Four Mile Trail (The River Trail at Johnsondale Bridge)
About the Four Mile Trail
Officially known as The River Trail, the hike begins at Johnsondale Bridge and winds its way up the Forks of the Kern for, you guessed it, four miles. There is a medium parking lot at Johnsondale Bridge that can be used for overnight parking. This parking lot gets full early on the weekends.
Much of the Four Mile Trail is exposed, and during the summer months, it can be very hot along the trail during the daytime. There are forested sections to cool down as well as calm sections of the river to dip your feet. The hike follows a class V section of the river, and the current can be deceptively strong. Be very cautious if you intend on swimming, or don’t swim at all.
Many people choose to do the hike for the trout fishing opportunities along the way. Note that this section of the river is under special fishing regulations from the Forest Service. More information about the fishing regulations can be found here.
Dispersed camping is allowed along the trail. There are great sites by the river, especially after the first mile or two of hiking upstream. If you wish to make a campfire or use a camping stove, you must obtain a campfire permit. Information about how to obtain a permit can be found here.
Some people hike the trail intending to swim across the river to Dry Meadow Creek and play on the waterslides or hike up to the Seven Tea Cups. A description of that adventure can be found, here.
A comprehensive video of a backpacking trip along the Four Mile Trail.