The name of the trail is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Read more.
The name of the resort is Kennedy Meadows Resort & Packstation.
The name of the museum is Kennedy Meadows Historical Museum. Read more.
Kennedy Meadows is the entry point for the Sierra Nevada section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a 2,650-mile long trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. In this blog post, we will explore some attractions and activities that Kennedy Meadows has to offer, as well as some tips and advice for planning your trip.
Table of Contents
What to Do in Kennedy Meadows
There are plenty of things to do in Kennedy Meadows, depending on your interests and preferences. Here are some of the main options:
- Hiking: Kennedy Meadows is a hiker’s paradise, with trails ranging from easy to challenging. You can hike along the South Fork of the Kern River, through forests of pinyon and juniper trees, or up to alpine meadows and lakes. You can also access the PCT from Kennedy Meadows and hike north or south along the scenic crest of the Sierra Nevada. Some common destinations for hikers are Olancha Peak, Monache Meadow, Templeton Mountain, and Horseshoe Meadow. You can find more information about hiking trails and maps on the Inyo National Forest website.
- Horseback Riding: If you prefer to explore the wilderness on horseback, you can rent horses or mules from the Kennedy Meadows Resort & Packstation, which has been operating since 1917. They offer day rides, overnight trips, and pack trips into the Emigrant Wilderness, Carson Iceberg Wilderness, or northern Yosemite National Park. You can also bring your own horses and stay at one of the campgrounds or cabins in Kennedy Meadows.
Tip: If you visit Kennedy Meadows in the summer, you should protect yourself from sunburn by using sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
- Fishing: The South Fork of the Kern River is a prime spot for fishing trout, especially in the spring and fall. You can fish from the shore or from a boat, using artificial lures or flies. You can also fish in some nearby lakes and streams, such as Kennedy Lake, Relief Reservoir, or Golden Trout Creek. Furthermore, you will need a valid California fishing license and a wilderness permit if you plan to fish in the wilderness areas.
- Hunting: Kennedy Meadows is located in Zone D8 of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife hunting regulations. You can hunt deer, bear, quail, rabbit, and other game animals in season. You will need a valid California hunting license and tags, as well as a wilderness permit if you plan to hunt in the wilderness areas. Likewise, you should also be aware of the firearm restrictions that apply in some parts of Kennedy Meadows.
Where to Stay in Kennedy Meadows
There are several options for accommodation in Kennedy Meadows, depending on your budget and comfort level. Here are some of them:
- Kennedy Meadows Resort & Packstation: This is a historic resort that offers cabins, motel rooms, tent cabins, RV sites, and camping sites. They also have a restaurant, a general store, a saloon, a laundry facility, and a gas station. They are open from late April to mid-October.
- Deadman Campground: This is a primitive campground that has 17 sites for tents or RVs up to 22 feet long. There are no hookups or water available. There are vault toilets and fire rings. The campground is first-come, first-served and costs $8 per night. It is open from late May to mid-October.
Advice: If you want to fish in Kennedy Meadows, you should check the current fishing regulations, which can vary depending on the season and the water body.
- Baker Campground: This is another primitive campground that has 10 sites for tents or RVs up to 22 feet long. There are no hookups or water available. There are vault toilets and fire rings. The campground is first-come, first-served and costs $8 per night. It is open from late May to mid-October.
- Backcountry Camping: If you want to camp in the wilderness areas around Kennedy Meadows, you will need a wilderness permit, which you can obtain online or at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine. You will also need to follow the wilderness regulations, such as storing your food in bear-resistant containers or using counterbalance methods.
How to Get to Kennedy Meadows
Kennedy Meadows is accessible by car via Highway 108 from Sonora or Highway 395 from Lone Pine. The road conditions can vary depending on the season and the weather, so you should check the CalTrans website. You should also be prepared for high elevation driving, as Kennedy Meadows is at about 6,200 feet above sea level and some nearby passes are over 9,000 feet.
Caution: If you want to hike or ride in Kennedy Meadows, you should be careful of bears that can occur in the area. You should always store or dispose of your food and waste securely and never feed or provoke a bear.
If you are coming from the east side of the Sierra Nevada, you can take advantage of the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority. Which offers bus service from Reno, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop, Lone Pine, and other towns to various trailheads along Highway 395. You can then hike or hitchhike to Kennedy Meadows from one of these trailheads.
When to Visit Kennedy Meadows
The best time to visit Kennedy Meadows depends on what you want to do and see. Generally speaking, the summer months (June to August) are the busiest and the warmest, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 80s°F and nighttime temperatures in the 40s°F. The spring and fall months (April to May and September to October) are less crowded and cooler, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 60s°F and nighttime temperatures in the 30s°F.
Additional information: Kennedy Meadows is not only a popular place for outdoor activities, but also a historical place that has been settled since the late 19th century. You can visit some old buildings and artifacts at the Kennedy Meadows Historical Museum, which is located next to the resort.
The winter months (November to March) are the quietest and the coldest, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 40s°F and nighttime temperatures below freezing. The snow level can vary from year to year, but usually Highway 108 is closed for the winter sometime in November and reopens sometime in May.
If you plan to visit Kennedy Meadows in the winter, you should be prepared for snow and ice conditions, as well as limited services and facilities. You should also check the avalanche forecast and carry appropriate gear and skills for winter travel.
Kennedy Meadows: A Great Place to Enjoy the Sierra Nevada
Kennedy Meadows is a great place to enjoy the natural beauty and diversity of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous expedition, you can find something to suit your taste and ability in Kennedy Meadows. Just remember to plan ahead, respect the environment, and have fun!