BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Bakersfield is not exactly known for its beautiful scenery or bountiful nature. If anything, it is referred to as the barren land in between major cities.
While Bakersfield does not have the forests of the Pacific Northwest found in Oregon or Vancouver, there is still plenty of nature to behold right at home.
Keep reading for the best running, biking and walking trails in Kern County.
The Bakersfield Bluffs
Overlooking the oil fields synonymous with Kern County, the Bluffs offers a scenic route surrounded by nature and wildlife. A moderately challenging trail, according to AllTrails, the 3.2-mile walk usually takes one hour and 15 minutes to complete. It is a great place to walk, run or bike. You can even bring your dog for their daily exercise.
“It’s a perfect combination of peace and not being too crowded. I enjoy it a lot,” AllTrails user Eric Minkes wrote.
If you’re looking for something a little longer, Hart Park is a great option. The 6.5-mile hike takes approximately three hours to complete and has an array of trails to follow. It is recommended to those looking to hike, mountain bike or dart through the trails on a motorized vehicle. Dogs are also welcome here but must be on a leash at all times.
“Excellent hike or hill climbing workout with amazing scenic vistas from any vantage point. A Kern County outdoor activities gem,” Joel Lopez wrote on AllTrails.
Kern River Parkway Trail
This trail makes it possible to explore Bakersfield in its entirety. It stretches 30 miles along the Kern River from Lake Ming Road to Enos Lane on State Route 43. Technically a bike trail, it is still open to those looking to walk or run it. The trail will take you from rural parts of the city to more urban locations. It is a great place to see wildlife such as birds, roadrunners, coyotes, hawks and rabbits.
“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,” a user wrote on TrailLink.
Wind Wolves Preserve
The largest nonprofit nature preserve on the West Coast, Wind Wolves Preserve is a whopping 93,000 acres. Now, you won’t be able to walk all of it. The public access area, which includes all trails, is located in and around San Emigdio Canyon. It covers a distance of 9-10 miles, according to Education Manager Ann Wempe. Springtime is the perfect time to visit to witness all of the colorful flowers, such as mule-ears, poppies, lupine, goldfields and blue-eyed grass, blossom on the Wildflower Loop Trail, according to the Visit California site. The most commonly spotted wildflowers include fiddleneck, blue dick, lupine, and owl’s clover, according to Wempe.
Those hoping to encounter wildlife in their natural habitat will want to walk the True Elk or San Emigdio Canyon Trail. Approximately one mile into the 4.6-mile True Elk Trail, you will catch a glimpse of the preserve’s herd of more than 200 Elk, according to visit California. The San Emigdio Canyon Trail is a great route for spotting wildlife, such as coyotes, mule deer, and roadrunners. It is unlikely, but you might spot bobcats, black bears, and the endangered San Joaquin kit fox on your journey across the trail, according to Wempe.
will lead hikers to a watering hole for wildlife, which includes kit foxes, bobcats, coyotes, deer and even occasional black bears.
“Wind Wolves Preserve is one of Kern County’s best kept secrets!! It is a fun place to go for exercise and see some of Mother Nature’s beauty at the same time. Plenty of hiking trails for everyone ranging from easy to moderate,” a Tripadvisor user wrote.
This is an all-day trail that takes approximately seven and a half hours to complete, according to AllTrails. The trail is described as an out-and-back trail that stretches 16.1 miles near Frazier Park. It is moderately challenging and is popular among hikers, backpackers and campers. The 3,000 feet elevation makes it the perfect way to escape the heat and enjoy cooler temperatures.
“Love this trail, it’s so calm and usually pretty green. In the beginning of the year it usually keeps a bit of snow on the mountain sides. Great hike for beginners and dog friendly. My husband and I needed a little more of a challenge so we just kept walking to the next mountain top. So if you’re looking for more, there’s definietly plenty of room for that,” Alejandra Durand wrote on AllTrails.
TMTA Lehigh Trail Loop
Considered moderate-level, this 10.7-mile loop trail takes about four and a half hours to complete, according to AllTrails. Admission to the trail is $5 or $35 for a yearly membership. The fees go toward yearly insurance, general trail building and other operating costs, according to its website. Be advised of gusty winds and wildlife such as cattle and snakes.
“Trails are great and provide several options to the hike. The wind was a bit gusty, but manageable,” Matthew Kabel wrote on AllTrails.