Access limited to Pacific Crest Trail

Press Release
Bureau of Land Management

Access to portions of the Pacific Crest Trail, north of Walker Pass, Kern County, is impassable to equestrians due to a series of rockslides triggered by recent seismic activity. The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield Field Office, Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association, advise all recreationalist to use extreme caution.
Debris removal from the 100-foot rockslide will begin in late September. There is no timeframe for when the trail will be cleared and the
hillside stabilized.

The buried section is impassable to equestrians north of Walker Pass, where the PCT crosses State Route 178 near Lake Isabella, However, there is a bypass available. To avoid the roughly 25-mile damaged Owens Peak section, southbound hikers may exit the PCT at the Chimney Creek Campground via car by taking Canebrake Road, also known as the Chimney Peak Backcountry Byway, eastward to state Route 178 to rejoin the trail at Walker Pass.

Three sections of the PCT, between mile markers 659 and 661, are buried under tons of boulders, rock and dirt from the steep, stony slopes of the Owens Peak ridgeline, approximately eight miles north of Walker Pass. Posted signage advises the public to avoid the hazard and use caution, as the unstable rocks can shift at any time. Seismic activity continues in the area and recreationists may encounter additional rock falls and hazards along the trail and further north for approximately 20 miles.

While the season for northbound equestrians and hikers is ending as the temperatures rise on the southern section of the trail, southbound travelers are expected to return once fall arrives.
The Walker Pass campground, located approximately nine miles west of the junction of state routes 14 and 178, is at roughly 5,000 feet elevation and offers free tent or car camping with developed sites, picnic tables, shade shelters and a vault toilet.

The PCT traverses the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range, stretching 2,650 miles from the United States – Mexico border to the U.S. – Canada border, passing through 25 national forests and seven national parks in California, Oregon and Washington. The Pacific Crest Trail was designated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, though the long-distance hiking and equestrian trail was not officially completed until 1993.

For more information, please contact BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Brie Chartier at 661-391-6000.

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