Are there bears in Kern River?
Updated: Jul 10
If you’re planning a trip to the Kern River, you might be wondering, “Are there bears in Kern River?” When it comes to this particular area of California, this concern is quite valid.
Let’s break down the question, “Are there bears in Kern River?” and what you can do to keep them away from your campsite.
Are there bears at the Kern River?
Yes, there are bears in Kern River. In fact, there are more bears than usual throughout California as a whole. Not only has the Black Bear population increased over the past 25 years, but with the 2021 wildland forest fires above the Kernville community, bears and other wildlife have been pushed to lower elevations. Because of this, people are spotting more and more bear (typically in the evening or early morning hours).
Pro Tip: Kern River bears are technically “black bears” – but can be a variety of tones (from cinnamon to brown to tan).
How to keep bears away
Since there are bears in Kern River, it’s important to understand how to keep bears away from your campsite. These tips are all closely related, but let’s break them down.
Don’t keep food in your tent: While you may be tempted to eat a late night snack or keep a bag of chips in your tent, do not. Bears are extremely sensitive to smell, and you don’t want them sniffing around where you sleep.
Keep all trash contained: All trash needs to be contained in closed dumpsters at all times. Fully developed campsites will have these available for you.
Keep all food and scented items stored away: When you bring food (or anything that’s scented) to a campsite that is around Kern River bears, make sure you keep it all contained. Airtight containers with lids are recommended – plastic bags will not work. Consider bringing a bungee cord with you to secure the lid further.
Pro Tip: It’s important to always practice Leave No Trace principles — not only to protect the wildlife but to protect yourself, too. Every night, make sure all trash is placed in a dumpster or strung up in a tree and clean up your entire campsite on a regular basis.
What to do if a bear is nearby
If you are unsuccessful at keeping bears away from your campsite, it’s important that you understand how to avoid being attacked by one. Here are a few good tips to keep in mind:
Make noise: If you notice a black bear around your campsite, it’s recommended to make as much noise as possible. Clap, yell, and bang pots or containers.
Stay in a group: If a black bear comes up to you and your fellow campers during a camping trip at Kern River, do not separate. Huddle together and allow the bear to find an exit path.
Don’t run away: While it’s very tempting to turn around and run away from a bear, avoid this at all costs. If you do this, it is likely that the bear will chase you and be successful at capturing you.
Keep Reading: Check out 11 really fun things to do at Kern River
Ready to camp at Kern River?
Then let’s go! At Kern River’s Edge, you’ll find the best fully developed campground at Kern River – with plenty of places to safely contain your trash. Plus, with over 40 sites to choose from and easy access to fishing, swimming, and sandy activities, there’s something for everyone at the River’s Edge campsite.