Father of the National Parks, John Muir, once said, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

Understanding the intrinsic value that nature offers human existence, Muir’s activism and advocacy protected what we know today as Sequoia National Park.

Who better to guide you through these iconic landscapes than Mountain & River Adventures? Opened 30 years ago by John Stallone, it is a “one-stop shop for recreation” based in Kernville that features guided rafting, camping team-building tours, walking and biking tours all over the Sequoias.

Mountain & River Adventures can customize excursions to fit any adrenaline junkie’s bucket list.

“We have a permit throughout the whole national forest,” Stallone said. “We had a group who did a day of riding, then a day of rafting and a day of climbing.”

Packages range from $68 per adult for four- to six-hour half-day jams that include a bike, helmet, gloves, snacks and water to $310 for two-day bike camping for up to 25 people, featuring the delectable cuisine of the expert staff. Rates are cheaper if you bring your own bike. The minimum age required varies by the level and duration.

Not up for a multiday bike camping adventure?

“The Sunset Cruise is a cooler ride where you can see the forest casting shadows over the lake,” Stallone recommended.

One of the most gratifying single- or multi-day excursions is the Cannell Trail. Not for beginners, this trail attracts professional riders of the motorized and nonmotorized variety. The Cannell Plunge, an ominous name for the 5,000-foot downhill jaunt, is only one part of the trail’s total descent of 8,000 feet.

You’ll pass through the Kern Plateau into Big Meadow ending at the Kern River Brewing Company. Talk about the perfect rest stop to refuel in some of the same pastures and forests that inspired the preservation movement of Muir himself. Don’t forget to snap a couple of pictures for Instagram.

Mountain & River Adventures offers a shuttle services between $30 and $45. Using the shuttle means you will not have a guide, however shuttles can take you all the way to the trail’s head with the easiest access to the best plunges and panoramas.

Take the shuttle to Greenhorn/Alta Sierra and choose from a variety of trail options including the Just Outstanding Trail where riders twist and turn through a canopy-tunnel of bright red manzanita trees. Kern River Brewing Company’s Just Outstanding IPA, aptly named by Mountain & River Adventures owner John Stallone after the legendary trail itself, was recognized as one of the top five IPAs in the world by LA Weekly Magazine in 2011.

So hit the dirt of Kernville this coming fall with Mountain & River Adventures and remember to “leave no trace” to protect the trails you will be conquering. 

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