KERN RIVER VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
LODGING AND CAMPING
& Members of the Kern River Valley Chamber
Be sure to plan ahead. Many of our local campgrounds, both private and public, fill up many months in advance for major summer holiday weekends.
The Public lands and campgrounds in the Kern River Valley are managed by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
Reservations for US Forest Service Campgrounds* are available through Recreation.gov.
Recreation.gov allows you to search a map of developed campgrounds, filter your search by amenities, such as available RV spaces, and reserve camp sites.
*Note: The US Forest Service contracts with the ExploreUS Hospitality Management to manage their developed campgrounds. Visitors will see camp hosts and staff wearing green shirts with the RMRC logo. Questions about fees and payments should be directed to the camp hosts directly.
There are many private residences and cabins available for rent in the Kern River Valley through websites such as AirBnB and VRBO. The KRV Chamber of Commerce does not have an affiliation with any of these providers and cannot currently provide recommendations on specific site.
However, we do recommend contacting chamber member CleanGetaways for information about the locations they manage.
AirBNB and VRBO
Dispersed Camping (Boondocking)
Opportunities for dispersed camping, also known as Dispersed Camping, abounds in the Kern River Valley and surrounding area.
Some adjacent to or near locations around Lake Isabella include Hanning Flat and Keyesville.
The Kern River Valley area is ecologically diverse. Some prefer to boondock or camp in desert environments, including areas such as the neighboring Bright Star Wilderness, Kiava Wilderness, or Chimney Creek Recreation Area.
Backpacking - Remote Camping
If you are the type of camper who lives for those days when you can venture away from your car or RV and pitch a tent or "cowboy camp" under a seemingly endless canopy of stars, then you will find endless opportunities to do so in the Kern River Valley area.
Whether it's hiking and camping in remote areas like the Kern Plateau (nicknamed Little Yosemite by some,) and its Golden Trout Wilderness, campgrounds in the Greenhorn Mountain Range like Evans Flat campground, and endless array of areas to explore await.
In fact, the Kern River Valley area has a rich history that includes real cowboys driving cattle high into the local ranges and doing exactly that, "cowboy camping." Hey, where do you think that term came from?! Some of those traditions are still alive and well today.
Recreation.gov, however, does NOT show first-come-first-served campgrounds, such as the Auxiliary Dam campground or lakeside undeveloped camping areas such as Hanning Flat, or Undeveloped Day Use areas. Additionally, there are areas around the lake and in the neighboring mountains that are privately owned. Where private property abuts to the lake or waterways - the shoreline may be designated as available for public use, but access to those locations may be difficult.
Recreation.gov also does NOT provide information about designated wilderness areas, such as the Domeland Wilderness in the Kern Plateau, the Golden Trout Wilderness, and many other areas favored by backpackers and boondockers.
This map provides a very general overview of areas around Lake Isabella. Please consult US Forest Service, USGS maps, or other professional mapping services for accurate guides. Those are available online, and at the Kern River Valley Ranger Station.
Additionally, some commercial mapping services, like CalTopo, provide maps that feature many potentially useful overlays, such mapping of private/public lands, OHV routes, topography, geology, and more.