Kernville is the capital of adventure in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges. It’s located in Kern County and 42 miles northeast of Bakersfield. If you are interested in kayaking, hiking, camping, mountain biking, photography, and much more, Kernville is the place for you. But the number one activity in the area river rafting.  


There is a ton of adventurous activities to do in and around Kernville. The area is known for its world-class kayaking and river rafting. It’s one of my favorite destinations in Southern California for adventure. 

Any van or RV nomad looking for an area that offers everything from fishing, hiking, boating, and river activities, then Kernville is for you. There are also great boondocking opportunities in the local national forest. 

Whiskey Flat Days

Whiskey Flat Days is the annual celebration of the area’s Wild West roots. A parade, historical re-enactments, pioneer-style camps, a carnival, street vendors, and rodeo are just part of the festivities put on every President’s Day weekend and attended by thousands of visitors.  If you find yourself in the area during this time, I highly recommend attending. 

River Rafting

The kern river provides miles of challenging rapids that are well worth exploring. Take a day or multi-day trip down the river to explore all the splendid beautify it offers. You find plenty of outfitters willing to take you on a trip down the river.


There are a lot of great hiking trails around Kernville. It’s one of my favorite places to visit during the springtime when the water is flowing and the mountains green. The most popular trails are:

Trails: Kernville Hiking Trail List

  • Johnsondale Bridge River (5.2 Miles Moderate)
  • Power Peak (10 Miles Moderate)
  • Whiskey Flat (12 Miles Moderate)
  • Bull Run Creek (1.7 Miles Easy)


The Keysville Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA) is located south of Lake Isabela and has established and dispersed boondocking campsites. This area is in the mountains on the Kern River and is excellent for hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, fishing, kayaking, camping, and just exploring.

It consists of approximately 7,000 acres of BLM-managed land contiguous to the US Forest Service Sequoia National Forest. 

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