5 Places to Explore Nature in Bakersfield, CA

When you envision living in a place with a beautiful outdoor lifestyle, California is likely what you picture in your mind. Spending time outside year-round isn’t easy when you live in an area with cold weather and snow. Luckily, Bakersfield has a year-round climate that makes it a fantastic locale for outdoor lovers.

Living an outdoor lifestyle is beneficial for everyone, no matter the age. Spending time outside helps us work off our foodie obsessions as well as enjoying the area of the place we call home. Bakersfield is located close to Kern River, which gives us several ways to enjoy the outdoors. Locals can spend time in nature by fishing, being on the river, or hiking. Bakersfield features several local parks, bike trails, and multiple little hidden gems throughout the city. Here are five places to explore nature in Bakersfield.

1. Kern Canyon

Bakersfield is located near the Kern Canyon, a beautiful wilderness where locals can go camping, hike, fish, and enjoy the outdoors. The Kern River formed the canyon, and this river connects the Southern San Joaquin Valley.

Surprisingly, many people have never heard of Kern Canyon–and they are indeed missing out. It’s one of many hidden gems in the state of California. Within the canyon area is the Kern River Parkway. The Parkway is a natural preserve that runs the length of the Kern River from the mouth of the Kern Canyon to Interstate 5.

Kern River Parkway has two trails. The north is an equestrian trail, and the south trail is a jogging trail. Plus, there is a bike path. If you want to spend some time outside, Kern Canyon is the place to be in Bakersfield.

2. McMurtey Aquatic Center

If you want to beat the California heat, there is one place to visit that is a must–McMurtey Aquatic Center. Within it is a recreational pool, as well as an Olympic size pool for competitions. Families can enjoy the recreational pool that features water slides, diving boards, a water volleyball area, and floating toys.

If you want to swim the laps, the Olympic sized pool is perfect. Being in California you might be lucky enough to catch a real Olympic athlete training.

3. Lake Ming

A drive to the ocean isn’t always in the cards, but sometimes the water just calls to you. If you feel that way today, a trip to Lake Ming is in order. Lake Ming is a manmade lake that is just west of the Greenhorn Mountains. The mountains and surrounding hills make Lake Ming idyllic and breathtaking.

Most people who visit Lake Ming spend time water-skiing and boating. The lake is full of different fish, from bass to catfish. Head to the lake, pack a picnic, and spend the day fishing and enjoying all the area has to offer.

4. The Park at Riverwalk

Also known as River Walk Park, this lovely public park is 32 acres of heaven, with two lakes connected by a stream. The upper lake is 3 acres, and the lower lake is 2 acres. They are favorite fishing spots for locals. At The Park, you can also find the Kern River Bike Trail.

One of the main attractions at The Park is the amphitheater that features live music and entertainment throughout the year. You can relax in one of the multiple covered picnic areas; bring a picnic to enjoy with your family. The Park is one of the largest in the area, with tons of space for everyone to enjoy.

5. Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area

Located 25 miles southwest of Bakersfield is the man-made Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area, containing two lakes–Lake Webb and Lake Evans. Lake Webb is the larger one, featuring 873 acres for boating, jet-skiing, and fishing, as well as 112 campsites. Lake Evans is 85 acres, and that's where you want to head if sailing and fishing is on your mind. Boating is allowed at no more than 3 MPH.

Living Outdoors in Bakersfield, CA

Spending ample time outside is good for everyone. Living in Bakersfield gives you plenty of opportunities to get outdoors. Whether you want to go boating on Lake Ming, fish at Buena Vista or bike along the Kern River, you’ll find something that you live to do outside that you love.

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