Seven Teacups Hike in Sequoia National Forest Between Kernville and Springville

If you’re into hiking and exploring nature, let me tell you about my recent adventure on the Seven Teacups trail in the Sequoia National Forest. It’s a hike that’s as fun as it is challenging, and it’s packed with breathtaking sights.

seven teacups

The Seven Teacups, or 7TC as some folks call it, is a small part of Dry Meadow Creek right before it meets the Kern River. It’s one of the top Class C canyons you can find in California. The best time to head down this canyon is during the summer or fall, or really anytime when the water isn’t flowing too high. When the water’s too strong, it can make the trip a bit tricky because of the current challenges.

beginning of seven teacups
Top of seven teacups

My Experience Hiking the Seven Teacups

The trail is about 2.2 miles each way, so a round trip will have you covering just over 4 miles. The first part of the hike is quite an incline. It starts with a steep trail that gets your heart pumping right from the get-go. You’re not just walking on a flat path; it’s a climb, and you need to be ready to work those legs. I considered it as a hard hike. It took us 3 hours round trip but we arrived late at the teacups and hurried back before it was getting dark. If you want to take longer and enjoy your time more at the teacups, plan accordingly.

starting point to the Seven Teacups
Starting point to the Seven Teacups
Rules of the Seven Teacups sign
Rules of the Seven Teacups hike
hiking up the hill to the seven teacups
Hiking up the hill to the Seven Teacups
hiking trail to seven teacups
Trail to the Seven Teacups

The trail has no shade and it gets hot. Take plenty of water with you. As you get further along, the trail doesn’t really get easier. You’ve got to climb over rocks and cross the river, which can get pretty tricky. The current is strong, and there aren’t any standard bridges. Instead, there are makeshift bridges made of logs and branches. I’ll be honest, crossing the river felt a bit dangerous. Stepping on those slippery log-made bridges, trying to keep my balance—it was a real adventure, but you definitely need to be careful.

hiking path to Seven Teacups
Path to the Seven Teacups
hike through the woods to the seven teacups
Hike through the woods
forest to the seven teacups
have to cross a river to the other side to go to the seven teacups
Have to cross the river to the other side to go to the Teacups
water and rocks on the trail to the seven teacups
Follow the pink ribbons on bushes or branches to get to the Teacups

After crossing the river, the path gets a bit confusing. There’s no clear trail to follow, which can make it tough to figure out where to go next. Plus, there’s no cell signal out there, so don’t count on your phone to bail you out.

Check out my video of the Seven Teacups here and how I struggled to go over the river:

After you cross the river, don’t go left or right. You need to climb straight up the big rock. I had downloaded the map on the AllTrails app before we set out. When we hiked there in the middle of the week in April 2024, there weren’t any other hikers around to ask for directions. Having that downloaded map was a lifesaver.

makeshift bridge out of logs to the seven teacups
Makeshift bridge out of logs to the Seven Teacups. When we were there, the current was strong and the river quite high. You have to go over it and then straight up on the steep rock.
steep rock that leads to the seven teacups
This rock is already near the Teacups. You have to climb up that steep rock to get closer to the Seven Teacups

Despite the challenges, reaching the Seven Teacups is totally worth it. These are natural pools carved into the rock by flowing water, and they look just like giant teacups. Each pool is connected by small waterfalls, making it a stunning spot to relax after the demanding hike.

beginning of seven teacups
Beginning of the Seven Teacups

Swimming in those pools is the best reward for all that hard work. The water is cool and refreshing—a perfect way to chill and soak in the beauty around you. I took a bunch of photos, because it’s not every day you see something this unique.

We parked the car on the side of the road from the trailhead. We drove up the hill about 5 more more minutes from the Johnsondale bridge. The trailhead is not really visible from the road. It’s best to download AllTrails hiking path for this trail. The walk through the forest is really pretty, and the river is always sort of in the background. Even though the path is rough at parts, it’s worth it when you get to the teacups.

the seven teacups
Water flowing through the Teacups
me sitting at the seven teacups

If you’re planning to head out there, make sure you’re prepared. Wear sturdy shoes, preferably hiking shoes because there are steep and slippery rocks you need to climb up and down to see the teacups. Also, bring plenty of water, and perhaps some snacks too. The walking path is narrow with spiky branches at some places. There are many fallen trees on the hiking path as well where you need to climb over them. We went in April and the bugs were only at the river crossing but you can always take a bug spray with you. And since the trail can be a bit risky, especially at the river crossing, it might not hurt to bring a friend. It’s always safer and more fun that way.

rocky and narrow trail to the seven teacups
Rocky and narrow trail
lots of fallen trees on the trail to the seven teacups
Lots of fallen trees on the trail
fallen trees on the trail to teacups

There are lots of campgrounds on the way to the Seven Teacups. The campgrounds closer to the teacups have no cell service but we stayed at the Kern River Edge Campground which was small but nice. It’s right by the Kern river and has clean bathrooms and showers.

wider area of the path to the seven teacups
Someone had marked the path with the branches, just keep going following this path area
me crossing the water to the seven teacups
I found a stick to help me cross the water.

I’d like to go back there and take more time at the teacups, it’s an incredible experience. If you love nature and are up for a bit of a challenge, I highly recommend it. Just take it slow, be safe, and enjoy every minute out there!

me on the beach
About the author

Hi, I'm Kat, the adventurous spirit behind TasteCaliforniaTravel, your guide to the hidden wonders of California. Having called California home for the last 15 years, I am thrilled to take you along on my journey and share the adventures that this incredible state has to offer.

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