Lake Isabella is a beautiful lake just an hour East of Bakersfield.
Tucked away in between mountains and small western-style towns, Lake Isabella is a popular summer vacation spot especially for those who love outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and river rafting.
But there are plenty of things to see and do around Lake Isabella all year long.
Incredible scenery, adorable mom and pop shops, charming Airbnb’s and fun local breweries make Lake Isabella an attractive weekend getaway no matter the time of the year.
Here are 7 wonderful things to do at Lake Isabella all year long:
- Go On A Hike
- Roam Through Silver City Ghost Town
- Grab A Beer At Kern River Brewery
- Get Cozy At An Airbnb
- Relax At A Hot Springs
- Grab Dinner At Pizza Barn
- Enjoy A Scenic Drive Through Kern River Canyon
Go On A Hike
Lake Isabella is located in a mountain region and has a few hikes that visitors can do in the area.
Whiskey Flat Trail is one of the easiest and most accessible trails around Lake Isabella and gets quite a few hikers especially in the summer.
We were visiting Lake Isabella in the winter and we had our 4-month-old puppy with us so we couldn’t go on any of the longer day hikes. Instead, we spent a couple of hours hiking and exploring around the lake itself.
We noticed a few access points that led down to Lake Isabella as we drove around it.
We were staying in Wofford Heights and we could also access the lakefront from Freear Park just down the street from our Airbnb rental.
There were multiple trails around Freear Park going in all directions so we just walked down one of them until we reached the lake.
It was our puppy’s first time going to a lake and he had a blast running through the water and swimming. Even after a snowstorm in the winter, the weather at Lake Isabella wasn’t too cold unlike some other mountain towns that get completely snowed in.
Trail Location: Freear Park, Wofford Heights, CA 93285
Roam Through Silver City Ghost Town
After exploring the lake itself, we ventured down to Silver City Ghost Town – one of the most popular attractions around.
Silver City Ghost Town is an open-air museum featuring historic buildings from the Gold Rush times.
All of the structures showcased in this museum come from the nearby mining towns and are at least 100 years old.
Silver City Ghost Town is a fun quick attraction to visit alongside outdoor activities in this region.
It only takes about 30-45 minutes to roam through the Silver City Ghost Town museum, explore the different buildings featured here and read more about their history.
Entrance Fee: $5.50 per person
Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Grab A Beer At Kern River Brewery
Kern River Brewing Company’s reputation precedes it. I had heard of this brewery and had seen their craft beers sold all over Bakersfield long before traveling to Lake Isabella.
For some people going to Kern River Brewery is like a destination of its own.
If you like craft beers in a beautiful mountain setting, Kern River Brewing Company is a MUST. Located in the small town of Kernville this brewpub attracts local and out of town crowds alike, especially on the weekends.
After a long day of hiking and exploring outdoors, nothing sounds better than sitting on a sunny patio with a crisp IPA in your hand – and Kern River Brewing Company is just that place.
Kern River Brewing Company offers a great selection of beers. If you want to try a few different ones, you can order the beer sampler for $10 that comes with a few of their classic beers like Isabella Blonde, Sequoia Red, Just Outstanding IPA, and Class V Stout.
Kern River Brewing Company is open late, serves delicious comfort food and on Friday nights you can even enjoy live music performances.
Location: 13415 Sierra Way, Kernville, CA 93238
Hours: 11:00 am to around 9:00 pm
Get Cozy At An Airbnb
Lake Isabella is a popular camping area and outdoor enthusiasts can find a ton of campground options all around the lake. But we traveled to Lake Isabella in the winter so the weather was a bit too chilly for camping outdoors.
Instead, we booked a cozy cabin through Airbnb and we were super happy about that choice. After a full day “out and about” we could return to our cabin and enjoy hanging out comfortably on the couch wrapped up in cozy blankets.
We stayed at the highly-rated Lakeview Terrace Studio in Wofford Heights that had the most amazing view of Lake Isabella right from the living room.
This cabin style studio was modern, clean and fully stocked with everything we needed for a quick getaway. Within a few minute’s drive we could reach the nearby restaurants, grocery stores, and the main highway.
Our Airbnb rental was right next to Lake Isabella bordering Sequoia National Forest so there were lots of walking paths available all around it.
Relax At A Hot Springs
Before traveling to Lake Isabella, I had no idea that there were two beautiful hot springs in the area – Remington Hot Springs and Miracle Hot Springs.
After some Google research, I found these two hot springs listed on the map so we decided to stop by and check them out on a Sunday afternoon before heading back home to Bakersfield.
To our surprise, both of these hot springs were busy with locals when we arrived.
Located an hour East of Bakersfield, many people travel out here for the day just to soak at these beautiful hot springs.
The Remington and Miracle Hot Springs are located next to the Kern River tucked away between trees and giant boulders. Their scenic location is what makes them so popular within the local community.
If you’re worried about needing a 4WD to get there note that the road leading to these hot springs is wide and well-taken care of so even our little Hyundai Elantra made it out there without any issues. Plus there are designated dirt parking lots where you can leave your car.
Both Remington and Miracle Hot Springs are located within a couple of miles from each other. We tried to go to Miracle Hot Springs at first but they were quite full already so we drove a few extra miles down the road and hiked to Remington Hot Springs instead. Remington Hot Springs is a bit more challenging to get to so most people prefer to go to Miracle Hot Springs instead.
After parking and hiking for about 15 minutes, we reached Remington Hot Springs. This area had a few different pools for visitors to soak in – a coupe natural ones made of big rocks and a couple of man-made ones.
Even though Remington Hot Springs requires a bit of a hike to reach it, there were quite a few people there already as well. If you choose to visit either of these hot springs on the weekend, try to go early (before noon) and you might just find the place to yourself.
Miracle Hot Springs Location: Next to Hobo Campground, Kern Canyon Rd, Caliente, CA 93518
Remington Hot Springs Location: 2 miles up from Hobo Campground, Kern Canyon Rd, Caliente, CA 93518
Grab Dinner At Pizza Barn
If you’re looking for a quick bite to grab around Lake Isabella, Pizza Barn is a highly rated restaurant in Kernville that is popular amongst locals and out of town travelers alike.
Lake Isabella is surrounded by a few small Gold Rush towns so the food choices here are pretty limited. Pizza Barn is open late and it’s the perfect spot if you want to grab something that’s quick and cheap.
Our favorite dish here was the wings appetizer that cost only $5.95 (a bargain!) and came cooked to crispy perfection. With most plates going for around $10 per person, Pizza Barn is one of the best deals in the area.
Location: 11401 Kernville Rd, Kernville, CA 93238
Sunday to Thursday – 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday & Saturday – 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Enjoy A Scenic Drive Through Kern River Canyon
In order to get to Lake Isabella from Bakersfield, we had to drive for an hour on the scenic Kern River Canyon road. This road is about 13 miles long and passes beautiful views along the way.
Along the Kern River Canyon road, there are few campgrounds and spots to pull over and enjoy the scenery.
The Kern River Canyon Road starts just outside of Bakersfield and as soon as you enter it, immediately you feel submerged into nature.
Passing in between a towering canyon and the Kern River, you are bound to see jaw-dropping views along every windy corner. But this road is pretty curvy with lots of blind spots so use extra caution when driving on it.
Location: Highway 178
Located just an hour outside of Bakersfield, Lake Isabella is an incredible vacation spot, especially for Central California locals.
Whether you enjoy outdoor activities, relaxing at a cabin or grabbing a beer at a local brewery – there’s something to do for everyone!