There's lots to see and do near BakersfieldRVTravelPark, great national parks within easy driving
distance, the majestic Southern Sierras and the pristine and at times awesome beauty of the deserts to the East. For a quiet afternoon in the valley sunshine, you might want
to visit one of the twenty golf courses in the region, where green fees start at less than $30 on public courses. But if you have a more adventurous spirit, Kern County has
something for every age group and interest.
The swift currents of the rapid Kern River
make it one of America's premier white water rafting destinations. Yet its banks also offer many places for wading, swimming or just walking or relaxing on the shore and taking in the stunning riverside vistas. Flowing north to south, the whitewater experience here is second to none, particularly in the upper Kern wilderness area, which was designated as one of the top rafting experiences in America. The
Forks of the Kern
is rated as one of the most demanding and technically challenging whitewater runs in California. Yet one of the most popular trips, a two day adventure, starts near Lake Isabella, which is also one of the nation's premier windsurfing and kayaking destinations. Here you can travel south through steep
walled canyons of granite and see a range of river rafting experience from quiet, sedate pools to challenging level III and IV rapids. Be sure to bring your lifejacket and go
with an experienced, licensed whitewater outfitter.
But if rafting is not your thing, simply driving the Kern River Canyon
on Highway 178 is a must see experience all in itself. You'll get views from the steep walled canyon and the surrounding landscape offers seasonal blooms of wildflowers stretching like vermillion carpets beneath the scattered stands of trees. The river itself joins Lake Isabella, which likes to call itself California's best kept secret. The activities there include camping, hiking, windsurfing, water skiing, and fishing, including the nation's largest trout derby, (more later), and all with a dash of the Wild West thrown in. The lake area features a
Cowboy Memorial, the Silver City Ghost Town, a Native American Cultural Center
and Museum. And the little town of Kernville at the north arm of the lake is also the gateway to the Trail of 100 Giants, a beautiful thirteen mile drive into the southernmost grove of Giant Sequoias.
Less than an hour's drive south of
BakersfieldRVTravelpark on either 99 or 5 will take you to the historic Fort Tejon State Historic Park
, the former home of the US 1st Dragoons, where you can see Civil War buffs staging battles each month in the summer. From here you can take a scenic drive up Mt.
Pinos for views of the Los Padres National Forest, (661-245-3731), or visit Frasier Park
, a popular mountain getaway that was the scene of bustling gold prospecting a 100 years ago. California's gold was also black, as the region had a thriving oil industry
which is memorialized in the largest bronze statue in the Unites States, situated at Supply Row and 6th Street in the town of Taft
. This massive monument was built as a tribute to the hard men who built this industry, and it offers a great photo opportunity and a chance to learn more at the West Kern Oil Museum. A replica of the old "Sutter's Fort"
is also close by, just 8 miles away.
Southeast you can take a jaunt down Highway 58 to Murray Family Farms where you'll
have fun picking your own produce and fruit, or letting the kids tour the petting zoo or take a hay ride before having a nice picnic. As you approach Keene you can visit
the National Chavez Center, a sprawling 187 acre estate with gardens and a conference center honoring the legacy of the long
battle for farm worker's rights in America. If you have a taste for fine wine, you can turn tight at Tehachapi onto some wonderful wine country or just continue on 58 to take
a bite out of the famous apples of Old Town Tehachapi. Your camera will be busy here photographing the many unique public murals
in the town. And you can visit a marvel of railroad engineering, the "Tehachapi Loop" and get some fairly unique photos as the trains loop around one another.
aerospace is your interest, continue on 58 to state highway 14 where you'll find to the Mojave Air and Space Port
where you can visit Legacy Park and see the first private sub-orbital vehicle ever launched into space in 2004, Space Ship One
. The Air Force Flight Test Museum
is also in the region at Edwards AFB. Further south you can take a right on Highway 138 through the famous Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
. Here you'll find seven miles of trails winding through the gentle flower covered hills in the largest Poppy growing region of the nation.
If the desert inspires
you, you can continue east along Highway 58 past Edwards AFB to the Saxon Aerospace Museum
and the "Twenty Mule Team" museum chronicling the thriving Borax mining industry here.
Next: Hidden Secrets Off The Beaten Path