Heritage Trout Challenge Roving Trips

The Upper Kern River is a designated Wild and Scenic River holding native and heritage populations of Kern River Rainbows and California (Volcano Creek) Goldens’ in its upper tributaries and Little Kern Goldens' in the Little Kern River. Big Kern Lake (it’s actually a river for the length of the season, but sometimes creates a lake in high water years) is one of the premier fishing locations in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Kern River Rainbow are fairly nonspecific on flies and plentiful. You can expect to catch (and release) several 14-18 inch fish. This part of the river is fishable up or downstream and either side. You can easily fish from shore or wade (waders are suggested early in the season, but by mid-season its more comfortable to wet wade.) Goldens in both the Little Kern drainage and Volcano/Golden Trout Creek are usually less than 8 inches due to the smaller nature of the creeks they inhabit but they are vibrant, beautiful fish! Volcano Creek Goldens are the purest genetic strain of the California Golden, our state fish! Fishing techniques will differ from the main river; you may be fishing in an open meadow or on a small tributary in vegetation but the fish are hungry and typically eager to take your fly.

Trip Dates

  • July 14-19

  • Custom Trip Offered (contact us for availability)

Trip Overview

  • 2 full days and 2 half days on trail

  • 2 full days and 2 half days in camp

  • Opportunity to catch 3 native and heritage subspecies of California trout!

  • Over 60 miles of scenic trail

  • 6 days/5 nights

  • $1800/person + fishing guide ($300/person)

trip itinerary

Day 1: Ride to Grey Meadow (2 hr) and fish for Little Kern Golden trout

Day 2: Ride to Big Kern Lake (6 hr)

Day 3: Camp at Big Kern Lake and fish for Kern River Rainbow trout

Day 4: Day ride to Volcano Creek (2 hr ride) and fish for California Golden Trout

Day 5: Camp at Big Kern Lake

Day 6: Ride 7 hours to return to Pack station

What’s Included

  • saddle horse and equipment including saddle bags

  • pack mules

  • professional and knowledgeable packers/wranglers

  • emergency equipment, including first aid kit and satellite device

  • camp gear including: shower, toilet, tables, camp chairs

  • fly fishing guide (optional, extra expense)

packing list

  • tent

  • sleeping bag

  • sleeping pad

  • brimmed hat

  • bandana

  • lightweight gloves

  • riding/hiking boots

  • warm layers for early or late season trips

  • sunglasses

  • reusable water bottle

  • rain jacket

  • fishing gear/hard case for fishing rods

  • duffle bags

  • headlamp

  • binoculars

  • personal toiletries

  • wash cloth and small pack towel

  • guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20%)

Gear should not exceed 50 pounds per person and should be packed in 1-2 duffel bags (if two, please make them similar size and weights). You may carry a small day pack with you on the horse that should not exceed 15 pounds (for your comfort and your horses).

what about the alcohol?

GTWP does not provide alcohol but will happily pack as much in as you would like.


where do we meet?

We pack in from the Lewis Camp Trailhead. Luckily, the pack station is located one mile down the road from the trailhead parking lot. We ask that guests come up the night before their pack trip and lodge with us because we get started early the next morning. We provide lodge meals and accommodations for an extra cost. Alternatively, guests can come up to the pack station the morning of, but we ask guests to be here by 5:30 AM, so we can sort and pack your gear and get you on the trail by 7-8 AM.

guides, group sizes and age/weight restrictions?

  • We have a 1:5 ratio; 1 wrangler/guide to five animals, with a maximum of 6 guests (specific to this trip) and 3 guides

  • Kids must be 6 or older to join a pack trip. Some exceptions available (porter or stock assist) with final approval from GTWP

  • Guests must not weigh more than 250 pounds and must not have any serious physical or medical health issues prior to trip that could affect safety. Guests weighing more than 250 pounds can be accommodated on a case by case basis and depending on availability of riding mules


Email us (steve.gtwp@gmail.com), or press the button below and fill out the form to start the conversation.