Hart Memorial Park is a scenic park just outside of Bakersfield that features a lake, mountains and beautiful landscape. This area can be used for hiking, biking, dirt biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
Hart Park offers a lot of hiking trails and we love to come here when we feel like going on longer, more challenging day hikes.
Location & Parking
Hart Memorial Park is located about 20 minutes East of downtown Bakersfield.
Although it is a bit of a drive to get there, Hart Memorial Park is one of the biggest hiking areas near Bakersfield so many people come here to enjoy nature especially on the weekends.
There are several designated parking lots for Hart Park visitors and hikers.
We usually park at the dirt lot on Alfred Harrell Hwy and Mirror Drive Road. Most of the Hart Park hiking trails start by Mirror Drive and from there climb into the mountains south of Hart Park.
Address: Hart Park, Bakersfield, CA 93308
Hours: 5:00 am to 10:00 pm
Hiking Trails At Hart Park
Unlike other parks that have designated hiking trails, Hart Park consists of a system of trails that span in many different directions.
Some trails are only 2 miles long and others extend up to 7+ miles in length. Hart Park has over 370 acres of land so your hiking options here are endless.
Most of the trails start at the bottom of Hart Park and climb to the top of the nearby cliffs offering beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding area. Some of the trails can be pretty steep and slippery so make sure to wear slip-resistant hiking shoes.
Hart Park is a multi-use recreational area so the trails here can be used for hiking, mountain biking, and even dirt biking.
But because of this hikers always need to be on the lookout for bikes and give the right of way.
This can make hiking here a bit difficult especially when Hart Park gets crowded on the weekends. If we can, we try to come here on weekdays when trails are more empty.
Hart Memorial Park is dog friendly so we love to bring our pup here to get his energy out but it’s best to keep your pup leashed at all times. If you’re looking for a great off-leash area in Bakersfield to let your pup run around, check out our post on Panorama Vista Nature Preserve.
Note that there are almost no trees along the Hart Park hiking trails and it’s very exposed to the sun. Make sure to bring plenty of water for yourself and your four-legged friend, especially during those scorching Bakersfield summers.
Our Hiking Experience
Hart Park hiking trails start south of Alfred Harrell Hwy. There is a big parking lot with lots of space where we usually leave our car.
If you’re coming in from the West Entrance (driving from Bakersfield), this parking lot will be on your right-hand side shortly after entering the park. You should see plenty of other cars parked here so just keep an eye out for this lot.
From here the trails at Hart Park web off in many different directions. There is no one “right” path to take and you can hike in any direction that looks interesting to you.
My favorite route is a 2.5 mile-long loop that goes up to the top of a cliff with stunning panoramic views of the Hart Park landscape all around it. In this post, I will be covering this hiking option.
After parking, we usually hike straight on the wide path that starts right next to the parking lot and leads into the mountains. This path looks like a road but eventually, it narrows into a smaller trail.
Keep going on the path and it will start gradually climbing up through canyon switchbacks.
This section is my least favorite part of the trail especially on the weekends because there are a lot of blind corners and you have to keep a lookout for mountain and dirt bikes that can come around the corner unexpectedly.
Once you get through the canyon the trail opens up again and splits off in several different directions. Just keep going straight on the path that leads through rolling hills.
There is a little bit of a climb on this section as you near the top of the hill but it’s not overly tiring.
We made sure to take plenty of stops and drink lots of water as it was starting to get hot.
This trail ends at a cliff that opens up to jaw-dropping panoramic views. This is my favorite view at Hart Park as you can see the landscape for miles and miles ahead of you.
This section has very beautiful hills and quite the steep drop-offs.
We could see people riding mountain bikes and hiking down these cliffs in the distance but this trail looked a bit too narrow for us.
Instead, we chose to loop around and return on a more gradual path back down.
To get back to the starting point we followed a track along the top with a fence on the left and a sloped hill on the right.
We could see Hart Park Lake on the bottom and mountain range in the distance.
Bakersfield itself doesn’t have many hiking trails and this is by far one of the most scenic trails in the area.
As we neared the parking lot we realized that we were still pretty high up on the cliff and the only way down was through a small path carved in the hillside.
This section was the steepest and sketchiest part of the entire hike but totally doable especially if you have good hiking shoes. Just make sure to take your time and watch your step.
After climbing down the cliff the trail ended right where we started. We finished up the loop and walked back to our car.
If you need to use the restroom or throw away any trash, there are both available just across the road.
Here are some other great hikes to check out around Bakersfield: