Considered the "Gateway to the Emigrant Wilderness", Kennedy Meadows has been the hub of outdoor recreational activities in the Southern Sierras since 1917. The trail to the Kennedy Meadows Bridge offers some of the most idyllic landscape in the area with towering juniper and pinion trees scattered along the bank of South Fork Kern River, which is perfect for hikers of all experience levels.
- Heading to Kennedy Meadows from Los Angeles is incredibly straightforward considering the 3-hour drive it takes to get there from the city. You'll want to head up the I-5 North towards Sacramento before veering onto CA-14 North. Stay on the CA-14 North for 68 miles until the CA-14 North splits in the town of Mojave. Turn right staying on the CA-14 North/Midland Trail for another 48 miles before you merge with US-395 North. After the merge, there's still about 10-miles until you reach the minor intersection with 9-Miles Canyon Road. Turn left and head up towards the mountains following the signs for Kennedy Meadows, which will be 26-miles further.
- PARKING: Park in the northern part of the Kennedy Meadows Campground near the South Sierra Wilderness sign where there's a small lot to park your car.
- NOTE: During winter months, tire chains may be needed and ice will more than likely be present so drive with extreme caution.
- NOTE: This hike is located in bear country so be sure to put any food you're planning to leave in the car in a zip-lock bags OR bring it along with you for the hike.
- NOTE: The Pacific Crest Trail cuts directly through Kennedy Meadows Campground. The small parking lot is on the opposite side of the campground where the trailhead for Kennedy Meadows Bridge is located.
- Begin at the sign-in box for the Pacific Crest Trail where the South Sierra Wilderness sign is located on the northern most part of the campground.
- Within about a hundred yards, you'll approach a gate with a clip lock securing it shut. Unlock the gate and pass through, make sure you lock the gate behind you.
- From here, you'll meander through towering juniper and pinion trees with the blissful soundtrack of the South Fork Kern River playing softly in the background of your entire 4-mile roundtrip hike.
- In approximately 2-miles from the gate, you'll reach the bridge crossing the river. Stop here and enjoy the sights before heading back to Kennedy Meadows Campground.