Kern River Parkway Trail


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Kern River Parkway Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Kern
Length: 30 miles
Trail end points: Lake Ming Rd. (Kern River Golf Course) and Enos Ln./SR 43 north of I-5
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6032474

Kern River Parkway Trail Description

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 comes to a head 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.

Plans are in the works for an extension of the trail's western end, connecting to the Buena Vista Lake recreation area. On the eastern end, a disconnected segment of the trail was built between Fairfax Road and the Kern River County Park and Kern River Golf Course around Lake Ming. This portion of trail leaves the banks of the river to travel through the undeveloped rolling hills northeast of the city, before rejoining the river and giving trail users convenient access to the numerous nearby athletic fields and recreation facilities.

Parking and Trail Access

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).

Parking for the northeast segment of trail is available by the California Living Museum zoo, located at 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway in Bakersfield.

Kern River Parkway Trail Reviews

Central Valley Joy Ride

Traveling by car through the Central Valley over a hundred times during the past fifty years, I've never paused to ride a bicycle in Bakersfield. Mistake! The Kern River Parkway Trail is a way above average opportunity to take a break from the monotony of Highway 99 or I-5, get in a good ride, and get back in your car with the invigoration that a two-wheeled adventure virtually always brings.

I did the length of the trail in two parts. Daty 1, headed south to SoCal on 99, I parked at Yokuts Park (plenty of parking, easily accessible off 99) and rode east. The trail itself is wide, and smooth, well maintained, and without safety concerns. Specifically, though homelessness has been mentioned in previous posts about this path, no encampments encroached onto the path, and homeless folks numbered less than ten over the roughly sixtteen mile round trip. I got a bit confused at Manor St. : stay right, look for the narrow tunnel that goes under the street. The hills mentioned in the official description and previous posts are not steep, easily negotiable by even a mildly fit rider. I did not ride the streets to the disconnected far east portion of the trail, but will next time

On my return trip headed back home (Merced) on 99, I parked again at Yokuts Park, and headed west for a 28 mile round trip ride to the western end of the trail. What a delight! Again, the trail was wide, clean, traveling largely along water, safe, for all ages and levels of riders. Previous postings about tumble weeds....didn't see any. Again, no street crossings, as the path uses underpasses for all roads, a marvelous piece of engineering. If you're a birder, bring your binoculars, you'll be travelling along extensive wetlands. The trail drops about 400 feet in elevation over 14 miles, hardly noticeable going either downstream along the Kern, or upstream on the way back. My sense of public safety seemed to be confirmed by the many families that I encountered on foot or on bikes. The speedster bicyclists were polite, and the width of the path made it easy for the tortoises and the hares, the pedestirans and the dog walkers to get along.

This path is a beauty, an achievement of forward thinking and an excellent investment in the public good. It's easily accessible from either I-5 or Highway 99. If you're passing through Bakersfield, you'll be richly rewarded by pausing to try it out. I rode it in January (58 degrees), for summer riders, be well prepared for the heat, which can be lethal.

Nice Trail but….

It’s a nice, paved trail but lots of homeless camped along it and have large dogs off leash. Also lots of garbage…Bakersfield needs to clean it up. Also never have seen such a squirrel infestation as their parks have

I have ridden this trail all the way. It is a very good trail,but from Enos Lane to Buena Vista Lake, it needs the tumble weeds cleaned up and from Hwy 119 to Buena Vista Lake all the broken glass and trash cleaned up to bring it up to par.

I have ridden this trail all the way. It is a very good trail,but from Enos Lane to Buena Vista Lake, it needs the tumble weeds cleaned up and from Hwy 119 to Buena Vista Lake all the broken glass and trash cleaned up to bring it up to par.

Impressive scenic trail

We have used this trail several times. We have not gone on the entire trail but we have ridden 35 miles. We prefer to go west on it as it is more scenic and there are not any homeless or sketchy areas. If you go east you will encounter many homeless people and the area doesn’t seem safest. We have not been bothered by the homeless, it is just a little uncomfortable seeing some using drugs, as we have a teenage daughter. Overall this trail is well kept. You can tell the city cares deeply about this trail. It’s in our top 10 in the country!


fantastic trail

I have been using it for the past three years almost every weekend. I enter the trail off of Mohawk being that I live near by. Going East the landscape is more varied in comparison to going west. Each side has its own type of beauty. The trail is mostly asphalt and very well maintained. I really like the fact that there is no place on the trail for cars to cross so you do not need to stop for traffic. You can ride non-stop the whole 22 miles.

South End Nicest

Location: Bakersfield, CA
Parking: The Park at River Walk & Kern River Parkway park
Trail Condition: Excellent wide asphalt pathway. Well maintained.
Signage: No directional route signage. We did have to stop at one location and review our map. Otherwise route is mostly obvious. There is plenty of “rules” signage. Would be a nice improvement to provide directional route signage.
Comments: We rode this in two sections. First starting at the “Park at the River” and riding south to the trail end. This portion of the trail enters the open space/ground water banking area outside of town. The wide trail gets away from traffic and city noise. We spotted roadrunners, a coyote, and lots of other birds and animals along the trail. Every so far are some benches and at one time had some sort of emergency phone system but they are in the process of removing. A number of other cyclists were encountered on the trail, most offered a wave or friendly hi. Back in the urban part of the trail a number of walkers were also on the trail. Obviously a popular trail.
Section two started at Kern River Parkway park and traveled north. Trail remained mostly in good condition. Since this section goes through the main part of the city the scenery is as can be expected with housing, traffic, and shelters in the trees along the river bed. Once passed through the urban setting the trail is a little bit more “country” but isn’t nearly as long as the southern end of the trail. Plenty of folks out enjoying a sunny Saturday afternoon on the trail.
Highly recommend the southern portion of the trail.

Western 14 miles - smooth trail

This is a very well maintained bike trail. The western section is very rural for the last 8 or 10 miles - not terribly scenic but there are tons of rabbits, ground squirrels, roadrunners and hawks to entertain you. It is an easy, flat ride. We parked at Yokuts Park and rode west to the end. Next time, we'd like to ride the eastern end of the trail.

Great Ride

I have been doing this trail since I moved to Bakersfield 24 years ago. Mostly flat, and in the summer it is very hot. The city keeps the trail clean. There are emergency call phones about every mile. There is water in the developed areas, but if you go to the west there is no water on the west end 8 mile stretch. If you have the desire, you can bike from about I-5 in the valley, all the way to Lake Ming, about 28 miles one-way.

love it.

the variations in landscape scenery are adorable.

West end Kern River Bikeway

Started at Chester in BF and rode west. Nice flat trail. Plenty of benches and water fountains along the way. It goes by Cal state BF, and the Brighthouse amphitheater. Once you get past Allen ave, you go into the great wide open called the "Bakersfield 2800" It's 2800 acres of watershed/flood control that I assume is controlled by the state. No water. No toilets. No food for about 10 miles. They have a signed gate that gives you fair warning about this area. You will be in the middle of nowhere. In June, the rattlesnakes come out of hibernation and sun themselves on the warm asphalt. Be on the lookout! You may also encounter foxes, coyotes, squirrels, rabbits, roadrunners and red tailed hawks. The trail finally ends up at Enos lane just north of I-5. Still, in the middle of nowhere.

Nice east end

I started at oak park and rode East toward the Sierras. Nice paved trail with signage and call boxes! Once you get past China Grade Loop, there are 3 parks for you to meander through. Alfred Harrell Highway was not fun to traverse coming back. Once the trail ends at lake Ming, you can hear the cars in the distance on highway 178, but there is no way to get there! You end up in a boy scout campground next to a fenced off golf course. Without a map, IDK how to get to 178 from there.


I rode this trail 5/1/15 to gain 10 miles of Latitude in my quest to cross America (Canada to Mexico) on Rail Trails only. However, it's not possible to connect rail trails themsleves east-west or north - south so I have dropped the "rail" out of the equation---especially because the Kern River Trail is not a Rail Trail. But it behaves like one with reasonable elevation change like rail trails. I did not see any homeless folks as stated in one of the reviews. The trail bed is smooth and fast. I found the eastern half of the trail as interesting/beautiful as the western half. A southwest wind wrecks havoc with average speed if you ride like I did (east-west). There wasn't a drop of water in the Kern River flood plain. It got to 95 degrees but dry air made it tolerable. Take plenty of water

long trail..has some mtb opportunities

I came over from Ridgecrest and rode about 14 miles of this a couple weeks ago, from the parking area off manor street west to about 2 miles from the I5. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the trail, it is asphalt. At one time it was concrete, you will see the remains of that scraped over to the side into the kern river drainage along the way. What makes the trail fun is that it is essentially flat as a board the entire way so really anyone can enjoy it on a bike from novices on up. The trail can be more 'hilly' towards the eastern end. I have gone out east as far as china grade loop on another occasion but then you have to start using some high speed roads with cars and bailed on that outing. The latest outing i rode on a mtn bike and quickly discovered that for the most part knobby bikes can ride just a few yards off to the side on some nice hard packed dirt. But the trail really shines for roadies i presume. There were some great places to stop and get real food and drink for example there was a shopping area like river walk park to take a break etc. It was very enjoyable and got a good workout as well...highly recommend it

Interesting trail

Lots of different scenery for a Easterner such as myself to see. We took pieces of this trail and connected them to the Round the Mountain trail and Panorama Drive sections to coble together a convenient ride. Trail is well kept and the uphills are manageable. Lots of interesting historical relevance of this trail. Well maintained and some good straightaways.


Very nice trail. You can park at Enos Lane and ride the complete trail, then turn around and go back. Round trip is about 45 miles. Excellent places to stop and rest on the way. Yokut, Beach and River Lake Park are all clean, nice restrooms. Finish Line Bike shop is right on the path, about half way point, if you need energy supplements or bike parts, great staff with years of knowledge. You can also leave the path at numerous locations to veer off and get something to eat or drink. This is one of my favorite rides in Bakersfield.

Fun Ride!!!

I ride this path 3 to 4 days a week... Love Love Love it!! Longest ride was from Calm to Enos and back... It was a long ride but a fun one!!! It's beautiful early in the morning... Don't go alone... there are homeless people in the bushes... They have never bothered me... but it's a little unnerving, nonetheless... I've seen bobcats, snakes, coyotes, jack rabbits, bunnies... etc... the off road trails are my favorite... Lots of fun!!!

really fun bike ride

The entire distance of this bike path is 30 miles if it is taken in entirety to Lake Ming from Enos Lane. It is an up and back bike ride so be prepared to do 60 miles if you need to return. Make sure to get a map because the east end of the bike path goes along roads. It won't be clear which way to go without one. If you want you can stop and turn back when it says end of bike path. That is a 20 mile ride.

The ride goes along the Kern River the whole way and cutting through Bakersfield without any hassle of traffic. It first goes through open conservation land for around 5 miles, then passes through many city parks along the river, by the University, along side canals with many water fowl. Towards the ending of the ride it is in the East Bakersfield foothills which is a very beautiful view of the mountains as it finds it way to Hart Park and then to Lake Ming. It is no longer a flat ride when you get to the hills.

Kern River Trail ride, Spring 2013

I found the trail to be a very pleasant ride through Bakersfield. Much of it follows the mostly dry riverbed and is well maintained. It passes through some industrial areas and numerous parks, as well as an oil field near the northeast end. The terrain is surprisingly diverse, with several small lakes, canals and large bluffs on the route. No significant grades, so an easy ride for riders of all abilities.

Bakersfield's newest bike shop

The latest bike shop to open in Bakersfield, Riverbend, is located right off the bike path at 24th and Oak Streets. There you can purchase cold drinks and some snack foods, refill your water bottle, use the restroom facilities, or get a flat tire repaired. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and it's a great stopping off point on the river to get supplies that aren't readily available elsewhere in the area.

My favorite (so. cal)

This is a trail that I thought would be getto, but actually exceded my expectations. I highly recommend starting at the lot by the 5 fwy and biking east. When it starts getting dirty and getto, turn around for your ride home. The west side of the trail is beautiful. The east side of the trail is kind of dirty. My first time I started in the center (across from CSU Bakersfield) and rode west. It was nice, but there is no place to get off and go to lunch by the 5 fwy. If you start by the 5, then once you get near CSU Bakersfield you can find a place to eat lunch.

Kern River Bike Path

In the hotter months this year, we still found plenty of activity on the pathway. We found parking at the city park at Oak and 24th and entered the pathway at that point. Heading West, we encountered several walking groups, supporting a variety of social causes - ALS, Dementia, etc. Riders, and walkers, are friendly.
Evening riding could be a pleasure and safe. We noted a number of call boxes along the pathway should you need assistance. As mentioned earlier, there are many places to refill water bottles except for the western end of the path.

Kern River Bike Path; Western Section

I have ridden the bike path daily for the last several years. This is a pleasing place to spend time especially in the early morning hours before it gets hot. The bike path generates a great deal of activity. You can find groups to ride with most days of any skill level and speed. Just search through the local bike shops.
There is water in the river this year which brings a lot of foilage and animals. The western section of the path beyond Stockdale bridge has many different species common to Southern California including cougars, and coyotes especially in the early morning when few other riders are out.

Bakersfield's Kern River Bike Path

The bike path has been extended in both directions in recent years. It extends about 10 1/2 miles west from Calif State University and about another 11 miles to the east. Much of the path is along the Kern River or in the flood plain of the river and is fairly flat. On the east end of the path, you can ride on Alfred Harrell Highway (more of a country road than a highway) for about 4 miles and the path starts again for several more miles. There are numerous parking lots along the bike path. West of the University, there is some wildlife including, road runners, valley quail, cottontail rabbits, kit foxes (endangered species), and others. There are many places to refill water bottles except for the western 6-7 miles of the path. It's hot and dry in Bakersfield in the summer months so be prepared.

Middle section of trail

"Parking off Stockdale Hwy and Don Hart East Drive N35.35478 W118.10097 elev 377; .
Trail surface in excellent condition. Open view along river levee then passes by Parks with small ponds.
After passing under Hwy 99, I turned around at Rosedale Hwy.N35.38113 W119.04070 elev 400’."


Impressive. Well maintained. Offers an opportunity to see things not generally believed to be connected with Bakersfield.

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