Panorama Vista Preserve is a wonderful outdoor recreational area in the city of Bakersfield.
We love going to this nature preserve because it’s very dog friendly, it offers a couple of different hiking trails and it is located just a few minute’s drive from our home.
Panorama Vista Preserve is our go-to hiking place if we feel like escaping into nature for an hour or two without having to venture too far away from the city.
Panorama Vista Preserve is located in the North-East part of Bakersfield.
This nature preserve is situated near Panorama Park also called “The Bluffs”. But while the Bakersfield Bluffs are located on top of a hill, the Panorama Vista Preserve spans across the bottom of this hill next to the Kern River.
Panorama Vista Preserve is located in the middle of the city but it feels very hidden and not many Bakersfield locals know of its existence. It doesn’t get as much foot traffic as The Bluffs so we love coming here especially on the weekends.
The road coming into the Panorama Vista Preserve is a bit rough and has quite a few potholes but any car can make it out here.
Panorama Vista Preserve has a designated parking lot by the trail entrance where you can leave your car for free.
This parking lot is big and the only time I’ve seen it fill up is during the Panorama Vista Preserve “Field N Dale Fun Run” race in March. Other than that, the lot is usually empty offering plenty of parking spaces.
About Panorama Vista Preserve
Panorama Vista Preserve is a wildlife refuge that also serves as a recreational area.
Panorama Vista Preserve has more than 930 acres of land that can be used for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and other outdoor recreational activities.
This preserve is also used to protect and restore local endangered species like San Joaquin Kit Fox, Bakersfield Cactus and more.
Panorama Vista Preserve includes a couple of miles of hiking trails that are mostly flat and easily accessible.
Since we live in a city it’s sometimes difficult to find places that are dog friendly where we can let our dog off-leash. Panorama Vista Preserve is very dog friendly so we love to bring our pup here on the weekends to let him run around for a couple of hours to get his energy out.
Quick Panorama Vista Preserve Trail Facts
- The trails here are around 1-2 miles long
- This area is free to hike
- It’s dog friendly (off-leash is ok with voice command)
- The trails are very exposed with little shade so bring lots of water
- There are some benches for resting
- There is one bathroom halfway through
My Hiking Experience
Panorama Vista Preserve hiking trails start next to the designated parking lot.
There are multiple ways that hikers can go. The main path follows along a paved road but there are some side trails that you can take as well.
I usually start off to the left through dirt trails and eventually loop around and return along the Kern River.
After parking, you’ll notice some information plaques going into detail about the purpose and goals of the Panorama Vista Nature Preserve.
From there you can keep going straight along the paved road or turn left onto a side trail that used to be called “Martin Street”.
This road is not used anymore and now looks like an overgrown trail. I usually turn left into this trail to get away from any cars passing through on the main road.
From there I hike on this path that goes along bushes and tall grasses.
It’s not the prettiest trail that I’ve ever seen especially with the factories and oil rigs pumping in the background. But the organization that owns Panorama Vista Preserve is working really hard to recover these lands and bring them back to their original state.
As you continue on you’ll start seeing ranches and horse stables on the left. The trail will lead through an open gate into a narrow overgrown section that is often used for horseback riding.
At the end of this section, there is a public restroom with a basic toilet. But this bathroom doesn’t have running water so it’s a good idea to bring some sanitizing wipes with you.
I was actually surprised to find a restroom on the Panorama Vista Preserve trail because the hike itself is quite short.
From there the trail opens up again and passes a restoration field with Bakersfield Cactus.
Bakersfield Cactus is very beautiful and blooms with pink flowers but unfortunately, it is endangered. This field is one of the few places where it was replanted in hopes to preserve it from extinction.
At this point, it was getting pretty hot so we cut over to the main path and started heading back.
The main road leads along the Kern River and other restoration fields.
At first, I thought that we were hiking along farming fields but it turns out this whole area consists of thousands of young trees and shrubs that were planted for restoration purposes.
Along the main path, I noticed a little opening that leads down to the Kern River. My pup was panting from the heat so I brought him down to the river to cool off.
In Gold Rush times, the area by Panorama Vista Preserve was part of a popular travel route for gold miners. This area had a boat called Gordon’s Ferry that would bring people across the Kern River.
Although once the Kern River was very powerful and swift, now the water levels are low especially in the winter. We even saw a few horseback riders crossing the river on their horses.
From there we spotted a small side trail that we took all the way back to the parking lot.
All together I usually spend around 1-2 hours at the Panorama Vista Preserve hiking through the various trails available here.
Pet Hiking Tips
- This area is very hot and exposed to the sun so bring lots of water. I usually bring 2 bottles of water and a collapsible bowl for my dog.
- You can let your dog off-leash if they respond to voice command. I also bring along a long training leash to use when my dog starts to wander off.
- Please pick up after your dog. Although there is a lot of horse manure along these trails we are still responsible for picking up after our pets.
Here are a few other great things to do near Bakersfield: