Note: The Kern River Preserve is temporarily closed due to flooding.
The Kern River Preserve Headquarters and Visitor Center is closed due to flooding of our access road. We are very pleased to have precipitation and normal stream flows on the South Fork Kern River. However, the river continues to naturally and inevitably meander toward our buildings so we anticipate that this closure will be extended and will eventually force us to relocate our public access. We are working to secure permits and funding to provide a new access area for visitation in a less flood-prone location. In the meantime, Fay Ranch Road and the South Fork Wildlife Area are alternative sites for viewing the river forest.
The Kern River Preserve is managed by Audubon California for the preservation of one of California’s finest remaining riparian forests and the wildlife it supports.
Your self-guided tour of the Kern River Preserve (KRP) nature trail begins at the headquarters sign. About one mile long, the trail takes an hour to walk at a good pace. Expect to spend two or three hours if you want to experience the extraordinary plant and animal diversity. CLICK HERE FOR A DOWNLOADABLE TRAIL GUIDE.
The entrance to Audubon California's Kern River Preserve is located alongside the scenic South Fork of the Kern River. It is fifty-seven miles northeast of Bakersfield, Kern County, California.
From Bakersfield - Take Hwy. 178 fifty-seven miles northeast through the Kern River canyon and past Lake Isabella - continue through the communities of Mtn. Mesa and South Lake. Slow down at the T-intersection of Hwy 178 and Sierra Way as the preserve is 1.1 miles beyond this point. On the left is a large sign for Audubon California's Kern River Preserve. You are almost here. Turn left and drive down the dirt road - slowly as cattle are frequently in the field. The field is not our property - the road is an easement to the preserve - so please respect the landowner and do not stop or park until you reach the parking area inside the preserve.
From the Mojave Desert - The preserve is located approximately 30 miles from Hwy 14. From Hwy. 14 take Hwy. 178 west through Walker Pass - Canebrake - Onyx and almost through Weldon. The preserve is 0.6 miles beyond the South Fork Elementary School and only 100 yards past Kelso Valley Road at Hwy. 178 milepost 57.00 (white paddle sign on side of road). On the right is a large sign for Audubon California's Kern River Preserve, you are almost here. Turn right and drive down the dirt road - slowly as cattle are frequently in the field. The field is not our property - the road is an easement to the preserve - so please respect the landowner and do not stop or park until you reach the parking area inside the preserve.
Ridgecrest - 1 hour
Bakersfield - 1.25 hours
Death Valley National Monument, Fresno, Los Angeles, Morro Bay, Riverside, San Bernardino, Sequoia National Park, Ventura - 3-3.5 hours
Orange County, Santa Barbara - 4 hours
Las Vegas, Palm Springs, San Diego, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose - 6 hours
Reno - 7.5 hours
Phoenix - 9 hours
Bakersfield/Kern County (1 ½ hrs. to Kernville by car)
Burbank/Ontario (3+ hrs.)
Inyokern (1 ¼ hrs.)
LAX (3 – 4 hrs.)
Fresno (3 - 4 hrs.)
San Diego ( 5½ - 6 hours)
Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco (6 - 6½ hours).
Rental Car: All of the airports listed above are served by three or more major rental car companies.
Bus: Take Greyhound service to Bakersfield, then take Kern Regional Transit (KRT) bus to Kernville.
For KRT schedule information call 800–560–1733.
Train: Take Amtrak service to Bakersfield, then GET bus, or taxi, to GET terminal to connect with KRT.
Natural History Information for Kern County and the Kern River Watershed - Website - http://www.natureali.org
Accommodations in the Kern River Valley - http://www.natureali.org/accommodations.htm
See Kern River Preserve Facebook page for info on opening of the VQ and Visitor Center.
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