Nelson / Camp Nelson Trail?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mtbMike, May 15, 2018.

  1. mtbMike

    mtbMike Well-Known Member

    Current Bike:
    Intense Tracer & Primer
    Who has ridden the Nelson MTB trail in the Sequoia’s? I was asked if I was interested ain a trip up there nd have never ridden it or even knew where it was. I looked it up online and saw 4700’ of climbing but was then told it’s actually a shuttle. Any opinions on the ride? Looks fun in videos. What might you compare it to? How far from Kernville and The Plunge?

    TIA for your input.
    Mikie, Danmtchl, UPSed and 1 other person like this.
  2. CalEpic

    CalEpic Member

    Camp Nelson trail is a short, predominantly downhill trail. Usually shuttled but I know people do pedal up. Very scenic. Upper trailhead is at Quaking Aspen Campground, ends in Camp Nelson. There are other longer trails in the area. Fairly close to Kernville so you could easily combine a trip.
    Mikie, Danmtchl, mtbMike and 2 others like this.

    AKAKTM Member

    Tony A
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripmo
    Mikie, Scott A and a few others of us did Nelson and several other trails in the area several years ago. That's a great area and Nelson is fantastic. Haven't ridden it in a few years though.
    Mikie, Danmtchl, mtbMike and 2 others like this.
  4. SoCal_Rider

    SoCal_Rider Member

    I've ridden Camp Nelson trail twice. The first time we weren't really thinking and ended up riding the road back up to the cars. It wasn't too bad. It's a pretty area to take your mind off things. There is a short singletrack from town to the highway that cuts a little pavement off. I'd say shuttle it if you can though.

    The trail itself is pretty technical in spots. Being able to ride thru a tree is pretty damn cool.

    It's a pretty long drive from Kernville to Camp Nelson on a narrow, windy road. Cool if you like that kinda thing. Sucks if you are prone to getting car sick and are a passenger.
    PMORTUARY, Mikie, Danmtchl and 3 others like this.
  5. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    San diego
    Evan S
    I've ridden it a bunch of times, as have plenty of others here. There should be plenty of trip reports here (and on DT also)

    Camp nelson is a fun trail in one of the coolest environments in socal - trail runs through some Sequoia groves. It's a bit short, maybe 7mi. I've only shuttled it, which is what most do. Some people climb back up the highway. There used to be a shuttle service in Camp Nelson village but it shut down. Leaving from the same campground you can also ride Freeman Creek Trail down to the George W Bush tree (out and back). There is also Summit Trail to the north, but it can be hard to follow, best ridden with someone who knows it - and it isn't always in good shape. Summit also continues SW up Slate Mountain, where Bear Creek drops around 5,000ft to Camp Nelson. This is a great backcountry ride. All up then all down. All of this is on trailforks.

    Quaking aspen is a nice campground but is getting harder to get spots at as some campsites have been converted to yurts - I'd reserve one if you want to stay there. Usually we either ride up there or ride Kernville. We don't usually combine those trips, but it would be easy to do, and lots do it. Quaking aspen is around 80-90 min drive north of Kernville. Sometimes its faster to go up I-5/Hwy 99 and then cut over through Porterville or California Hot Springs. For directions use Ponderosa as an end point. Its just south of the campground. There are a couple other campgrounds in Camp Nelson - Belknap and Coy Flat.

    When you hear me call out Cannell as Socal's most overrated trail and say there is much better out there, the stuff up at Camp Nelson is some of what I am referring to.
    LLPoolJ, Mikie, Danmtchl and 4 others like this.
  6. beartooth

    beartooth Member

    Current Bike:
    Definitely do it. One of my top 10 trails for sure. It is the only place I know where I can have both my bikes and dogs and Giant Sequoias. Haven't been up there in years, but might head up there this summer. Quaking aspen is a nice place to camp and start. I recommend the shuttle option. There are many other trails in the area but the camp nelson trail is worth it by itself. The only other thing I can add is when I was up there last, there were many weed growing operations and the rangers were in a prohibition-like war, but with legalization, that's probably over now.
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Lebec, California
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Camp Nelson is AWESOME!
    But, it's only "okay" if you do that alone. You got to include Bear Creek Trail if you go, otherwise you lose the epic that is available there.

    Here is a very old report that was on our previous forum software. The old software used "pic captions". So when we made the migration to the new Forum software all the text was lost. But the pics (ye there are tons of pics) are pretty cool and I have started to add some of the text back in to my older Ride Reports:


    Edit: Added Video I made of Bear Creek Trail: That was on my Yeti. I can't imagine how scary fast it would be on my Hightower!
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