The Kern River Parkway Trail spans the east–west length of Bakersfield along the Kern River, a waterway that drains the Sierra Nevada range but is often dry by the time it reaches the inland city. Most of the lands on both sides of the river in Bakersfield are preserved by the city as riparian areas where native wildlife, including roadrunners and bobcats, is protected from the threat of encroaching development.
The trail's rural western end will make you forget you are within Bakersfield city limits, but that changes as you reach your first undercrossing at S. Allen Road. Here, residential subdivisions stretch to the southeast as far as the eye can see. At Stockdale Highway and Don Hart Drive East (less than a mile east of S. Allen Road), a spur provides convenient access to California State University, Bakersfield.
The suddenly more urban trail continues eastward, proceeding through several city parks with water and restroom facilities. Note that the eastern half of the trail is noticeably hillier than the western half. Just before the trail's eastern terminus at the mouth of Kern Canyon, you'll traverse a landscape dotted by the working rigs of the Kern River Oil Field, the third largest oil field in California.
Trail access and parking is available from several city parks off Truxtun Avenue west of State Route 99. Additional parking can be found where the trail crosses Manor Street and at the trail's western trailhead on Enos Lane (SR 43).