Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail:
Owens Peak Segment
Outdoor Recreation Planner
Bureau of Land Management
Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93308
(661) 391 6000
Office Hours: 7:30-4:15, Monday through Friday
- Hiking and Backpacking
- Horse Packing
- Wildlife Viewing
This segment of the PCT is about 75 miles east of Bakersfield, and is about 25 miles west of Ridgecrest.
The trail north of Walker Pass provides great views; first west to the Kern River Valley and then east into the desert. During the spring and summer you will find a variety of wildflowers.
Length of the trail
The BLM Owens Peak Segment of the PCT is about 41 miles long.
Zigzagging its way from Mexico to Canada, the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail was designated as a National Scenic Trail by Congress in 1968. The BLM manages 180-miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, primarily in the south half of the state. This trail boasts some of the greatest elevation changes in the National Scenic Trail System and is poular with thousands of hiker and equestrian users. Whether you visit for a few hours or for a few days, you'll surely find a uniquely Californian scene that will rejuvenate, inspire, and surprise you.
The Owens Peak Segment begins at Walker Pass in Kern County, and extends 41 miles north to the Sequoia National Forest at Rockhouse Basin within the Domelands Wilderness. Elevations range from 5,245 feet at Walker Pass to 7,900 feet on Bear Mountain. The trail offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Each year volunteers from the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the American Hiking Society work on maintaining the Owens Peak Segment of the PCT. Contact these organizations or your local trail group for other opportunities to volunteer for other trail maintenance projects. The Kern Valley Hiking Club also has a work day in early May on their adopted segment of the trail.
Please report trail conditions on this segment to the Bakersfield Field Office.
Many trailheads, but the prime staging areas are at Walker Pass and Chimney Creek Campground.
- Walker Pass: From Bakersfield take State Highway 178 east about 75 miles to Walker Pass. --or-- From Ridgecrest travel 27 miles west on State Highway 178 to Walker Pass.
- Chimney Creek Campground: Nine miles west of Walker Pass on State Highway 178 and then north 11 miles on the graded dirt Canebrake Road. Look for signs to the Chimney Peak Fire Station.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
No special permits or fees are required for the Owens Peak segment of the trail. A California campfire permit is required if you intend to have a campfire. Permits are available from BLM, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and California Department of Forestry offices. The trail is for hiking, backpacking and equestrian use only -- no bicycles or motorized vehicles are permitted. Maximum group size is 15 with no more than 25 head of stock. Pets are allowed.
Camping and Lodging
- Camping is available at Walker Pass Trailhead Campground, which no longer has water. An alternate water source is from a nearby spring development located 1/10 mile west on Highway 178, in the bottom of the drainage by the 30 mph sign. Look for the square cement structure. Toilets, parking, fire grates, hitching racks and corrals are available.
- Chimney Creek Campground is a semi-rustic campground. It has a well with potable that should be running from April through September. Non-well water is not potable because of the area's naturally occurring uranium. The campground is located on Canebrake Road off State Highway 178, but hikers would access it from the Pacific Crest Trail (1/4 mile off the trail and marked by a sign).
- Lodging is available in Lake Isabella, Kernville and Ridgecrest. Lake Isabella is 35 miles west of Walker Pass on State Highway 178. Kernville is 22 miles west on 178, then 13 miles north on Sierra Way. Ridgecrest is 25 miles east on State Highway 178.
Food and Supplies
- Food and supplies are available in Onyx, 17 miles west of Walker Pass on State Highway 178; or in Inyokern, 16 miles east on State Highway 178.
- First aid is available at the BLM South Fork Fire Station (760) 378-3317, located on Highway 178, 10 miles west of Walker Pass, or the BLM Chimney Peak Fire Station (summer only) at (760) 371-5326, located near the Canebrake Road/Nine Mile Canyon Road intersection 4 miles north of the PCT. The fire stations may be unmanned when the crews are on an assignment. The nearest hospitals are located in Ridgecrest.
Know before you go
- Be prepared for all weather conditions. Summer temperatures range from 32° F to over 100° F. All of this trail segment is usually free of snow by mid-May, but sudden and severe snowstorms can still occur at that time. Springtime means strong winds, and summer thunderstorms bring lightning and the possibility of fire and flooding. Always be prepared for changing conditions when outdoors.
- Water is scarce along this section of the PCT so plan on carrying your own water between sources. All backcountry water should be treated before using.
- Learn more about water sources along this segment of the PCT