It is also possible to hike to Kern Peak from the southern end. The Blackrock Trailhead off of the Sherman Pass Road in Sequoia National Forest would be a logical place to start and this route has the added plus of passing near Jordan Hot Springs.
Steve Eckert (http://www.climber.org/reports/1999/465.html)and Bob Burd (http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/kern_1.html) have posted trip reports approaching from Blackrock Trailhead as tarol suggests. I dayhiked this route and really enjoyed it. It’s definitely shorter than starting at Horseshoe Meadow.