THE KERN RIVER VALLEY
A trip to the Kern River Valley is like stepping back in time with working cattle ranches, endless vistas of farmland, livestock grazing, and the evening cool and quiet that can leave you breathless. The night sky lights up with more stars than one can imagine as you leave city life behind. Whatever it is you're looking for in a vacation, the Kern River Valley has it. If spending time on the water is your choice, put Isabella Lake and the Kern River right on top of your list. Our valley offers whitewater rafting, fishing, sailing, tubing, swimming, kayaking, windsurfing, water skiing, or just viewing the large variety of wildlife species that call the valley and river home. The surrounding area offers much to the land-based visitor with bird watching, horseback riding, shopping, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, gold panning, wildflower viewing, camping, and photographic possibilities.
The Kern River Valley's most striking attributes are the clear blue skies and clean country air. When you come to visit, it’s like another world, and you will leave feeling refreshed and relaxed. The Kern River Valley is just three hours from Los Angeles and one hour from Bakersfield and Ridgecrest. The two main ways to enter into the valley are, from the west, via Bakersfield on Highway 178, through the scenic Kern River Canyon, or from Highway 14 to Highway 178, and then over the historic Walker Pass, from the east.
A little history of the valley: The town of Lake Isabella was called just Isabella before the dam and was named in honor of Queen Isabella of Spain by Sven Barton back in 1893. At one time there were only two communities making up the valley, there was no dam, roads were dirt and stop signs were not needed. Kernville and Isabella (the two communities) were relocated in preparation of the Isabella Dam beginning in 1948. They now sit under the lake in quiet memory. The lake was created in 1953 by the U.S. Corps of Engineers when the dams were put into place.
The Valley has eleven small communities that surround Isabella Lake and the Kern River: Bodfish, Lake Isabella (formerly Isabella), Wofford Heights, Kernville (new), Riverkern, Canebrake, Onyx, Weldon, Mtn. Mesa, Squirrel Valley, and Southlake. There is an adventure waiting in any of these small towns and the country side that abounds! In fact it is one of the largest bodies of water in Southern California and is packed full of activities for the whole family.
“the Kern River Valley, which is spectacular this time of year, especially with all this rain. Green hills, and the surrounding Sequoia National Forest make for a beautiful warm, spring weekend backdrop.”
It is the mission of the
Kern River Valley
Chamber of Commerce
to promote economic strength within the
Kern River Valley while retaining our
quality of life and preserving and
enhancing the environment.