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Little Horse Trail

Little Horse Trail

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Little Horse Trail

Page Type: Trail

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.30849°N / 118.51295°W

Trail Type: Cross Country, Mountain

County: Tulare

Technical Difficulty: Medium

Aerobic Difficulty: Hard

Layout: Point to Point

Elevation Gain: 400 ft / 122 m

Length: 7.0 Mi / 11.3 Km

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Tom Kenney

Created/Edited: Nov 23, 2007 / Dec 4, 2007

Object ID: 264657

Hits: 4006 

Page Score: 73.06%  - 3 Votes 

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Lingering Spring Snow

The Little Horse Trail is a fairly long cross-country route starting near Osa Meadow at 8400' elevation, climbing over a pass at 8600' before descending to Beach Meadow at 7600' elevation.
Little Horse Trail

Along the way, the trail passes through a large burned area resembling a meadow, then descends through more meadows surrounded by lodgepole pine and white fir forest, finally ending in the dry ponderosa and jeffrey pine forest.

This trail, despite having a bit of climbing, is a very fun romp! Also, from the 8600' pass south of Osa Meadow, a side trip can be made to the top of a ridge to the west that overlooks the Kern River Valley, 5000' below, and the Great Western Divide, far to the west.

Trail Description

Riding Near Little Horse Meadow

From NF Road 20S25 near the southeast corner of Osa Meadow, the Little Horse Trail descends gently, then traverses along the southern edge of the meadow. Though the riding is mostly in the forest, occasional openings provide nice views down into the meadow.

At a low saddle, the trail passes into another drainage where a forest fire destroyed a large area of fir forest. The dead trees have been mostly cut down, and the area now vaguely resembles a meadow. Cross the burn area and climb up a soggy hillside to the first pass. Here, a road leading right (west) heads to the top of a ridge overlooking the Kern River Valley.

The trail continues south of the pass and drops down a fun descent with many whoops and jumps, then enters a beautiful meadowy lodgepole pine forest. Fast riding through the meadows leads past Little Horse Meadow and continues on, becoming drier and sandier for the final switchbacking descent to NF 21S02.

Getting There

Morning Grind

Follow directions on the Kern Plateau page for getting to the Blackrock Ranger Station on the Sherman Pass Road. All directions here are relative to that point.

From Blackrock Ranger Station, the top of the trail can be reached by heading north on NF 21S03 7 miles to NF 20S25, which branches to the left (west). Follow NF 20S25 to Osa Meadow, where the Little Horse Trail branches to the left (west) at a signed junction.

The bottom of the trail can be reached by heading west (and northwest) from Blackrock Station on NF 21S02 6 miles, past a signed turn-off for Beach Meadow. The trail (signed) will be on the right.

When to Bike

Best seasons to ride are late spring through late autumn. The area is closed due to deep snow in winter.


Riding Near Little Horse MeadowLittle Horse TrailLingering Spring SnowNice CampsiteMorning GrindLittle Horse and Beach Trail SWLittle Horse and Beach Trail SW
Beach Trail and Little Horse Trail