Porterville, CA 93257
The Kings River forms the northern boundary of the Sequoia National Forest and Monument. This portion of the Forest is managed as the Kings River Special Management Area in order to emphasize fish, wildlife, and recreation. The splendor of this magnificent river has been recognized with its designation as "wild and scenic" upstream from the confluence with Cabin Creek.
Most of the Kings River within the Sequoia National Forest and Monument is managed by the California Department of Fish and Game as a Wild Trout Fishery. Regulations pertaining to this Wild Trout Fishery apply to approximately 18 miles of the Kings River. The Wild Trout Fishery extends upstream from Pine Flat Reservoir to the confluence of the Middle and South Forks of the river. Guidelines established by the California Fish and Game commission for a Wild Trout Fishery are that "designated wild trout waters should provide a quality experience by the providing the angler with an opportunity to fish in aesthetically pleasing and environmental productive waters with trout populations whose numbers or sizes are largely unaffected by the angling process." Wild Trout waters are managed principally by protecting, maintaining, and rehabilitating habitat, and adopting appropriate angling regulations. Please check the California Department of Fish and Game regulations for the Kings River prior to angling. The Wild Trout Fishery in the Kings River is dominated by rainbow trout, although brown trout are also present. Based on angler response cards, the length of the average trout caught is among the best in California. Smallmouth and spotted bass also occur in the river below Garnet Dike.
Driving to Pine Flat Reservoir, and following the road upstream provides the primary access to the upper Kings River. The road parallels the north side of the river, before crossing a bride near Kirch Flat Campground. The road continues on the south side of the river to the Bailey bridge, which is near the confluence with the North Fork of the Kings River. Beyond this point, the river is accessed by gravel roads on both sides of the river and is best traveled by trucks. The road on the north side of the river accesses a trailhead at Garnet Dike, approximately 7 miles upstream from Bailey Bridge. The trailhead follows the river for approximately 5 miles. River access is extremely difficult above Spring Creek due to the confinement of the river canyon. The road on the south side of the river accesses Mill Flat Creek, approximately 3 miles beyond Bailey Bridge. A secondary access road to Mill Flat leaves highway 180 near Black Oak Flat, but drivers who lack a 4-wheel drive truck should not attempt this road. Campgrounds in the area are Kirch Flat, Camp 4½, Camp 4 and Mill Flat.