Updated June 4, 2023: CalTrans has re-opened Highway 178 in the Kern River Canyon between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella with one-way controlled traffic, via traffic signal. Travelers are advised to slow down in the canyon, obey traffic signals, and please be patient! No need to take an alternate route.
The recent CalTrans road closure of Highway 178 between east Bakersfield and Lake Isabella on May 27, 2023 does not impact Kern River's Edge Campground -- we are OPEN for camping!
So what's the best route to take to get to Kern River and Kernville, CA? Here are the best alternate routes to use while driving to Kern River's Edge Campground and Kernville. Most routes add only about 30-45 minutes extra time to your drive time. And, parts of these routes are incredibly pastoral and beautiful, so slow down and enjoy the scenery!
A small 10 mile portion of Sierra Way just south of Kernville is also closed due to flooded roads that resulted in road damage and road closure.
Related Content: Check out all the fun things to do at Kern River
Each set of driving directions listed below include Detours that take you on alternate routes around the two road closures noted above. We look forward to seeing you very soon @ the Kern River's Edge to camp, relax and explore!
From the 395, turn left/west onto Highway 178 towards Lake Isabella, drive all the way in to Lake Isabella and turn north towards Kernville, CA. See complete route on Google Maps.
From Los Angeles drive north on I-5 and then near Santa Clarita take the CA-14 toward Palmdale/Lancaster. Turn left/west onto Highway 178 towards Lake Isabella, drive in to Lake Isabella and turn north towards Kernville, CA. See complete route on Google Maps.
From Bakersfield, CA take the 58 to the 14 towards Tehachapi and then California City. Turn left/west onto Highway 178 towards Lake Isabella, drive in to Lake Isabella and turn north towards Kernville, CA See complete route on Google Maps.
Driving from Bakersfield to Kernville through Twin Oaks - Option #1 This is likely the best option from Bakersfield in general, especially if you are towing a trailer.
Take Hwy 58 East to Caliente Creek Road heading east toward Arroyo Grande Road. This route takes you through scenic pastures and mountains before descending to Lake Isabella. Take Hwy 155 towards Wofford Heights and Kernville.
This route is known as the Lion's Trail and is NOT recommended for vehicles towing a trailer.
From Bakersfield take Hwy 58 east toward Tehachapi. Turn left onto Caliente-Bodfish Road toward Bodfish and Lake Isabella; stay to the left on Caliente-Bodfish Road @ the Y intersection. Drive slowly and carefully on the beautiful, scenic, mountain road. Watch for grazing cattle in this area. Allow plenty of extra time for your drive!
This is the longest route and is well suited for high-profile vehicles and towed vehicles.
From Bakersfield take Hwy 58 east toward Tehachapi and California City, turn left on Highway 178 and drive to Lake Isabella. Turn right on to Highway 155 toward Wofford Heights and then Kernville. See complete route on Google Maps.
Ready to go camping on the Kern River?
Then let’s go! At Kern River’s Edge, you’ll find spacious campsites, concierge firewood, ice deliveries, and the best cooling off spots on the Kern River. With over 40 camping sites to choose from and easy access to all types of activities — including fishing —, there’s something for everyone at the River’s Edge campsite.