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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,200.00 ft (365.76 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
24.00 mi (38.62 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

South along the Pacific Coast Trail from Kennedy Meadows lies the Domeland Wilderness, a vast area of over 130,000 acres traversed by the South Fork of the Kern River. Most of the wilderness is sparse chaparrel; the western side has more trees and meadows that extend into the higher elevations. In the center is an area of huge granite domes that are comparable to Yosemite. 

The easiest way to access this area is via the southbound Pacific Coast Trail. Parking is an easily visible dirt area immediately west of the bridge over the South Fork of the Kern River on the south side of Sherman Pass Road. The trail is sparsely used, even on holiday weekends. Come to the area over Memorial Day weekend for weather that is not too hot and to see wildflowers in bloom. From the trailhead you cross the bridge to the eastern side of the river and head south on the PCT. The trail is relatively flat with small rolling hills and minimal elevation changes. The PCT travels east of the river and is very exposed to the sun and weather with few trees. Dispersed camping is allowed anywhere that is 100 feet from water and 150 feet from trails, and there are plenty of options. Dogs and horses are allowed, and campfires are also allowed with a campfire permit. Depending on the year and the amount of snowpack in the Sierra, the South Fork of the Kern can be a trickle or a torrent, so it would be wise to check conditions if you plan on fording the river. The river is usually less than knee deep and easily forded in the right spots.

The domes begin immediately to the south of Trout Creek and to the east of the South Fork of the Kern. Trails are not well marked and seldom used, so familiarity with pathfinding and off trail navigation is recommended to access and explore the domes. Some great, sweeping vistas can be had from the tops of the domes, many of which are accessible via Class 3 scramble.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

2

Pros

Family friendly. Water. No permit required. Dogs and campfires allowed.

Cons

Exposure to sun and weather. Ticks. Long drive from most population centers.

Trailhead Elevation

6,000.00 ft (1,828.80 m)

Highest point

7,200.00 ft (2,194.56 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,400.00 ft (426.72 m)

Features

Family friendly
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Geologically significant
Horseback riding
Fishing
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

Yes

Suitable for

Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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