The Keyesville Classic trail is an eight mile loop that eventually connects to the Kern Canyon trail but it’s also a historical route packed with old gold mines that are still in place.
The Now’s Tori Cooper hiked with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials and their archeologists to get an inside look into what you can expect along the trail.
If you are looking for scenic views, where the Keyesville Trail meets the Kern Canyon trail is the spot for you. However, this trail is not just for hikers looking to make it to the top. “This land is used for all sorts of different types of recreational activities, you can bike, you can ride your motorcycle, you can hike, you can ride your horse here,” BLM official Gabe Garcia said.
The Keyesville Classic trail is a historic trail that’s been around hundreds of years and is still home to many of the Tubatulabel indigenous Native American people.
The trail is made up of steep terrain but it certainly has less gravel making it easier for bikers and hikers.
If you start hiking at six a.m. you will catch the sun breaking over the Sierra Mountains, with a range of purples, blues, pinks and oranges in the sky. If you keep your eyes peeled on the hillside you will also find something historic according to archeologist Amy Girada of the BLM, “This is an entrance to a gold mine and an adit. It’s sort of like a tunnel without an end you can walk in but you can’t walk out the other side and inside this adit is a wildlife gate to allows animals, bats basically to get in and out but to keep people safe.”
Like many Cooper was tempted to go inside and check it out but Gabe Garcia of the BLM was luckily there to inform Cooper about the risk she would be taking. “You can safely look from the outside, you can go in and poke your head in and take a look and see how long it is but do not enter that mining shaft. They’re very unstable, the timbers that hold that up are hundreds of years old in some cases and there is also a potential for hazardous gas to be in those,” Garcia said.
Some of the rocks were also crumbling outside of the gold mine when Cooper was standing outside.
However, for the everyday person at home who is yearning for a gold find Garcia recommends joining a mining club in Kern County, “Then you would have access to some of theses cites that are under claim. We also have a recreational mining area here within Keyesville that you can go out and you can explore and pan.”
Garcia urges those looking for permissible gold mining areas to contact the BLM. The three point five mile hike was just enough for anyone looking for a moderate day hike according to Cooper.
Make sure if you decide to keep it short after climbing some of the granite rock formations at the top of the trail, that you head back the same way you came otherwise you will end up hiking the entire eight mile loop.
The trail was very clean so make sure you pick up your trash. If you are interested in mining for gold all you have to do is contact the BLM Bakersfield office and they will direct you to the designated areas.
DIRECTIONS FROM BAKERSFIELD: Take highway 178 E to the 155 exit towards Kernville, then take a left on Keyesville Road then a left on Pearl Harbor Drive. Then drive to the end of the road and you will see the trail head on your right.