Lake isabella river rafting

Lake isabella river rafting

Lake Isabella

Lake Isabella Camping Trip things to do while visiting this Kern County lake. Lake Isabella is nestled in what is known as the Kern River Valley between two sections of the Sequoia National Forest. Surrounding communities are the towns of Lake Isabella, Kernville, Bodfish, Caliente, and Wofford Heights.

Of course, the main attraction is the lake, one of the largest reservoirs in Southern California. From fishing to boating, camping to picnicking, the lake offers some of the best fresh-water recreation experiences.

The upper and lower Kern River offer excellent fishing, camping, and rafting. We recommend the upper Kern for camping and rafting. River water levels are higher; campgrounds are numerous, and spectacular scenery.

Kern River Kernville California

Things to do at Lake Isabella

There are plenty of other exciting things to see and experience in the area. The Kern Valley Museum in the historic town of Kernville is a great place to start your visit.

The museum houses several unique periods of artifacts from prehistoric times to the present day. It has a collection of indoor and outdoor exhibits, including some of the valley’s original buildings. It is open year-round, and best of all, and it’s free.

Kern Valley Museum

Kern Valley Museum

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One of the many things you will learn at the museum is that Native Americans originally inhabited the Kern Valley called the Tubatulabal as early as 100 A.D. Evidence of the Tubatulabal living in the area is all around the Kern Valley, from rocks with grinding holes to petroglyphs.

Many descendants of the Tubatulabal Tribe live in the Kern River Valley today. Some of these descendants volunteer at the “NuuiCunni” Native American Intertribal Culture Center. The culture center is a beautiful place to explore the local Native American culture, traditions, and history of the Kern River Valley.

Silver City Ghost Town

Silver City Ghost Town

Silver City Ghost Town is a short drive from Lake Isabella and a must-see for history buffs and ghost hunters. Located in Bodfish, guests take a self-guided tour of over twenty historic buildings. Thousands of artifacts moved to the site from mining camps and other local frontier settlements.

Some say that spirits haunt Silver City from the past and possibly the present, earning the location a spot on the “National Directory of Haunted Places.” Antique collectors will want to browse the unique collection of antiques for sale in the main building. 3829 Lake Isabella Bl. Bodfish, CA. 93205 and is now open daily, seven days per week, from 10 AM to 4 PM

Kern River Fish Hatchery

Kern River Fish Hatchery

Kern River Fish Hatchery is another little-known area attraction. Kern River Fish Hatchery is located just a few miles north of Kernville and is owned and maintained by the California Department of Fish and Game.

There is also a Fishing Museum, a Natural History Museum, and an area where visitors can view the holding tanks where the hatcheries and five different strains of Little Kern Goldens have been raised for decades. The Kern River Fish Hatchery is located on the Kern River, one mile north of Kernville.

Brown Flour Mill Kern River Preserve

Kern River Preserve

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Wildlife enthusiasts will also enjoy spending some time at the 1127-acre Kern River Preserve, located along the South Fork of the river, east of Isabella Reservoir. The preserve is operated by the National Audubon Society and is open 365 days a year.

The experience will expose visitors to thousands of birds calling out in a collective symphony. But birds are not the only inhabitants of the preserve. The area has a multitude of critters, including turtles and the occasional black bear.

Kern River White Water Rafting

Kern River White Water Rafting

Rafting is one of the most popular activities along the Kern River, with numerous outfitters offering guided trips down the tours. The most popular Kern River rafting trips are on the Upper Kern. When a good flow comes out of Lake Isabella, rafting trips are available on the Lower Kern River.

Kern River Rafting

The upper Kern River is an excellent place for one-day rafting trips. To book a Kern River rafting trip, visit Kern River Outfitters.

Where to Dine, Lake Isabella

Kernville and the town of Lake Isabella have an assortment of restaurants, from fast food to fine food.

Kern River Brewing Company is where you can enjoy a Beer Belly Bratwurst topped with stout mustard and one of four locally brewed beers. There is a menu just for the kids too.

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Ewing’s On the Kern

Ewing’s On the Kern is the place to dine for a spectacular view. Ewing’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ewing’s first opened in the 1950s as the best steakhouse on the Kern River. The restaurant was completely renovated in 2014 by the owner of Sierra Gateway Markets. New decor, updated outdoor river view patios, and a new menu have made Ewing’s On the Kern the most popular place to dine in Kernville.

Sierra Gateway Markets is a convenient place to stock up on food for your camping trip and offers pre-cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. Sierra Gateway has three locations in the Kern Valley. (try the Breakfast Burritos, they are great.)

Kern Valley Campgrounds

Kern Valley Campgrounds

Lower Kern, Upper Kern, and Lake Isabella Campgrounds. Where to stay on a Lake Isabella Camping trip.

Highway 178 Lower Kern Canyon

Getting to Lake Isabella

Lake Isabella is located three hours north of Los Angeles and one hour northeast of Bakersfield, where Highway 178 meets Highway 155.

The two main roads into Lake Isabella. The scenic route through the lower Kern Canyon from Bakersfield and the RV-friendly route via Highway 14 and 178.

California Central Valley Day Trips

Kern County Day Trip Ideas

Southern California Adventures

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