well worth the detour. Dome Rock is situated below Slate Mountain, south of both Ponderosa and upper Peppermint Creek. This granite dome bumps above 7220’ and is located a short ½ mile distance off the main road via a sandy potholed dirt road.
From Quaking Aspen Campground, drive south for 3.5 miles and turn east off the Western Divide Highway on Forest Route 21S69. There is only a tiny sign along the highway to note anything of interest is nearby. The granite dome can’t be seen from the highway.
A small dirt parking area is found at the end of the short sandy road alongside the 400-foot tall, 800-foot-wide protrusion. It’s not a hike, rather a short walk that can easily be done in leathers. You can park right up against the edge of the dome and walk up the incline, and you’ll reach the crest of the 7221’ granite dome with an expansive view to the southwest across the Kern River Valley below. Dome Rock is well-worth the detour to see it.
A stern sign warns you not to throw rocks off the top of the dome, as there may be climbers below. Trails to access the base of the dome wrap around the dome from the dirt parking area. Old logging roads are used for hiking, mountain biking, or for climbers.
A short 1/2 mile sandy road leads to Dome Rock
Cairns atop Dome Rock under darkening skies. A moment later, it began to snow.
The Needles near Ponderosa are a rock climbers ideal destination
There’s a large flat area atop the granite dome along with numerous cairns, piles of individual rocks placed on one another perfectly balanced. Detailed climbing maps are available on-line for this region. Viewable to the north are The Needles, a series of granite spires pushing up against a backdrop of the peaks in Sequoia National Park and the Great Western Divide. Elite rock climbers are said to migrate to this region around Ponderosa that has numerous world-class climbing destinations. Climbers have remarked that The Needles have the finest concentration of rock climbs in the United States. Climbers are even said to come here to train for larger climbs such as scaling Half Dome.
Dome Rock looks across the Wild & Scenic Kern River to the expansive Kern Plateau. At the right time of year, with binoculars, you can see waterfalls pouring down the range across the Kern River Valley. Last time I was here, it started snowing while I was there atop the dome. As the air began to fill with whiteness, my brain said time to get off this mountain.
The reward of the Western Divide Highway is located 15 miles up the road from Quaking Aspen Campground, a sequoia grove known as the Trail of 100 Giants.
View of the Kern River Valley from the Western Divide Highway
Trail of 100 Giants
After all the super twisties headed up this road followed by the long straights along the spine of the Sierra, another can’t miss point of interest awaits. Stopping at the Trail of 100 Giants is required for any traveler along the Western Divide Highway. Not only is this remote grove of Sequoia trees one of the least visited and never busy, it’s easily reached and easily explored. The Trail of 100 Giants is a sequoia grove located right along the road. There are several other sequoia groves along this ride, Black Mountain Grove, Redhill Grove, Peyrone Grove, Peyrone Grove South, and Packsaddle groves of sequoia trees, but none of those are right beside the highway. There are signs here and a small parking lot on the east side of the road. During several of my visits, a ranger was here collecting the parking fee during peak times, and there is minimal parking for vehicles in the small lot. Bikes though, never have any issues finding a place to park.
Sequoia trees must be seen in person to be believed how big they are.
.The entrance to the 1.3-mile Trail of 100 Giants is directly across the highway from the parking area. There are often people walking along the side of the highway here as the loop trail pops out onto the road not in the original spot where you started. Staying on the trail allows you to avoid the road and backtrack via the same path directly to the parking area.
The walking path here flows up a steady rise. The easy path meanders through the Long Meadow Grove, which is made up of over 700 Giant Sequoias. More than 125 trees are greater than 10 feet in diameter, and the largest are dated 1500-years-old. The largest tree is 220 feet high with a diameter of 20 feet. Giant Sequoias are native to the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in California, which provides the very unique climate necessary for them to thrive. They only grow between the elevations of 5,000 - 7,500 feet in an area of the Sierra Nevada that is only 260 x 15 miles wide. Other groves are accessible at Arnold on Highway 4, Yosemite NP, and Sequoia NP.
The author for scale inside the base of a felled sequoia
In 2013, one of these massive sequoia trees fell onto the walking trail, and created a brand-new perspective on these gigantic trees. The first thing my motorcycle tour group did upon discovering this was climb up on top of the tree and walk the distance of the trunk. In turn, the park service re-built the walking trail right along the tree trunk. The downed tree is reason enough to stop and absorb the massive size of these trees up close.
A short distance uphill from the parking area, there are also several large sequoia trees right next to the road if you only have time for a quick stop. Highway 190 is plowed of snow year-round despite the 7200’ elevation, but the Western Divide portion may close due to winter storms. The Western Divide Highway portion of Highway 190 usually closes with the first big snowstorm in late fall, and may not open until May. However, in dry winter years, I’ve ridden through here as early as April. Check the CalTrans website in advance to see up to date open-close conditions.
Where to Next?
Western Divide Highway ends at the Trail of 100 Giants sequoia grove running into a t-intersection with Mountain Road 50. A turn westward drops into the Central Valley via Pine Flat and California Hot Springs (M-50 becomes Hot Springs Dr to Fountain Springs) and eastward is the Kern River Canyon and Sherman Pass.
However, an easily missed paved road is Forest Road 23S16 for the adventurous not in any hurry, single lane, potholed and sandy, it’s unknown to all and used by few. But, that’s why we’re up here, to ride roads like Forest Road 23S16, The Road with No Name.
Nearby Sherman Pass Rd is not to be missed, and it is the southernmost Sierra Nevada pass over the range into the eastern Sierra desert regions via Nine Mile Canyon dropping to Highway 395. If fuel is a concern, our tour groups have dropped to the Kern River canyon to the edge of Kernville for lunch and topping off fuel. Then riding back up the Kern River Canyon to ride Sherman Pass to Kennedy Meadows. There is a small general store and fuel in Kennedy Meadows via an above ground tank, but not much else in Kennedy Meadows. The region of Sherman Pass is also known as an off-road dirt biker dreamland. Trails spider off in every direction from campgrounds along Sherman Pass Rd.
Forest Road 23S16, The Road with No Name can easily be utilized as a continuation of Highway 190/Western Divide Highway .Read the description first, this road is not for all riders.
Other Rider Thoughts
I was in Tulare County, and looking for new roads. I rode Highway 190 almost by accident, in turn arriving in the foothill town of Springville. I had never been to Springville before and immediately felt as though I’d experienced a "time warp" kind of place, maybe a couple of decades behind the "big city".
After leaving Hwy 65, Hwy 190 passes through part of Porterville and soon evolves from four lanes to two; about 4-5 miles east as the road starts gently curving you will see an earthen dam on the left, which forms the west end of Lake Success. As you continue past this neat little lake, the road begins to get more interesting.
When you’ve traveled about 16 miles, you’re in the small town of Springville, which boasts some very nicely kept homes and a "classic" downtown/Main St. area. There are several small restaurants ("That Little Café" is my favorite), as well as Chevron and Texaco gas stations.
Once you get 4-5 miles east of town, you’re out of the populated area and the road gets a little more "technical", gentle curves becoming almost continuous flowing turns.
By the time you’re 6-7 miles east, this climbing, twisty road has become seriously fun; complete with sharp curves, switchbacks, and large boulders lining the shoulder providing zero "run-off" room along much of it.
After a few miles you arrive at Pierpoint Springs, which consists of a coffee shop and general store. A little further along you pass through the Camp Nelson area, with many beautiful homes and a few cross streets that seem to exist only to launch SUVs into your path. The trees are noticeably bigger now, and that wonderful pine forest smell is pleasantly overwhelming.
Portions of Highway 190 could be a pain on a cruiser or big touring bike, however a supermoto or just a light, agile bike would be a blast. But on the other hand, parts of this ride would be fun on any motorcycle. I'm at a point in my riding "career" that I'm realizing all the scenery is kinda pretty, and maybe I should slow down a little and enjoy more than a "green blur" in my peripheral vision.
Highway 190 "ends" at the Quaking Aspen camping area. However, pavement continues southward, becoming the Western Divide Hwy, or "Mountain 107".
Here the road has a lot of sweepers and even some straight sections, resembling nothing so much as a two lane freeway through the Sequoia forest. The Ponderosa Lodge is the mid-point of the Western Divide Highway portion, with a small general store and tavern. (no gas)
Continuing south through the giant trees, you eventually arrive at a "T" intersection; turn right on Mountain-56/Hot Springs Dr and about 39 miles later via Pine Flat and California Hot Springs you’ll be in Fountain Springs to Ducor back at Highway 65 to create the perfect loop. Going left will take you through the Sherman Pass and further east to Kennedy Meadows, and to Highway 395. Or, you can opt to go down the Kern River and end up in the Lake Isabella area.
Ride Highway 190, then connect with Highway 155
More Rider Comments:
I travel over Highway 155 every spring heading towards a convention in Las Vegas, and I always wanted to take Highway 190 from Porterville down to Kernville, but it was snowed-in that time of year. This past weekend I drove all the way down to Tulare County from the Bay Area to run the road while weather permits.
What a treat!! Highway 190 is very smooth and the surface is great and the markings are pristine. Don't miss the "Trail of 100 Giants" grove of giant sequoias located on the road near Johnsondale. A beautiful sequoia grove that nobody knows is there! Do a google search for more info and map location. You can also continue the ride by heading down to Kernville, which, although not as "challenging" is still a fun ride with nice scenery along the Kern River and into Kernville. I was able to return to the Central Valley on Highway 155. Next time I might even try Highway 178.