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If you have questions about the content of this publication or about Kern County in general, contact the Kern County Board of Trade at (661) 868-KERN (5376), or stop by our Visitors Center at 2101 Oak Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301.

Auto Touring Drive through Kern County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Local Cuisine Tastes of Kern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Fishing Toss your line into “reel” adventure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Aerial Adventures High-flying excitement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Technology ‘Aerospace Valley’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Off-roading Getting down and dirty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Water Sports Wet and wild fun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Snow Play Grab your mittens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 RV Parks Home away from home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Take the Kids For the young at heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Birding Kern’s fine feathered friends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Memorials Honoring our heroes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Kiosks Cutting edge technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Golf Great golf abounds in Kern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Maps Kern County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Greater Bakersfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Downtown Bakersfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Southwest Kern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Northwest Kern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Kern River Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 Tehachapi Mountains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Indian Wells Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Aerospace Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Wine Country Magic in a bottle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Arts Scene Arts are alive and thriving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Music Bakersfield Sound lives here . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Old West ‘Real’ Old West found in Kern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 Museums A rich cultural history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Transportation Getting you there from here . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68 Oil Tourism Gushing with opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 Racing Speed reigns in Kern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 Calendar Selected events across Kern County . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74 The Official 2011 Kern County Visitors Guide is published by the Kern County Board of Trade and Bakersfield Life magazine. On the Cover: Sunset bounces off a glistening figure at California’s largest bronze sculpture, the Oil Worker Monument in Taft. See story on Page 70. (Photo by Gary Rennie). Photos provided by: Kern County Board of Trade and The Bakersfield Californian. Additional photos provided by: Felix Adamo, Alta Sierra Ski Resort, Bakersfield Museum of Art, Tim Black, Bob Rice, Buck Owens Productions, California Living Museum, California State Parks, Rex Emerson, Gaslight Melodrama Theatre, Insect Lore, Kern River Fly Fishing, Kern County Museum, National Chavez Center, Rankin Ranch, Gary Rennie, Rosemary’s Family Creamery, Shafter Depot Museum, Skydive Taft, Souza Family Vineyard, Tejon Ranch Company, Whitewater Voyages, Willow Springs International Motorsports Park. Maps by: DesignMaps – Anthony McDemas


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I M A G I N AT I O N F L I E S H E R E Welcome to unrestricted dream space. This is where history has been made and the future is always being created. Bring your imagination to these proving grounds, and let your vision take flight.



Flight Test Center

Space Port

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W Welcome to Kern County!

This guide offers a “sampler plate” of what we want to share with you. Please take a moment and enjoy this book tour of our piece of California. Centrally located in the vast San Joaquin Valley, Kern County is a ready compliment to any trip to the Golden State. Kern County takes great pride in its heritage, and nowhere was that pride better exemplified than with the unveiling of the Oil Worker Monument that graces our cover. Dedicated in late 2010, the largest bronze sculpture in California not only pays tribute to the hard-working men and women of the petroleum industry, it is a not-to-be-missed example of world-class art. The region is diverse in its opportunities for recreation. From our fertile valley that feeds America, to the peaceful and majestic mountains, to the vast expansive and unspoiled deserts, Kern County truly has something for everyone. Our Kern River is the fastest-falling river in the western states and home to some of the best rafting and kayaking anywhere. We also possess the largest concentration of ancient petroglyph rock art in the Western Hemisphere. Our natural history is preserved in an assortment of museums, zoos and botanical gardens. Opportunities to explore go on and on. View our one-of-a-kind “Black Gold” interactive oil exhibit at the Kern County Museum, see the evolution of petroleum industry at the West Kern Oil Museum, or venture to East Kern and see renewable energy in action at the Tehachapi Wind Farms. Roam the Aerospace Valley, where private space travel was born. You’ll find prime examples of aviation history at Edwards Air Force Base and the Saxon Aerospace Museum, or you can experience a museum dedicated to Navy armament and technology. If you time it just right, you might get a glimpse of SpaceShipTwo on the runway at the Mojave Space Port. Our musical roots run deep. This is the home of country legends Buck Owens and Merle Haggard as well as the birthplace of the alternative rock trend-setters Korn. Visit Buck’s Crystal Palace for great food and entertainment, take a cruise along Merle Haggard Drive, or drop by Rabobank Arena to see the outdoor stage honoring our hometown rock heroes. From the accredited Bakersfield Museum of Art to the many small and unique galleries spread throughout Kern County, there’s so much for the artistic to enjoy. Then don’t forget to satisfy your appetite at one of our great Basque restaurants. This Visitors Guide is full of information, maps and even recommended driving tours, all designed to help you enjoy your stay and encourage you to come back again. Experience Kern County, where we invite you to choose your own adventure.


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Lake Isabella Kern River KOA

Downtown 1231 18th Street (18th and L Streets) 10:30am - 2:15pm Closed Sundays

Phone: (661) 323-2500

Rosedale 9160 Rosedale Highway (Target Shopping Center) 11:00am - 8:00pm Daily

Phone: (661) 587-1600

Southwest 9500 Ming Avenue (Just West of The Marketplace) 7:00am - 3:00pm Closed Sundays

Phone: (661) 665-9990

See our full menu and order online at 2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M




So much to see and so much ground to cover. Take a look at these suggested routes when arranging your Kern County driving experience. Each trek launches and ends at the county seat of Bakersfield, but the loops can be joined at any point along the route. Driving distances are approximate.

Kern River Canyon


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FORTS AND SPORTS DRIVE 1 Explore history at two wildly different kinds of forts, and mix in the scenery of the forest and the quaint communities that call this area home. This is a great opportunity for outdoor sports like hiking and skiing, and you may see some wildlife along the way. (Driving Distance: 147 miles) Take State Route 99 and Interstate 5 South to Fort Tejon State Historic Park at Lebec (4201 Fort Tejon Road; 661-248-6692), less than an hour’s drive south of Bakersfield. Established in 1854, the fort was headquarters for United States forces in the region. Known as the “First Dragoons,” these troops attempted to use camels, quite unsuccessfully, for desert travel. Now partially restored, the fort hosts monthly Civil War battle re-enactments and living history programs during the summer. (38 miles) Just to the south along I-5 are the mountain communities of Lebec and Frazier Park. This scenic mountain paradise was a meeting ground for such Indian tribes as the Chumash, Kitanemuk and San Emigdio. It was also the scene of frantic gold prospecting more than 100 years ago. A stop at the Ridge Route Communities Museum (3515 Park Drive, Frazier Park; 661-245-7747) is a great way to help you catch up on the region’s story. (4 miles) From here take the halfhour drive up 8,831-foot Mount Pinos. The winding road offers a magnificent view of the Los Padres National Forest. The alpine camp at the summit is a favorite staging area for hiking and birding excursions, and the area is replete with trails for crosscountry skiing. At night the parking area becomes filled with amateur astronomers who benefit from clear, dark skies that are miles from the nearest city lights. Farther west along Mil Potrero Highway, you’ll find Tule Elk State Reserve the private community of Pine Mountain Club. Lush pine forest and subtle creeks run throughout the landscape. Eclectic shops and restaurants throughout the unique village cater to locals and visitors alike. Be on the lookout for familiar faces. Solitude combined with proximity to Hollywood has made this a favorite celebrity getaway. (19 miles) Cerro Norroeste Road dead ends at State Route 33, but this isn’t the end of your trip. A jog to the left takes you to Soda Lake Road and the Carrizo Plain National Monument, where a visitor center (open December-May; 805-475-2131) offers information about natural won-

ders like the San Andreas Fault and Painted Rock. Large portions of the road are unpaved, so appropriate transportation is a must. Turn right and you drop back toward the Central Valley. A historical marker between Maricopa and Taft denotes the site of the renowned Lakeview Gusher, one of the West’s richest oil strikes. (34 miles) Continue north on State Route 33 to Taft, where you can visit the West Kern Oil Museum (1168 Wood Street; 661-765-6664). This museum replicates an early oil camp complete with vintage equipment and vehicles. Unveiled in 2010 was the massive Oil Worker Monument (Supply Row and Sixth Street). The largest bronze statue in California pays tribute to the labor that built the industry. The Historic Fort (915 N. 10th Street; 661-765-7371) is an adobe replica of Sutter’s Fort constructed as a WPA project. (8 miles) Heading back toward Bakersfield on State Route 119, bear left on Tupman Road en route to the Tule Elk State Reserve (8653 Station Road, Buttonwillow; 661-764-6881). Dedicated in 1932, the 950-acre reserve protects a herd of rare tule elk, once in danger of extinction. The park (open Friday-Sunday from 9am to sunset) includes interpretive exhibits, along with picnic sites and an observation platform from which you can view the lovable animals. (17 miles)

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Kern River Canyon

Take a look at Kern’s unique natural treasures. Visit a native zoo and botanical garden; marvel at the power of whitewater rapids as you follow the Kern River through narrow canyons to Isabella Lake and the massive Sequoias. (Driving Distance: 149 miles) Start your trip at the California Living Museum (10500 Alfred Harrell Highway; 661-872-2256), located in northeast Bakersfield. Here you’ll find Kern’s original residents throwing out the welcome mat. The zoo and botanical garden is focused on indigenous wildlife. From here, State Route 178 starts its intimate, at times awesome, acquaintance with the river’s steep-walled canyon. The wild and scenic California Living River, host to a numKern Museum ber of international whitewater kayaking competitions, froths and tumbles along this rocky course. This area is popular for fishing and picnicking, but be careful. All rafters and thrill seekers are reminded to wear a life jacket and please don’t brave the river without a licensed and experienced whitewater outfitter. Within 30 minutes or so, you’ll find yourself at Isabella Lake. Boats for fishing or lake exploration may be rented along the shore. (42 miles) Now you’ve got choices to make. State Route 178 continues east, taking you to the flora and fauna of Weldon and the Audubon Kern River Preserve (760-3782531), located at 18747 State Route 178 (15 miles), or…



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Head north along State Route 155 and you’ll find the entrance to historic Keyesville, the first community resulting from the Kern River gold strike. Or continue farther north to Kernville at the northern tip of the lake where museums, campgrounds and a fish hatchery await. This is also the launching point for tours of the Trail of 100 Giants, the southernmost grove of mighty Giant Sequoias. (13 miles) Several whitewater rafting companies are headquartered here for those interested in a trip down the river. The Kern River is beautiful but it richly deserves its “wild and scenic” designation. The stunning whitewater that attracts Olympic athletes can be treacherous. Whether on a guided trip or enjoying the river with friends and family, never venture into the water without a life jacket or other flotation device. Westbound on State Route 155, the community of Glennville (24 miles) offers a batch of side trips to ranch resorts, mines, historic monuments and mountain lairs. At Woody, the road divides to provide yet another choice of routes. The shorter way leads south through the former Butterfield Stagecoach stop of Granite Station and on through oil fields to Bakersfield via Oildale, or continue down State Route 155 to Delano. (37 miles) Located in the midst of a San Joaquin Valley vineyard region, Delano sits astride the main valley artery of State Route 99. Take time to visit Delano Heritage Park (330 Lexington Street; 661-725-6730), home to a city museum with historic buildings dating back to 1876. East of Delano is Lake Woollomes, where you might rent a boat to float or enjoy a picnic lunch. You can also extend your excursion with side trips to see Shafter’s Minter Field Air Museum (401 Vultee Avenue; 661-393-0291) and Shafter Depot Museum (150 Central Valley Highway; 661-7464423). Head on to Wasco, the Rose Growing Capital of America, for a tour of the impressive grounds at Weeks Roses (30135 McCombs Road; 661-758-5821). Wasco is also famous for its annual rose festival, held the first weekend after Labor Day.


National Chavez Center

DRIVE 3 Take a trip through two major mountain ranges with a stop in the high desert in between. Your tour includes natural beauty, aerospace, big cats and a railroading marvel. (Driving Distance: 180 miles) Take State Route 58 east out of Bakersfield, heading through the rolling hills and orchards. On your way out, don’t miss Murray Family Farms (6700 General Beale Road; 661-330-0100). Kern County’s major agricultural attraction offers fresh and you-pick produce, educational and group tours, a petting zoo, a hay wagon and picnic grounds. (31 miles) Exit at Keene. Welcome to the home of the National Chavez Center (29700 Woodford-Tehachapi Road; 661-823-6134). This 187-acre museum, memorial garden and conference center preserves the legacy of Cesar Chavez, who led the fight for the rights of farm workers and founded the United Farm Workers of America. Continue east on Tehachapi Road to a railroad engineering marvel. When seen from the historical marker at roadside, the rails of the Tehachapi Loop seem to be making two circles, winding around them-

selves like a snake. Longer freight trains cross 77 feet over the cars still worming into the tunnel below. Continue east on State Route 58 to State Route 202. A right turn takes you to the burgeoning Tehachapi Valley wine country, but our tour heads left into the city of Tehachapi. With a name variously attributed to the Indian word for “windy place” and for “plenty of acorns and good water,” wind farms and tasty apples have helped establish the community’s reputation. (11 miles) At an elevation of about 4,000 feet, the valley is famous for its apples. Old Town Tehachapi is an attraction unto itself, and the community is also famous for its many public murals. The eastern portion of Tehachapi Boulevard evokes a Route 66 feel and has been featured in television commercials. Return to State Route 58 and travel east through the Tehachapi Pass, where the landscape has gone “green” in more than one respect. Hill-

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Tehachapi Pass

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Continued from page 11 sides are covered with an expansive array of windmill-like turbines that capture the energy of prevailing breezes, providing one of America’s more impressive renewable energy resources. At the intersection of State Routes 14 and 58 lies Mojave, a former railroad town that is now the hub of private aerospace development. Mojave Air and Space Port (1434 Flightline Street; 661-824-2433) is the nation’s first FAA-licensed inland spaceport. This was the launch site of SpaceShipOne, which completed the first private suborbital space flight in 2004, and it’s also here that SpaceShipTwo (unveiled in 2009) undergoes testing as the curtain rises on commercial space tourism. Legacy Park, on the spaceport grounds, features memorabilia on display including a SpaceShipOne replica and the original Rotary Rocket roton – one of the first reusable space vehicles. (21 miles) South on State Route 14 you’ll find the town of Rosamond and the famed Willow Springs International Raceway (3500 75th Street West; 661-256-6666), a nine-track complex known the world over. Rosamond is the staging area for tours of the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards Air Force Base (405 S. Rosamond Boulevard; 661-277-8050) but remember, public tours must be booked in

advance. Rosamond is also home to the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound (3718 60th Street West; 661-256-3793), where more than 70 big cats are on display. (14 miles) Drop farther south along State Route 14 toward Lancaster, then take State Route 138 west to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve (15101 Lancaster Road; 661-942-0662). This 1,745-acre state reserve is located on California’s most consistent poppy-bearing land. Seven miles of trails, including a paved section for wheelchair access, wind gently through the wildflower fields. (24 miles) Back on the road, continue west to Interstate 5 then turn north. Along the way visit the Fort Tejon State Historic Park at Lebec (4201 Fort Tejon Road; 661-248-6692). Established in 1854, the fort was headquarters for United States Army’s “First Dragoons,” troops that sought to use camels for desert travel. Now partially restored, the fort was also the point of arrival for the Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach in 1858, then making its first run to San Francisco. In the summer, you may be fortunate enough to view a Civil War battle re-enactment – held monthly. (41 miles) Take northbound Interstate 5 to State Route 99 north and head back to Bakersfield.

SECRETS OF THE DESERT DRIVE 4 Our most ambitious tour is a jaunt into the upper Mojave Desert. This trek includes relics from Kern’s early mining days, advancements in high-tech aviation, and a glance at our cultural history. Consider breaking your trip into multiple sections for even more enjoyment. (Driving Distance: 301 miles) Take State Route 58 east out of Bakersfield, heading through the rolling hills and orchards. On your way out, don’t miss Murray Family Farms (6700 General Beale Road; 661-330-0100). Kern County’s major agricultural attraction offers fresh and you-pick produce, educational and group tours, a petting zoo, a hay wagon and picnic grounds. Exit at Keene. Welcome to the home of the National Chavez Center (29700 Woodford-Tehachapi Road; 661-823-6134). This 187-acre museum, memorial garden and conference center preserves the legacy of Cesar Chavez, who led the fight for the rights of farm workers and founded the United Farm Workers of America. (31 miles) Continue east on Tehachapi Road to a railroad engineering marvel. When seen from the historical marker at roadside, the rails of the Tehachapi Loop seem to be making two circles, winding around themselves like a snake. It’s here where you’ll see longer freight trains cross 77 feet over the cars still worming into the tunnel below. Continue east on State Route 58 to State Route 202. A right turn takes you to the burgeoning Tehachapi Valley wine country, but our tour heads left into the city of Tehachapi. With a name variously attributed to the Indian word for “windy place” and for “plenty of acorns and good water,” wind farms and tasty apples have helped establish the community’s reputation. (11 miles)


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At an elevation of about 4,000 feet, the valley is famous for its apples. Old Town Tehachapi is an attraction unto itself, and the community is also famous for its many public murals. The eastern portion of Tehachapi Boulevard evokes a Route 66 feel and has been featured in television commercials. Return to State Route 58 and travel east through the Tehachapi Pass, where the landscape has gone “green” in more than one respect. Hillsides are covered with an impressive array of windmill-like turbines that capture the energy of prevailing breezes, providing one of America’s more impressive renewable energy resources. At the intersection of State Routes 14 and 58 lies Mojave, a former railroad town that is now the hub of private aerospace development. Mojave Air and Space Port (1434 Flightline Street; 661-824-2433) is the nation’s first FAA-licensed inland spaceport. This was the launch

Tehachapi Loop

site of SpaceShipOne, which completed the first private suborbital space flight in 2004, and it’s also here that SpaceShipTwo (unveiled in 2009) undergoes testing as the curtain rises on commercial space tourism. Legacy Park, on the spaceport grounds, features memorabilia on display including a SpaceShipOne replica and the original Rotary Rocket roton – one of the first reusable space vehicles. (21 miles) Drive east along State Route 58 to Boron, where the Rio Tinto Visitor Center (14486 Borax Road; 760-762-7588) sits dramatically on the lip of California’s largest open-pit mine, half a mile long and deeper than a 40-story building. Then visit the twin Twenty Mule Team and Col. Vernon P. Saxon Jr. Aerospace museums (26962 Twenty Mule Team Road; 760-762-5810) for a trip through time. Twenty Mule Team Museum contains memorabilia from the town’s early mining days. Col. Vernon P. Saxon Aerospace Museum commemorates the accomplishments of Kern County’s “Aerospace Valley.” (31 miles) Back on State Route 58, drive east to U.S Highway 395 then turn left (north) to the living ghost town of Randsburg. Even from a distance, it looks more like a movie set than a town. Houses and stores are perched on the rocky slope, shouldered tightly on three sides by mine workings. Randsburg was a roaring town when the Yellow Aster Mine was pouring out gold. (36 miles) It’s north again via Highway 395 to Ridgecrest, the largest city in East Kern and home to the United States Naval Museum of Armament & Technology (1 Pearl Harbor Way; 760-939-3530), the world’s largest armament museum. Here you’ll also find the Maturango Museum (100 E. Las Flores Avenue; 760-375-6900), with exhibits, events and seasonal tours featuring the natural and cultural history of the Indian Wells Valley. (21 miles) If you’re a movie buff, take the 45-minute side trip east via State Route 178 to the Trona Pinnacles, mammoth tufa spires resting on what was once ocean floor. If they look familiar, think Land of the Lost, Planet of the Apes, or Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The area is a favorite with Hollywood. The trek requires some travel on a maintained dirt road. It’s passable under most conditions, but high-clearance vehicles are recommended.


Our tour heads west on State Route 178, then south on State Route 14 to Red Rock Canyon State Park. These scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations were forged where the rugged Sierra Nevada meets the El Paso Range. Undeveloped Ricardo Campground includes a visitors center, which is open Friday-Sunday (hours vary). You may be fortunate enough to catch a morning nature hike or an evening campfire program. (36 miles) South of the park is Jawbone Station (28111 Jawbone Canyon Road, Cantil; 760-373-1146), which guards the entrance to the Jawbone Canyon OHV area. This may seem like an out of the way place for a book store and wildlife mini-museum, but it’s a popular spot with travelers. Profits raised here help to maintain the canyon’s trails. (6 miles) Continue south again on State Route 14 to California City Boulevard, then head east. The Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area is 40 square miles of prime natural habitat set aside for the official state reptile. An interpretive center with access to self-guiding trails is located four miles northeast of California City along unpaved RandsburgMojave Road at 140th Street. (31 miles) Backtrack along California City Boulevard to State Route 14. Then it’s south to State Route 58 and west to Bakersfield, completing the loop.

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Lengthwise Brewing Company

Tastes of Kern


Kern County boasts experiences that are both pleasing to the palate and satisfying for any tourist curious about the stories behind the tastes of Kern.


Lunch at Luigi’s


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Kern County is home to three microbreweries, all featuring signature brews with production on site. Lengthwise Brewing Company (6720 Schirra Court; 661-836ALES) has called Bakersfield home since 1998 when childhood friends Darin Schwicker and Jeff Williams turned their passion into product. Original microbrews include the signature Centennial Ale, traditional pale ale with an intense maltiness balanced with a spicy hop flavor. Centennial Ale won the Silver Medal for the English-Style India Pale Ale category in the World Beer Cup. Lengthwise also serves root beer and cream sodas made from scratch alongside a diversified menu headed by beer-soaked fish and chips, chicken strips, and other culinary offerings. Because each brew is part of a handcrafted process, Lengthwise does not have a formal tour schedule. Tours are offered by appointment.

Kernville’s Kern River Brewing Company (13415 Sierra Way; 760376-BEER) is co-owned by 2004 Olympic kayaking silver medalist Rebecca Giddens. Opened in 2006, the brewing company has become popular with locals and visitors alike. A signature brew is Class V Stout, named for the challenging river rapids that make the area famous. Class V is the most difficult whitewater, and this beverage is not for the timid. Just Outstanding India Pale Ale, known for its floral aroma and citrus finish, takes its name from a local mountain bike trail and stands out on a menu that boasts other local namesake brews like Isabella Blonde and Sequoia Red. Also known for high-end burgers on multi-grain bread, homemade chili and a tasty root beer, KRBC attracts visitors interested in a good brew or meal in a place that defies the typical restaurant/bar label. Customers can read about the brewing process and then watch it happen in a low-key atmosphere that encourages customers to just “hang out.” Tours of the brewing process are available as space allows. To secure a tour, be sure to call ahead. Indian Wells Brewing Company (2565 N. State Route 14; 760377-5989) is just 20 minutes east of Ridgecrest and has brewed with natural artesian spring water since 1995. The nearby Indian Wells Spring helps shape the multiple beers and sodas made here. Founder Rick Lovett’s signature brew is Mojave Red, a smooth, rich red lager made with a combination of five different malts, Yakima Valley hops and Indian Wells Spring water. An easy stop between Los Angeles and Mammoth, the brewery offers a 2,000-square-foot gift shop and tasting room. IWBC keeps a keen focus on local production, using local honey for its beers. Here you can also find locally-made soaps, lotions and hot sauces. Tours are offered, but large groups are asked to book in advance.

Don’t forget to ask about special tour and dinner packages.

A NOT-SO-LIGHT LUNCH Bring a big appetite to Luigi’s, where the best of Italy gets a downhome makeover. Founded in 1910, this lunch-only local favorite is one of Bakersfield’s oldest family-operated businesses. Still in its original location at 725 E. 19th Street (661-322-0826), Luigi’s is where you’ll find the famous Luigi Sandwich: two kinds of salami, three cheeses, lettuce, onion, mustard and Luigi’s famous (and secret) sandwich sauce. Another treat is pasta bolognese with Luigi’s special meat sauce, a light and tangy concoction made fresh daily from a century-old family recipe. Paired with spaghetti in a light garlic sauce, the “red & white” plate is a local favorite. Luigi’s is also famous for its memorabilia. The walls are covered with photos of local athletes and visiting celebrities spanning more than seven decades. Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick, Indy 500 winner Rick Mears, and Presidents Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy are among those immortalized here. If you consider mealtime to be a challenge, your appetite may have just met its match. Sequoia Sandwich Company has become a Bakersfield institution since its downtown opening in 1999. Entrepreneurs Gary Blackburn and Jeff Simpson saw the need for a high-quality premium deli. Their concept of hand-crafted sandwiches made quickly in an upscale environment worked, prompting expansion to three Bakersfield locations: downtown (1231 18th Street, 661-3232500), northwest (9160 Rosedale Highway, 661-587-1600) and southwest (9500 Ming Avenue, 661-665-9990).

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637 San Emidio Way Frazier Park, California across from the bank (661)245-3320

Rosemary’s Family Creamery

Only 3.5 miles from the 5 freeway! Continued from page 15 The claim to fame is the namesake Sequoia Sandwich, featuring oven-roasted turkey breast, creamy coleslaw, Swiss cheese and tomatoes on an onion roll. Homemade cookies provide the perfect ending. Baked from scratch using real butter, the cookies are generating their own fame for the generous size and delectable goodness.

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM… Two family creameries have made Bakersfield home. Both churn out treats everyone can enjoy, with or without a warm Kern County summer day. Dewar’s Family Candy and Ice Cream Parlor is a local institution with an international reputation. Dewar’s world famous candy chews (available in multiple flavors) can be shipped worldwide. The recipes and quality, both traditions since the business was founded in 1909, are utilized to produce the exact same product today. Dewar’s produces 7,000 pounds of chews and over 2,000 gallons of ice cream a week. Dewar’s is well known for its signature milkshake, the George’s Special — a chocolate concoction replete with bananas and walnuts. Confections can be enjoyed in two different locations, 1120 Eye Street and 9530 Hageman Road, both in Bakersfield. Chews and chocolates are available online at, but to enjoy Dewar’s ice cream creations, you’ll need to visit the parlors in person. Two to three tours are held weekly at the Eye Street location, allowing a glimpse at production techniques perfected a century ago. Tours require groups of ten or more, and visitors are encouraged to contact Dewar’s at 661-322-0933 to join a group.


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Rosemary’s Family Creamery in downtown Bakersfield (2733 F Street; 661-395-0555) has become a hometown favorite. Founded by Frank and Rosemary DeMarco in 1984, this operation is proud to have at least one family member always present during hours of operation to ensure the traditional experience customers expect never disappoints. During the busy summer season, Rosemary’s churns out over 600 gallons of ice cream a week, while everything from sandwiches to sundaes is made fresh on site. A time-honored favorite is Cousin Julie’s hot fudge brownie, made with fresh brownies from a family recipe. This sundae also contains vanilla ice cream, homemade hot fudge, nuts, whipped cream and a cherry to top it off.

BASQUE To experience a smorgasbord of ethnic tastes that makes lunch or dinner much more than a meal, immerse yourself in the unique experience of Basque dining. Connoisseurs of fine food melded with a cultural experience flock to Kern County’s Basque restaurants. The Bakersfield area boasts one of the largest Basque populations outside of the Pyrenees, and the incredible cuisine developed by these friendly people draws visitors from across California. If you’ve never been to a Basque restaurant, you’re in for a treat. Traditional Basque dining is served family style with multiple courses that require both a collection of friends and a big appetite. The Basque have a great appreciation for food, and traditionally serve it up in large quantities. Most meals include soup, salad, bread, salsa and beans before you get to the entrée of your choice: steak, seafood,

Basque Dining Guide Benji’s French Basque Restaurant 4001 Rosedale Highway Bakersfield (661) 328-0400 Chalet Basque Restaurant 200 Oak St, Bakersfield (661) 327-2915

Noriega Hotel 525 Sumner St, Bakersfield (661) 322-8419 Pyrenees Café 601 Sumner St, Bakersfield (661) 323-0053

Mill Creek Deli 700 18th St., Bakersfield (661) 328-9999

Sandrini’s Italian-Basque Restaurant & Bar 1918 Eye St, Bakersfield (661) 322-8900

Narducci’s Café 622 E. 21st St, Bakersfield (661) 324-2961

Wool Growers Restaurant 620 E. 19th St, Bakersfield (661) 327-9584

lamb or poultry. In some restaurants, ethnic delicacies such as pickled tongue or ox tail stew are added to the fare. This experience ventures beyond the ability to tempt diners’ palates; it offers the chance to take your time and soak up the atmosphere. In many Basque restaurants you can still hear the ancient language of Eskuara – a combination of Latin, French and Castilian – being spoken among the staff. Kern County has a variety of Basque restaurants to choose from, ranging from modern to old family-style eateries, while other dining opportunities have Basque selections added to the standard menu. Days of operation vary, but all feature that unmistakable Basque taste.

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Toss your line into “reel” adventure

W Trophy trout nabbed in the Kern


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Wishing you were fishing? Kern County is a home away from home for anglers of all ages and preferences. From an easily-accessible lake to a solitary hike into the backcountry, we have just the spot. The “luckiest” anglers target their catch, so decide what you want to hook to determine where and how to fish in Kern County. Enjoy Kern’s backcountry streams before the middle of August, when they tend to dry up. Part of the adventure is in the challenge of getting there. These waterways are best accessed on foot or by OHV, but the reward is an abundance of fish that test your technique. Grapevine Creek, either between northbound and southbound Interstate 5 at Fort Tejon or at the bottom of the mountain just south of Grapevine, was once the home of a trout farm. Holdouts still remain, and these trout promise the ultimate trophy for the avid sportsman. Frazier Mountain Park also offers Cuddy Creek Pond for the little anglers. Stocked frequently, this is a great place for kids to learn about catching trout. The Fiesta Days Fishing Derby each August is the best time to introduce young anglers to the rewards of trout fishing.

For a more private experience, try Tait Ranch Fly Fishing (3344 Frazier Mountain Park Road; 661-245-6315) at Frazier Park. The grounds include three small ponds and picnic facilities. Look for rainbow stockers in the 12 to 14-inch range. For the best flow and coldest water in the area, venture to San Emigdio Creek near the entrance to Pine Mountain Club in the Los Padres National Forest. Like nearby Woodland Creek, there are small native trout in the stream. For largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish, head downhill and downstream from the Pine Mountain Golf Course to Pine Mountain Club Pond. If big stocked trout is what you’re looking for, go to county-owned Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area (661868-7050) near Taft. The Mount Lassen hatchery stocks these beauties in the spring. The wild and scenic Kern River flows Fishing on the Kern River at the southern end of the Sierra Nevadas, only three hours by car from Los Angeles. The upper Kern from Johnsondale Bridge to Isabella Lake is open to fishing all year. The area above the bridge is open from the last Saturday in April through mid-November. Catfish are Isabella Lake’s most consistently-caught species, with the occasional 20-pounder hauled in. Since big cats stay away from shore, some anglers prefer the use of boats to tackle deep water in areas like French Gulch, Piney Point, South Fork Channel or Engineer’s Point.

Bass anglers prefer fishing Isabella from boats, working the shoreline and drawing the lure into deeper water. Favorite spots with those allimportant drop-offs include Rocky Point, Freear Point and French Gulch. French Gulch also offers deep water and protection from the wind, making float tubing possible. Warm weather means warmer water and active feeding, so that’s the time to go after bluegill. The successful angler finds them in coves due to the warmer shallow water. For the best coves, seek out those that are less heavily-fished than the more popular bass and catfish havens. Crappie also love warm weather and shallow water. Rocky Point, French Gulch, Boulder Gulch, Piney Point, Paradise Cove and Lime Dike are good spots for anglers. The Department of Fish and Game stocks Isabella Lake with trout, and heftier rainbows have weighed in at as much as five pounds. For these trophy fish, head to the Auxiliary Dam, Boulder Gulch or deeper waters in the Main Dam area. Isabella is a prime destination for anglers each spring as thousands descend on its waters for the annual fishing derby ( A quarter of a million dollars in prize money has been awarded since 1990, and there’s always a chance one lucky angler will bag a $10,000 grand prize. The biggest catch often starts with the short trip to Kern County.

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The thrill of freefall

High-flying excitement


If you have an appetite for adventure, why not take to the skies? More than 300 sunny days a year and predictable conditions make Kern County one of the premiere locations for visitors to try their wings. For a unique way to sightsee, there’s nothing like the thrill of unpowered flight. This is glider heaven. Skylark North Glider School in Tehachapi (16334 Harris Road; 661-822-5267), Caracole Soaring at California City (22570 Airport Way; 760-373-1019), and Sierra Soaring at Inyokern (1669 Airport Road; 760-377-5197) are among the best places in the world to ride the wind. In summer, massive thermals lift gliders as high as 10,000 feet. The “mountain wave” brought on by winter months allows lower starting elevations for world-class altitude climbs. Lessons are available and affordable. For something a bit more serene go up, up and away in a beautiful balloon. Professor Muldoon’s Hot Air Balloons and Flying Machines (400 S. Snyder Avenue, Tehachapi; 661-823-7663) offers breathtaking views of the stunning Tehachapi Valley. Balloons launch from a private facility on the Tehachapi Airport grounds, so be sure to call ahead. One-hour flights are launched shortly after dawn seven days a week.


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The winds are calm, the air is clean and the skies are beautiful. When your journey is complete, the gentle return to earth is followed by a reception, beverage of choice, a personalized flight certificate, and memories that last a lifetime. Thrill seekers know that one of the state’s premiere skydiving locations is located in Kern County. The community of Taft, tucked away in the southwest corner of the county, is renowned for its inviting conditions. Found at the tip of the beautiful San Joaquin Valley, Skydive Taft (500 Airport Road; 661-765-JUMP) offers one of the fastest jump ships in the country, carrying up to 23 jumpers to 13,500 feet in style. The jump center offers student programs with the added security of some of the most experienced staff in the industry. Skydiving is open to adventurers of all experience levels with jump schools, tandem skydiving, sky surfing and more. Training is available to teach newcomers, and there are plenty of opportunities to give the experienced a chance to display their skills. Make sure you record your leap for posterity. Some of the best freefall video and photography services found anywhere are available, so you can share your adventure with family and friends. The skies above Kern County are filled with thrills. Come see for yourself.

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‘Aerospace Valley’


Dubbed the Aerospace Valley, East Kern provides the perfect conditions for technological advancement. Venture into this rich and historic zone to experience the genesis of some of the world’s most amazing high-tech innovations. Two of the most famous are at Edwards Air Force Base, home of the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Facility (1 S. Rosamond Blvd.; 661-277-3517). Welcome to the birthplace of more flight records than any other spot on the planet. Edwards is an active military base, so public access is restricted. A day-long tour takes place just twice a month. The schedule varies and space is limited. Reservations must be made three weeks in advance to allow for proper clearance, but the experience is worth taking the time to plan ahead. Special tour dates may be arranged for large groups. Your tour guide will escort you to a bus for a driving tour of the flight line. Next, experience the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum, where


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exhibits cover the first military uses of Edwards, flight testing during World War II, and the development of high-speed flight. Included is a visit to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Facility, which since World War II has been on the leading edge of aeronautics and space technology. Videos detail innovations produced here, and a short walking tour highlights current research. Mojave is home to America’s first official inland spaceport, the Mojave Air and Space Port (1434 Flightline Street; 661-824-2433). This world-renowned flight research airport is home to the latest advanced aeronautical designs. History was made here in 2004 when SpaceShipOne became the first privately-funded craft to achieve manned spaceflight. Noted designer Burt Rutan, who also lists the globe-circling Voyager aircraft among his triumphs, more recently revealed the first of his SpaceShipTwo vehicles at Mojave. Testing is underway, and a fleet of these spacecraft should

Legacy Park

soon begin carrying passengers into space. A highlight at Mojave is Legacy Park, a living testament to the innovations developed here. The massive Rotary Rocket roton, one of the first attempts at creating a reusable civilian space vehicle, is among the permanent display pieces. Replicas of SpaceShipOne and Voyager are on permanent display, while a legacy wall commemorates those who sacrificed all in the pursuit of technological development. From Legacy Park it’s just a short walk to dining at the Voyager Restaurant or to the spaceport offices, where you can inquire about an airport tour. The airport is a favorite with movie makers. Big screen hits including Speed, S.W.A.T. and Flags of Our Fathers owe portions of their success to Mojave Space Port locations. The United States Naval Museum of Armament and Technology (1 Pearl Harbor Way; 760-939-3530) at Ridgecrest is home to the largest collection of tactical aircraft weapons and technology on public display in the free world. Many items on display are currently in military service, while others date back to World War II. Still more are experimental models used to explore new weapons concepts. The museum, located on the grounds of the China Lake Naval Weapons Station, is a testament to the research, development, testing and evaluation of modern weaponry conducted at China Lake. Most of the major air weapons systems used by American forces, including the Tomahawk and Sidewinder, were developed and tested here. Access to the base changes dependent upon current security conditions, so a call ahead for clearance information is strongly advised.

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Getting down and dirty


Kern County is a long-time favorite of off-road enthusiasts with state and federal OHV areas scattered throughout the county. Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area, located near Lebec along the Interstate 5 corridor, offers 19,000 acres of scenic trails for motorcycle, ATV and four-by-four recreation. Experienced riders love the challenging hills and sand washes, while beginners are greeted by the scenery and ease of trails in the Native Grasslands Management Area. Trails in the adjacent Los Padres National Forest are recommended for experienced riders only. Call Hungry Valley SVRA (661-248-7007) or the United States Forest Service (661-245-3731) for information. The Keyesville Special Management Area is located in the Kern River Valley northeast of Bakersfield. Under the direction of the Federal Bureau of Land Management, this 7,133-acre zone is filled with blue oak and foothill pine. Just west of Isabella Lake and bordered by the Sequoia National Forest and State Routes 178 and 155, the zone plays host to motorcycles, dune buggies, ATVs and mountain bikes on designated trails. The area is also home to the Keyesville Classic mountain bike race each spring.


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The Jawbone Canyon / Dove Springs OHV Area offers over 7,000 acres of open-use public land ready for anything from cross-country play to advanced technical routes. Ride anywhere your skill and machine will take you. Access to Jawbone Canyon is located off State Route 14, approximately 20 miles north of Mojave -- the Jawbone Visitors Center guards the entrance. Dove Springs can be accessed from State Route 14 north of Red Rock Canyon State Park. Riders around California City will find the community ready to accommodate their unique brand of fun. The California City Business Trail allows access shopping, dining and fuel via OHV. Stretching 11 miles from Borax Hill to the city business park, the trail also includes a parking lot created specifically for off-highway vehicles. The trail is open weekends until sunset. East Kern’s High Desert also offers plenty of riding areas on BLMoperated lands. Rand Mountains Management Area stretches from Randsburg and US 395 west to Koehn Dry Lake. This limited use area provides a network of designated trails. A valid off-road vehicle tag is required for California residents, while visitors from out of state need valid registra-

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tion from their home state or a non-resident permit available at nearby Jawbone Station. Spangler Hills boasts 57,000 acres of open public land. Its crosscountry and trail riding paths, advanced technical routes, and fourwheel drive trails criss-cross the Mojave Desert near Ridgecrest. Teagle Wash, east of Trona-Red Mountain Road, is a popular staging area. The site provides staging of competitive events in addition to a large area for camping and riding. Riders also stage at Searles Station, two miles east of US 395 via Searles Station Road; and Wagon Wheel, five miles south of State Route 178 on Trona-Red Mountain Road. For access to the Pacific Crest Trail and Owens Peak, visit Indian Wells Canyon, 15 miles northwest of Ridgecrest. The area is bordered by the Owens Peak, Sacatar Trail, Chimney Peak, Domeland and Kiavah wilderness areas. You’ll be crossing streams, so a four-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance is recommended. From the canyon, visitors can hike to Owens Peak or the Pacific Crest Trail. Pay close attention to signage, because motor vehicles are not permitted in designated wilderness areas. The same can be said of Last Chance Canyon, located in the El Paso Mountains. Extending from Black Mountain south to the town of Saltdale, this colorful, scenic region resulted from a mixture of sediments and volcanic rock. The stratum has been exposed through uplift along the El Paso Fault, which created the range. There are several four-wheel drive routes available. Look for posted signs advising of park restrictions as a portion of the canyon rests inside Red Rock Canyon State Park. The zone also has a number of historical and archaeological sites, which are protected by federal and state law. For information about these locations, contact the Ridgecrest office of the BLM at 760-384-5400. 2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M


WATER SPORTS Rafting on the Kern River

Wet and wild fun


As one of California’s premier adventure attractions, the remarkable Kern River Valley offers both exciting whitewater and the beautiful scenery of the Sierra Nevada. Federally designated as a “wild and scenic” river, the Kern River is fed by the melting snow of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states. Unlike most Sierra waters, the Kern flows north-to-south instead of east-to-west for 100 of its 165 miles. For sensational whitewater in a wilderness setting, visit the Upper Kern. National Geographic Explorer has dubbed this section of river

as one of the six “ideal” rafting trips in America. That the region was so honored is no surprise; Sports Afield magazine also rated it the nation’s top paddling destination. One hour, half-day and full-day rafting trips are available daily from late March through August, and most are tempered for both the novice and experienced paddler. For the more adventurous, try a one-day Class V run. The most difficult rapids are given that distinction and are not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. For anyone up for a challenge, take on the two or three-day excur-

Watercraft Rentals French Gulch Marina 760-379-8724 Wofford Heights

North Fork Marina 760-376-1812 700 Tuttle Rd., Wofford Heights

Whitewater Guides Kern River Outfitters 800-323-4234 6602 Wofford Blvd., Wofford Heights Kern River Tours 800-844-RAFT (7238) 2712 Mayfair, Lake Isabella

Isabella Lake


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Mountain and River Adventures 800-861-6553 11113 Kernville Road, Kernville

River’s End Rafting and Adventure Company 866-360-RAFT (7238) 15701 State Route 178, Bakersfield Sierra South Mountain & Paddle Sports 800-457-2082 11300 Kernville Road, Kernville Whitewater Voyages 760-376-8806 11252 Kernville Rd., Kernville

1-hour to 3-day whitewater raft trips April-October. Kayak tours on Lake Isabella in Sequoia National Forest. World-renowned whitewater kayak school. Most complete paddle sports retail store in southern CA.

Windsurfing on Isabella Lake

Walk-Ins Welcome Book Trips online at

sion. One of the premier wilderness whitewater trips in the nation is a trip on the Forks of the Kern, rated by experts as among the most technically-demanding runs in California. This trip offers continuous Class IV and V whitewater in addition to spectacular scenery. Sections of the river drop nearly 60 feet per mile creating numerous rapids and waterfalls, many of which must be scouted (and occasionally avoided) during high water. Be prepared for extreme physical exertion on any trip involving Class V water. For the ultimate overnight trip head to the Lower Kern, a damreleased section flowing out of beautiful Isabella Lake. Water is released all summer, providing a steady flow against the steep granite walls of the canyon. Hot summer days and quiet pools, coupled with challenging Class III and IV rapids, make this the most popular two-day river trip in Southern California. Your adventure awaits but please don’t brave the Kern River without a licensed and experienced whitewater outfitter, and always remember to wear a life jacket. Many outfitters offer additional adventures such as kayaking schools, rock climbing and snowshoeing, so don’t be afraid to ask. Nearby Isabella Lake is never at a loss for activities. This is one of Southern California’s premiere windsurfing locations. Lake kayaking, boating, jet skiing and water skiing are all popular pastimes. Wind and kite surfers love Isabella for its consistent winds and easy sand launches. Due to its size (over 11,000 acres), boating enthusiasts love its plentiful opportunities for fishing, water skiing, or just cruising. With warm water in the summertime and an abundance of affordable camping, this is the ultimate destination for active relaxation. 2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M



Grab your mittens


Whether you prefer the downhill route or making your way cross country, Kern County plays host to a variety of winter activities. For those who dream of speeding down a powdered slope, head toward the breath-taking Kern River Valley. Eighty acres of winter wonderland are nestled south of Greenhorn Mountain summit near Wofford Heights. Alta Sierra Ski Resort (56700 Rancheria Road, Wofford Heights; 760-376-4186) operates two chair lifts and eight runs ranging in elevation from 6,700 to 7,100 feet. Runs cater to the beginning and intermediate skier, although 30 percent of the mountain is rated for the advanced. Snowboarders have also found a home in the resort’s rails, tabletops, and half-pipe. Alta Sierra Ski Resort is open Friday through Sunday and on selected holidays, conditions permitting. The southern Sierra also boasts numerous cross-country and snowshoe trails. Commercial outfitters offer shoe and ski rentals with guided half and full-day trips available for groups of four or more. Mount Pinos Ranger District (661-245-3731) near Frazier Park is conveniently located for much of Southern California, resting just an hour from Los Angeles. Cross-country skiing requires only a flat area with some snow and a little training in technique. Mount Pinos answers the call. Most of the area’s marked ski trails lie in a 2,000-acre zone between the 7,500-foot elevation of McGill Campground and the 8,831-foot summit of Mount Pinos. For snowy satisfaction beyond skiing, you can also try snowshoeing, tobogganing, and sledding. Inner tubes can provide endless hours of entertainment though they don't have any steering or guiding mechanism. Chart where you are going and avoid dangerous territory. Pay close attention to posted signs and advisories for restrictions. The Forest Service requires vehicles to display an official Adventure Pass when parked in the Mount Pinos Winter High Impact Recreation Area. Passes are available from the Chuchupate Ranger Station (34580 Lockwood Valley Road, Frazier Park), via the Internet, or from selected local merchants. Additionally, private property exists throughout the forest, so please respect others’ property and privacy during your visit. Before your trip, check ahead with the Forest Service to learn which areas are open and ask for details about snowmobile designated routes in the Mount Pinos area. The deep powder desirable to skiers can be difficult for snowmobiles, so the Forest Service always suggests traveling in groups.


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Alta Sierra Ski Resort

(877) 246-4922 16231 Askin Dr.


Reserve Your Room Today! We Look Forward To Your Visit!

Want to stay in one of Kern County’s most secluded areas? Look no further! Come stay with us in the beautiful Los Padres Forest! Relax, hike, mountain bike, star gaze, bird watch and more. In the winter you can enjoy snow activities such as cross country skiing, sledding and snow play. Our spacious rooms await you. You’ll be more than happy you came up to stay with us!

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Bakersfield RV Resort

Home away from home


If you’re part of the get-up-and-go crowd but you also hate to leave the comforts of home, chances are you’re already well versed in the fine art of “RVing.” Recreational vehicles are a great way to explore Kern County’s great outdoors. From east to west and all across our mountains, valleys and deserts, there are a number of inviting locations to serve as the base camp for your excursions. Bring your toys – motorcycles, ATVs, watercraft – with you. Kern County has plenty of locations for you to enjoy your favorite action sport. Or if you prefer, choose a quiet location where you can fish, hike or snooze in the afternoon sun. Thanks to RVs, you really can take it with you. It’s never been easier to make Kern County your home away from home.

Look for the icon in the maps section of this guide for RV park locations. 30

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BAKERSFIELD A Country RV Park 622 S. Fairfax Road 661-363-6412 Bakersfield Palms RV Park 250 Fairfax Road 661-366-6700 Bakersfield RV Resort 5025 Wible Road 661-833-9998 www.BakersfieldRVResort. com

Bakersfield RV Travel Park 8633 E. Brundage Lane 800-962-4546 www.BakersfieldRVTravel Bear Mountain RV Resort 16501 S. Union Avenue 661-834-3811 Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area Enos Lane at Union Road 661-868-7050

Kern River Campground 13041 Lake Ming Road 661-868-7000 Orange Grove RV Park 1452 S. Edison Road 661-366-4662 www.OrangeGroveRVPark. com Rosedale Village RV Park 13901 Rosedale Highway 661-589-0593 River Run RV Park 3715 Burr Street 888-748-7786

Riverview RV Park 24 Siretta Street 760-376-2345 Sierra Meadows Motor Home and RV Park 448 Scodie Road 760-223-1720

MOJAVE Spaceport RV Park 2121 E. Nadeau Street 661-824-2811 Sierra Trails RV Park 21282 Highway 14 760-373-4950

Smoke Tree RV Park 4435 Hughes Lane 661-832-0433


Southland RV Park 9901 Southland Court 661-834-1134

Lake Isabella RV Resort 11936 Highway 178 760-379-2046

FRAZIER PARK Lake of the Woods Mobile Village 6132 Frazier Mountain Park Road 661-245-3521

INYOKERN El Solana Motor Home and RV Park 1661 N. Brown Road 760-377-4716

KERNVILLE Camp James Campground and RV Park 13801 Sierra Way 760-376-6119 Frandy Park 11252 Kernville Road 760-376-6483 Rivernook Campground 14001 Sierra Way 760-376-2705

RIDGECREST Bertrand’s RV Park 4331 W. Inyokern Road 760-377-4000 Desert Empire Fairgrounds RV Park 520 S. Richmond Road 760-375-8000

TEHACHAPI Indian Hill Ranch RV Park 18061 Arosa Road 661-822-6613 Mountain Valley Airport RV Park 16334 Harris Road 661-822-1213

WELDON Lake Isabella KOA 15627 Highway 178 760-378-2001

While every effort is made to ensure complete listings, Kern County Board of Trade assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions.

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Murray Family Farms

For the young at heart Wind Wolves Preserve



Kern County has plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. Enjoy sights and activities designed to appeal to the young, and those who just feel young. Most attractions have seasonal hours, so call ahead for the latest schedule. You’ll find an impressive collection of native animals, reptiles, and plant life at the California Living Museum (10500 Alfred Harrell Highway, Bakersfield; 661872-2256). Get an up-close view of endangered species like the San Joaquin kit fox or marvel at the impressive American bald eagle. Don’t forget to say hello to the newest members of the museum – two young female mountain lions named Willow and Sage. The museum’s DiGiorgio Education Center will keep the kids busy reading, discovering fossils, and enjoying other hands-on activities. With generous-sized picnic and play areas, a petting zoo, reptile house, and birds of prey exhibits, the kids will get to stretch their legs and their

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minds. If you want to see more big cats, head to the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in Rosamond (3718 60th Street West; 661-256-3793). This is home to more than 70 of the world’s most endangered felines. With no moats between you and the cats, some exhibits let you get close enough to count the whiskers. Special activities throughout the year include an annual “Kids Day” each November featuring interactive fun. Three times a year, Twilight Tours give visitors the opportunity to see these nocturnal predators during their most active hours. Kern County’s premiere agritourism location is Murray Family Farms (6700 General Beale Road, Bakersfield; 661-3300100). Adults can head for the Big Red Barn to sample and purchase a wide assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, dried fruits and nuts, and other scrumptious eats. But this place is geared for kids. Enjoy the animals in the

Critter Corral petting zoo, take an old-fashioned hay ride or play in the tunnels of the giant “ant farm.” Seasonal activities such as pig races, a corn maze, and the you-pick pumpkin patch make a return visit a must. A second location, dubbed the Old Tomato Weigh Station (9557 Copus Road, Bakersfield; 661-858-1100), offers farm-direct produce, plus weekend opportunities to gather your own delectables from May through July. Shafter’s hidden treasure is no longer a secret. Insect Lore Bugseum and Visitor Center (132 S. Beech Avenue; 800-548-3284) opened its doors in 2008, allowing kids a hands-on experience with live bugs. Insect Lore is the premiere supplier of science-related insects for classrooms, and the museum offers a glimpse behind the scenes of this fascinating specialty. Besides the assortment of strange, and unusual creepy crawly exhibits, kids can experience interactive bug discoveries, get a peek into real working butterfly and ladybug-raising labs, view amazing collections of butterflies of North America and wild insects from all around the world, and learn a little about the 40-year history of Insect Lore USA. Kern County Museum (3801 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield; 661-852-5000) is filled with interactive exhibits to keep the kids entertained. Lori Brock Children's Discovery Center was opened in 1976 to offer hands-on museum experiences for children. Art, history, humanities and science displays encourage creative thought. Kid City is a self-guided tour that features the basics of any town, offering children the ability to learn about different careers in the community in which they live. Lewis and Clark - Journey Across America is a hands-on exhibition where children can follow the journey on a giant floor puzzle, learn about the flora and fauna discovered on their journey, and see photos from locations the expedition visited. Art Safari helps children explore nature through art. The museum’s Pioneer Village allows visitors both young and old to meander through the town-like setting of more than 70 historic buildings including medical offices, a mission, and schools. The award-winning Black Gold: The Oil Experience allows kids and adults to discover how oil is formed, extracted, and transformed into products used today. To see shark teeth, rocks, and Native American items, then plan a trip to Buena Vista Museum of Natural History (2018 Chester

Insect Lore Bugseum and Visitor Center

Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center

Avenue, Bakersfield; 661-324-6350). The museum’s 14,000 square feet of exhibits include many one-of-a-kind specimens including North American animal exhibits, and dinosaur replicas. The first Saturday of each month is ‘Family Day’ with activities planned for everyone. The museum is open Thursday through Saturday each week (except major holidays), but also offers a year long schedule of science workshops and presentations appropriate for both children and parents. Rankin Ranch (23500 Walker Basin Road, Caliente; 661-867-2511) welcomes children

by offering a seasonal program filled with horseback riding, nature hikes, treasure and scavenger hunts, swimming, arts and crafts, feeding farm animals, and more. What could be better than a real western adventure in the Tehachapi Mountains? This is a real working ranch, operated by the same family since 1863. Let them show you good old-fashioned western hospitality. During winter visits, don’t miss the chance to give the kids a snowy speed thrill at the Alta Sierra Tube Park (56700 Rancheria Road, Wofford Heights; 760-376-4186). Just an hour from Bakersfield, the park offers an automated lift to the top of the course, saving the hike up the hill. Even ‘big kids’ can enjoy the sport. The Alta Sierra Ski Resort also offers classes and private lessons for skiing and snowboarding to kids aged 6 and up. Enjoy the quaint warming hut, low fees, and the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains. Wind Wolves Preserve (16019 Maricopa Hwy, Bakersfield; 661-858-1115) is the west coast’s largest non-profit preserve, boasting 95,000 acres with elevations ranging from 640 to 6,005 feet. Take this unique opportunity to view a wide variety of wildlife. Look for large animals such as Tule elk, impressive birds like the California condor, and reptiles as small as the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard. The preserve is open to the public on the weekends and offers hiking and picnicking, with more visiting hours available through the summer. Seasonal wildflower and wildlife viewing tours are offered; just contact the preserve for the most current schedule.

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Kern’s fine feathered friends A white faced ibis flies around the Kern National Wildlife Refuge


Get ready to spend some time with our fine feathered friends. Kern is one of the most ecologically diverse counties in the state, making it a birder’s paradise. California has six separate bioregions, and five of them converge right here. Audubon California recognized the potential of the area when it established the Kern River Preserve (18747 State Route 178, Weldon; 760-378-2531). Nestled in the Sierras near the east shore of Isabella Lake, the preserve encompasses the largest contiguous riparian forest in California. The preserve provides sanctuary for a number of rare species, including one of the largest populations of western yellow-billed cuckoo in the west. The state’s northern-most population of summer tanager, along with one of the largest communities of Southwestern willow flycatcher in California, also thrives here. These 2,894 acres include a walking trail that leaves the cozy visitors center and meanders through a cottonwood forest, butterfly garden and other natural attractions. A regular schedule of festivals and workshops throughout the year highlight the ecological contributions of the globally-important region. The Mountain Communities of southwestern Kern County have earned their birding fame as one of the few places to find the majestic, and elusive, California condor. Boasting an average wingspan of nine feet, these majestic birds currently number less than 200 in the wild. Fully protected by state and federal law, they’re now making a comeback in this scenic area of the Los Padres National Forest. Public entry to the 53,000-acre Sespe Condor Sanctuary is restricted,


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but condors have been known to make the trip to the communities of Frazier Park and Pine Mountain Club. These mountain retreats are an easy flight from nesting sites on the nearby - but inaccessible - high rocky cliffs. Condors are most frequently seen in flight over the Mount Pinos Ranger District (34580 Lockwood Valley Road, Frazier Park; 661245-3731). Visit the Condor Observation Site at the summit of Mount Pinos or the Valle Vista Condor Observation Site for the best viewing opportunities. Condors are best observed from June through October. Managed by the non-profit Wildlands Conservancy, Wind Wolves Preserve (16019 Maricopa Highway, Bakersfield; 661-858-1115), is another prime spot to discover the magnificent California condor. One of the largest colonies of tri-colored blackbirds in Southern California breeds in its marshes, and the surrounding riparian growth supports Southwestern willow flycatcher, yellow warbler and yellow-breasted chat. The preserve is open weekends for hiking and picnicking, with camping available by reservation. For thousands of years, the Central Valley provided habitat for millions of migratory waterfowl and wetland species. That legacy is preserved at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge (661-725-2767), located 18 miles west of Delano at the intersection of Garces Highway and Corcoran Road. This 11,249-acre wetland consists of natural valley grasslands, riparian corridor and developed marsh. The visitor center heads a 6.5-mile graveled auto route through the wetlands. A lake once covered nearly half a million acres here. The current refuge is remnant habitat, providing a winter home for migrating birds,

A northern flicker perched high in a tree at the Kern River Preserve

shorebirds, marsh and waterfowl. The endangered Buena Vista Lake shrew, San Joaquin kit fox and blunt-nosed leopard lizard also make their home here. Waterfowl numbers peak in winter, with as many as 80,000 in late December and early January. Shorebirds begin foraging for food in the spring, while broods of ducks appear in the summer. Fall brings migratory waterfowl stopping to “refuel” as they trek north to south along the Pacific Flyway. Auto tours are permitted from sundown to sunset, with the parking areas provided for additional viewing. Limited hunting is permitted – closing the tour route on Wednesdays and Saturdays from October through January.

Over 11,249 acres of wildlife habitat including seasonal wetlands, uplands & riparian areas with wintering & migratory birds, aquatic animals, & endangered species including the San Joaquin kit fox, Tipton kangaroo rat and blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Take the auto-tour which is a 6.5 mile route all weather gravel road open daily from sunrise to sunset. Carry binoculars and spotting scopes to get a closer look without alarming wildlife. Migration begins in fall. Waves of waterfowl, primarily ducks, arrive by the 1,000’s to use refuge habitat. In the spring, as mudflats are exposed, large concentrations of shorebirds begin probing for food. In the summer, broods (groups of young ducks) begin to appear. Hunting is permitted during waterfowl season, Oct. through Jan. The Kern National Wildlife Refuge is located 20 miles west of Delano, CA., at the junction of Garces Hwy. & Corcoran Road.

For more information call (661) 725-2767

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Bakersfield National Cemetery

Honoring our heroes “The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten,” – President Calvin Coolidge.


Patriotism isn’t just a passing fad in Kern County. In an area where service and country are an important part of every-day existence, the desire to recognize honor and sacrifice runs deep. Kern County has taken great care in remembering its veterans. A national cemetery and 18 monuments throughout the county will ensure that Kern’s fallen are never forgotten. One of America’s most recent salute to veterans is the Bakersfield National Cemetery (30338 East Bear Mountain Boulevard, Arvin; 661-632-1894). This United States National Cemetery sits on 500 scenic acres in the Tehachapi Mountains just 20 miles east of Bakersfield near the intersection of State Highways 58 and 223. Its entrance, guarded by a monument sign and the striking “Avenue of Flags,” leads visitors to Phase One of the facility, which received its first heroes in the summer of 2009.


Entrance to the new National Cemetery

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Kern Veterans Memorial

When complete, Bakersfield National Cemetery will include a visitor information center, flag assembly area and memorial walkway while providing a final resting place for up to 11,000 veterans. Carved out of the vast Tejon Ranch (which donated the property), the cemetery was the culmination of a six-year effort. It serves more than 200,000 Central California veterans who previously had no state or national cemetery available to them. Today more than 3.4 million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict from the American Revolution to the global war on terror, are interned in national cemeteries. Community memorials are found throughout the region. Markers range from those commemorating great conflicts to community rememberances of fallen local heroes. The most striking of these is the Kern Veterans Memorial. Dedicated in November 2007, the Kern Veterans Memorial Plaza is located in the heart of downtown Bakersfield (Truxtun Avenue at S Street) and honors all Kern County men and women who served in the US armed forces. At the center of the memorial is a fountain accented with both granite and glass spiraling upward. A circular plaza with two paths surrounds the structure. The outer path is level while the inner path ascends to a second level. At night, colored lights in the fountain reflect off the glass. Additional monuments around the county commemorate the sacrifice of veterans who served in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and other conflicts. Kern Veterans Memorial Foundation offers a guide to all 18 Kern County monuments. To receive a brochure, call 661-868-7300 or visit 2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M



Cutting edge technology


Welcome to the cutting edge of visitor information technology. Four years in development, the Kern County Visitor Kiosk Network provides access to travel information around the clock at key locations throughout the region. The system helps resolve the greatest limitation faced by traditional visitors centers: questions don’t always pop up on a 9-to-5 schedule. Kern’s innovative “virtual visitors centers” use touch-screen technology similar to popular cell phone PDAs and are operated much like video gaming devices familiar to casino customers. But unlike their predecessors, these kiosks are designed to handle the Kern County elements, meaning they can be placed in virtually any area frequented by travelers. The weatherized large-format screens, the first of their kind in the world, offer county-wide dining and lodging information at the touch of a finger. A calendar of events keeps you up to date on what’s happening and where, helping you to make the most of your visit. Computerized maps (provided by Google) provide way-finding capabilities for those who may have misplaced themselves during their Kern County journey or just need a little help getting from Point A to Point B. While you’re finding a place to eat, play or relax; take the time to learn a little about us. Think of it as a hotel concierge that never sleeps. Because the network is constantly being updated, you can rest

Look for the icon in the maps section of this guide for kiosk locations. 38

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assured that you’ll be provided the most current information available. Best of all, most of these centers are never closed. Whether it is noon or midnight, the information you need is right at your fingertips.



Kern County Administrative Center 1115 Truxtun Avenue (Office hours only)

Crossroads Shell 6209 Lake Isabella Boulevard


Kern County Visitors Center 2101 Oak Street

Flying J Travel Plaza 42810 Frazier Mountain Park Road

Kern Veterans Memorial 601 Truxtun Avenue


William Thomas Air Terminal 3701 Wings Way

Legacy Park 1434 Flightline Street

ROSAMOND BORON Twenty Mule Team Museum 26962 Twenty Mule Team Road

Albertson’s Supermarket 2547 W. Rosamond Boulevard

TAFT JAWBONE CANYON Jawbone Station Visitors Center 2811 Jawbone Canyon, Cantil

KERNVILLE Circle Park 11041 Kernville Road

Taft District Chamber of Commerce 400 Kern Street

TEHACHAPI Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce 209 E. Tehachapi Boulevard


Great golf abounds in Kern


Kern County features a wide variety of beautiful and challenging courses guaranteed to tempt everyone from beginners to scratch golfers. These prime courses have played host to several professional events, including stops on the Hogan and Nike tours, and a number of Unites States Open and Professional Golfers Association qualifiers. The climate is ideal - sunny, dry and warm. Mountain courses provide a respite from summer heat, while low humidity makes valley and desert links equally attractive. All but the highest elevations experience mild winters. Nowhere in California will you get as much value for your golfing dollar. Weekday green fees start at less than $30 on public courses, and many private links offer limited reciprocal play with your hometown club membership.



Sycamore Canyon Golf Course 500 Kenmar Lane Par: 72 661-854-3163

Bakersfield Country Club (Private) 4200 Country Club Drive Par: 72 Club Pro: Bruce Burroughs 661-871-4000

BEAR VALLEY SPRINGS Oak Tree Country Club (Private) 29541 Rolling Oak Drive Par: 72 Club Pro: Duane Gore 661-821-5144

Kern River Golf Course Rudal Road and Lake Ming Drive Par: 70 Club Pro: Jim Foss 661-872-5128 The Links at Riverlakes Ranch 5201 Riverlakes Drive Par: 72 Club Pro: Cory Thomas 661-587-LINK North Kern Golf Course 17412 Quality Road Par: 72 Club Pro: Sam Barton Jr. 661-399-0347 Rio Bravo Country Club 15200 Casa Club Drive Par: 72 Club Pro: Jim Kiger 661-871-4653

Seven Oaks Country Club (Private) 2000 Grand Lakes Avenue Par: 72 Club Pro: Joe Haggerty 661-664-6474 Stockdale Country Club (Private) 7001 Stockdale Highway Par: 71 Club Pro: Randall Mudge 661-832-0310 Sundale Country Club (Private) 6218 Sundale Avenue Par: 72 Club Pro: Dave Bolar 661-831-5224

CALIFORNIA CITY California City Par-3 Golf Course 10290 California City Blvd. 760-373-7165 Tierra del Sol 10300 N. Loop Boulevard Par: 72 Club Pro: Bob Dacey 760-373-2384

DELANO Delano Golf Course 104 S. Lexington Street Par: 64 661-725-7527

KERNVILLE Kern Valley Golf Course 9472 Burlando Road Par: 72 760-376-2828

PINE MOUNTAIN CLUB Pine Mountain Club Golf Course (Private) 2524 Beechwood Way Par: 60 661-242-3734

TAFT Buena Vista Golf Course 10256 Golf Course Road Par: 72 Club Pros: Alan Sorensen, Chad Sorensen 661-763-5124

RIDGECREST China Lake Golf Course 411 Midway Avenue Par: 72 760-939-2990

TEHACHAPI Horse Thief Country Club 28950 Horse Thief Drive Par: 72 661-823-8571

WASCO Wasco Valley Rose Golf Course 301 N. Leonard Avenue Par: 72 1-888-758-8301

PRACTICE FACILITIES Jose’s Golf Range 5101 Stine Rd., Bakersfield 661-398-5650

While every effort is made to ensure complete listings, Kern County Board of Trade assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. 2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M



Kern National Wildlife Refuge
































Lost Hills


Blackwell’s Corner







Keck’s Corner







58 58

McKittrick 33 Derby Acres

Rosedale 58


Tule Elk State Reserve



184 99 Lamon Greenfield

Old River 119

Dustin Acres Valley Buena Vista Fellows Acres Aquatic Ford City Recreational Area TAFT Taft South Heights Taft

33 166


Weedpatch 223


5 166


Pine Mountain Club

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Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Los Padres National Forest











5 State Lake of the Woods

Frazier Park Lebec



Sequoia National Forest


Onyx 178


Kern River Preserve


Alta Sierra Ski Resort




China Lake





Freeman Junction





Indian Wells

Walker Pass


Lake Isabella Bodfish


Alta Sierra






Wofford Heights







Lamont Di Giorgio




Bear Valley Stallion Springs



Fort Tejon 5 State Historic Park


58 Hart Flat



Desert Tortoise Natural Area

Golden TEHACHAPI Hills Sand 58 Canyon Alpine Forest Park



Mountain Meadows





Jawbone Canyon





Twin Oaks



Red Rock Canyon State Park


Walker Basin


Old West Ranch

14 Cache Creek

Tehachapi Pass



Mojave 58

Galileo Hill


North Edwards Boron

Edwards Air Force Base 14



Willow Springs


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Old Time Oil Company Camp on 8 Acres • 1917 Original Well • Working Blacksmith Shop • Cook House • Original “Shotgun House.” Thurs. - Sat. 10 am to 4:00 pm • Sun. 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm Closed Holidays Free Admission • Donations Accepted


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Historic Tejon Ranch is home to California’s largest and finest hunting program and guarantees both novice and veteran hunters the experience of a lifetime. Featuring experienced guides… spectacular terrain … 270,000 acres to explore… and a wide variety of game from deer and wild turkey to wild boar and Rocky Mountain elk… Tejon Ranch is California’s premiere hunting destination. For more information about guided or group hunts, or obtaining a hunting membership, visit us online at 2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M



Warbirds in Action Fly-in at Shafter’s Minter Field.


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OCT. 21-23 Auto Club Famoso Raceway Bakersfield, California

• Nostalgia Drag Racing • CacklefestTM • Giant Vendor Midway • Huge Swap Meet . . . and more

Tickets On Sale June 16


Hiking trails near Isabella Lake


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Homes from the mid $100’s Panama Ln. & Ashe Rd. 661-836-6623

UNIVERSITY PARK Homes from the high $100’s Ming Ave. & Gosford Rd. 661-663-3810


Homes from the low $200’s Stockdale Hwy. & Jewetta Ave. 661-829-1775


at Seven Oaks Homes from the mid $400’s Ming Ave. & Grand Lakes Ave. 661-665-0683

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Magic in a bottle


The Tehachapi Valley is poised to stake its claim as California’s latest hotbed of viticulture. Sentiment is growing that the area’s unique conditions for growing wine grapes are leading to something magical in the bottle. The tale began in 2002 when Bob and Patty Souza planted Primitivo Zinfandel grapes (using seedlings cloned from 100-year-old plants) just west of Tehachapi. The region is known more for ranches and high-end private communities, but the Souzas recognized it as the perfect location for a premium wine operation. “I was surprised that nobody had ever tried to do a commercial wine making operation in this area before,” Bob Souza recalled. “The conditions for growing wine grapes are ideal. We can grow things here that you can’t grow anywhere else in the world.” Hot days, breezy evenings, decidedly rocky soil, and the high elevation all lend themselves to slower ripening of grapes, making for conditions that boost the flavor and provide for exceptional wines. But just how exceptional the product would prove to be came as a shock. The Souza’s Primitivo made its competitive debut at the 2008 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest face-off of


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American wines in the world. Over 1,500 vineyards submitted better than 4,200 bottles and waited for the pronouncements of 60 professional judges. Released under the Tehachapi Wine and Cattle Company label, the 2005 vintage scored a coveted silver medal. When good news comes, you have to share it. July 2008 brought the

grand opening of the Souza Family Vineyard (26877 Cummings Valley Road; 661-822-9233). The Tuscan-inspired attraction is open Friday through Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm and includes a tasting room and gift shop where visitors are treated to scenic views of the vineyard and the Cummings Valley. A stone’s throw away is Triassic Legacy Vineyard, planted in the spring of 2008. Although both Souza and Triassic grow Primitivo Zinfandel grapes (among others), a difference in soil between the two locations promises a different flavor among the products. Triassic Legacy’s name says a great deal about its wine. The moniker is derived from an isolated ridge of 220 million-year-old rocks (the Triassic geologic period) upon which the vineyard was planted. The rich, rocky soil on a sunny south-facing slope reward Triassic Legacy with wine grapes of exceptional character. While one might expect the two to be in competition, the growth of the region has benefits for both. Inspired by the Souza’s success, Triassic Legacy unveiled its own tasting room in late 2009. Its convenient location (24627 Cummings Valley Road; 661-822-5341) makes it easy for wine connoisseurs to sample wares from both. For an evening out, try the Wine and Cheese Cellar in Tehachapi (695 Tucker Road; 661-822-6300). This upscale venue serves wine and cheeses alongside a fine dining menu sure to please the most discerning of palates. Wine connoisseurs, and those who aspire to be such, can even purchase wine club memberships. Seekers of a laid-back experience can choose from a selection of wines, pair their selection with just the right cheese, and mellow out to the sounds of acoustical guitar, folk singing and soft rock. Evening performances by local artists are a regular attraction. With all of this going on, the wine-making world is paying attention. A move is underway to recognize the Tehachapi Valley as an “appellation,” a geographic name under which wine growers can identify and market wines. George Gonzales, co-owner of Triassic Legacy Vineyard and president of the Tehachapi Mountain Valleys Wine Growers Association, believes that the region has a good chance to gain approval.

“It would identify the region as a unique wine-growing area, just like Napa or Sonoma,” he explained. “We’re becoming well known in the wine business and people are starting to come from all over to enjoy Tehachapi wine. They’ve heard about what we’re doing. “They understand that Tehachapi is something special.”

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Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

Arts are alive and thriving


The arts are alive and thriving. From an accredited art museum to diverse theater offerings and musical experiences, Kern County holds time-honored events and new traditions alike at the center of its creative community. Bakersfield, Kern County’s largest city, supplies much in the way of cultural experiences. Bakersfield Museum of Art (1930 R Street; 661-323-7219) offers major visiting exhibits plus a rotating permanent collection. Visitors can call ahead for a docent tour or spend the day taking in its diverse galleries at their own pace. The local focus coupled with world-class art makes the BMOA a hidden treasure. Visitors can view and purchase local art at the Bakersfield Art Center (1817 Eye Street; 661-869-2220), presented by the Bakersfield Art Association. The gallery showcases both professional and amateur works from oils and watercolors to pottery, woodwork and mixed media. The association also offers classes and workshops throughout the year, many taught by professional artists of note. The 2011-12 season marks the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra’s 80th year. The symphony performs about 35 concerts per season. Most are held at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena with others at venues through-


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out Kern County. For information or to view the season calendar, visit or call 661-323-7928. Gaslight Melodrama Theatre and Music Hall (12748 Jomani Drive; 661-587-3377) is as distinctly Bakersfield as oil and agriculture. In the classic melodrama tradition, most productions offer audiences the chance to be a part of the show every weekend. The Christmas season brings additional performances – up to eight shows per week. Spotlight Theatre (1622 19th Street; 661-634-0692) provides an intimate theater-going experience in downtown Bakersfield. Spotlight hosts a full slate of productions from musicals and classics to contemporary theater. Shows are held on weekends and often include Sunday matinees. The Spotlight also features The Lobby, a café that specializes in quick, hand-crafted gourmet food. Stars Theater Restaurant (1931 Chester Avenue; 661-325-6100) offers a combined dining and live theater experience popular with individuals and tour groups alike. Award-winning gourmet meals couple with performances that highlight the best of local talent. Curtains typically rise Thursday through Sunday, but special group nights may be arranged. With room for 175 guests to enjoy dinner and a show, large

Gaslight Melodrama

groups are encouraged to contact Stars for a list of group rates and discounts. The arts aren’t confined to Bakersfield. All of Kern has plenty to brag about. Ridgecrest and the Greater Indian Wells Valley boast the Community Light Opera and Theatre Association (1425 North Inyo Street, Ridgecrest; 760-446-2411). The typical season consists of three productions (including one musical), along with special events. A Stone’s Throw Art Gallery (13 Big Blue Road, Kernville; 760376-2239) offers the unique artwork of local painters, photographers, sculptors and craftsmen. All work is original, for sale, and has a unique, contemporary feel. That same location is also home to Dan Mancini’s Fine Art & Photography, featuring paintings and photography by noted local artists. In cooperation with the Kern River Valley Art Association, the Kern Valley Museum Art Gallery (49 Big Blue Road, Kernville; 760-3766683) also exhibits the work of local artists. Displays change monthly and are available for purchase. Tehachapi Valley Arts Association (100 W. Tehachapi Blvd., Tehachapi; 661-822-6062) is comprised of area artists and craftsmen who create unique, high-quality gifts and decor. The Gallery-N-Gifts storefront includes original paintings, prints and sculptures displayed in a fine arts gallery. Pottery, photography, woodwork, hand-painted gifts, wearable art, hand-sewn quilts and soft home decor are among other items available seven days a week. The Mountain Communities boast the Work of Heart Gallery at Frazier Park (3011 Mt. Pinos Way.; 661-245-3548). This eclectic center features the works of local artisans in mediums including paints, beads, glass and more. Doors are open Friday through Sunday only, with items on display and available for sale. Tap into the diverse art scene to experience the essence of Kern County – an expression of both culture and heritage. 2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M



Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

Bakersfield Sound lives here


The sound America listens to has its roots right here. Kern County’s musical heritage lives on in its diversity. From notable music halls to major concert venues, from defining country music to carving out a new genre of hard-pounding rock, Kern County is home to it all. Any country music fan will tell you that Bakersfield is every bit Nashville’s equal. Home to the “Bakersfield Sound” pioneered by hometown heroes Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, this is the hotbed of Cowboy Swing. The life of a country music legend is still celebrated at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace (2800 Buck Owens Blvd.; 661-328-7560). This awardwinning theater, restaurant and museum stands as a lasting monument to the success of Bakersfield’s favorite son. Regular visitors to the Crystal Palace stage are top country stars like Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley, both of whom were heavily influenced by the Bakersfield Sound. This two-time Country Music Association Club of the Year continues to draw a host of nationally-known performers from the newly discovered to seasoned favorites. The Kern County Museum (3801 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield; 661852-5000) also celebrates this heritage in the museum’s main facility. A display among its revolving exhibits pays lasting tribute to the artists who shaped this innovative sound that shook the country music world. Trout’s Nightclub and Saloon (805 N. Chester Avenue; 661-3996700) stakes a claim as the last real Bakersfield honky-tonk saloon and


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Merle Haggard

dance hall. Here you’ll enjoy both kinds of music, Country and Western. Trout’s remains one of the few places you can still regularly hear that famous Bakersfield Sound. Each month, Trout’s boasts over 100 events on two stages, which means it features more live country than any “joint” in central California. Trout’s embodies more than 70 years of honky-tonk history. Performers such as Merle Haggard, Brooks and Dunn, Marty Stuart and John


Mellencamp have appeared here. With an archive of over 25,000 photos, its niche as one of California’s legendary clubs is undeniable. Ever mindful of the region’s history, Trout’s Blackboard Stage is named after one of Bakersfield’s most famous musical landmarks. Bakersfield’s music scene may be more than a little bit country, but its most noteworthy local band is definitely beyond rock and roll. Korn, which began as the Bakersfield-based metal band LAPD, launched an alternative metal sound that has made the group among the most popular and provocative to emerge during the post-grunge era. For Korn fans, the access road behind Rabobank Arena (1001 Truxtun Avenue; 661-852-7777) in downtown Bakersfield — now known as Korn Row — is a must-see, and the plaza in front of the arena bears a commemorative plaque celebrating its hometown boys. From a revolutionary country music past to its ties to a hard-rocking present, Kern County continues to foster its local talent. Its stages and clubs are a great place to enjoy the vibe and spot the next rising star.

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“Real” Old West found in Kern

Rankin Ranch


As one of the last great outposts of the original “Wild West,” Kern County proudly pays homage to the days of the pack mule and the wagon train. The era when wagons pulled ore (and people) across the Mojave Desert comes alive again at the Borax Visitors Center (14486 Borax Road; 760-762-7588) and Twenty Mule Team Museum (26962 Twenty Mule Team Road; 760-762-5810), both in Boron. The visitors center is where you’ll find that borax still has a place in many of the goods we use today. The museum celebrates the early history of the mine and its people. If active relaxation is more your speed, visit historic Rankin Ranch (23500 Walker Basin Road, Caliente; 661-867-2511). Cozy mountain cabins are the best place to rest up after horseback riding, swimming and hiking. With daily maid service and the beauty of the surrounding Walker Basin, Rankin Ranch takes getting away from it all to a new level. To experience army life in the Old West, head to Fort Tejon State Historic Park (4201 Fort Tejon Road; 661-248-6692) near Lebec. Once the headquarters of the United States Army Dragoons and Camel Corps, the park now includes an interpretive center and regularlyscheduled Civil War battle re-enactments. Here the Old West is accurately re-created through living history demonstrations scheduled periodically throughout the year. Silver City Ghost Town (3829 Lake Isabella Blvd.; 760-379-5146) at Bodfish boasts 21 historic buildings presented in a state of “arrested decay” to show how gold outposts looked after the ore ran out and min-


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Silver City Ghost Town

ers moved on. However, residents who once lived here are rumored not to have moved on entirely. Many believe that Silver City is haunted, and the site is listed in the National Directory of Haunted Places. Randsburg is the quintessential “living ghost town.” The local populace has preserved the look and feel of the early mining days: no stop lights, no gas stations, no malls and no outside interference. It’s the ultimate get-away experience. For the cowboy at heart, the Cowboy Memorial and Library

(40371 Walker Basin Road; 661-867-2410) at Caliente features a handson museum dedicated to preserving the heritage of the American Cowboy. Both 19th and 20th-century memorabilia are showcased here. Kern County Museum in Bakersfield (3801 Chester Ave.; 661-8525000) features a collection of more than 56 historic exhibits assembled in a 16-acre park. Storied buildings throughout the county have been collected and reassembled in a town-like setting. Step back in time by entering an authentic blacksmith shop, court house, jail, stage office or school house. Visit Kern County to experience the authentic Old West.

Museum Hours:

Thursdays-Sunday, 10am-4pm 49 Big Blue, Kernville, CA 93238 (760) 376-6683 Sponsored by the Kern River Valley Historical Society

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A rich cultural history


Kern County‘s history is preserved in BAKERSFIELD Buena Vista Museum of Natural History 2018 Chester Avenue its museums and cultural exhibitions. Phone: 661-324-6350; Web Site: Celebrate the cowboy lifestyle, contriExplore local paleontology, geology and butions to technology and industry, and anthropology with this one-of-a-kind collection the cultures that made the county what of natural artifacts. Its laboratory is a working it is today. learning center where trained volunteers clean, Please contact the facility of your repair, reconstruct and choice for specific tour information. otherwise preserve fossils and other articles of natural history. The museum is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and by appointment.

Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

California Living Museum

10500 Alfred Harrell Highway Phone: 661-872-2256; Web Site: Located on 14 park-like acres, California Living Museum features over 80 animal species indigenous to Kern County. Get personal with an albino king snake, desert tortoise, San Joaquin kit fox or road runner.

Shafter Depot Museum


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Visitors Center, perched on the lip of California’s largest open-pit mine. The center details the role of mining and minerals in visitors’ daily lives. Delve into the geology of the pit, the mining and processing of borate ores, and discover the hundreds of products from detergent to fiberglass that use borax. Check out the collection area, where guests can gather their own minerals. An original Twenty Mule Team wagon adorns the entrance. The Borax Visitors Center is open seven days a week (except holidays) from 9 am to 5 pm.

Twenty Mule Team Museum

Exhibits also include habitat for bears, birds of prey and several species of foxes. The latest addition, opened in January of 2011, features habitat for the park’s resident mountain lions. Younger visitors will also enjoy the deer yard and underground reptile house. CALM is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm through most of the year, with gates closing at 4 pm November through January.

26962 Twenty Mule Team Road Phone: 760-762-5810; Web Site: The Twenty Mule Team Museum honors the 1880s when muledrawn carts hauled more than 20 million pounds of borax out of Death Valley. The museum also holds artifacts from local history. Exhibits include a 1930s kitchen, a 1930s beauty shop, a granite rock and drill display, an ore bucket used to haul borax, a two-man mining exhibit, and a Santa Fe Railroad Depot. Located adjacent to the Vernon P. Saxon Aerospace Museum, the Twenty Mule Team Museum is open seven days a week from 10 am to 4 pm.

Kern County Museum

Colonel Vernon P. Saxon Jr. Aerospace Museum

3801 Chester Avenue Phone: 661-852-5000; Web Site: The 16-acre site features the Lori Brock Children’s Museum and crowd-pleasing outdoor exhibits with 56 restored historic buildings. The award-winning exhibition “Black Gold: The Oil Experience” pro-

26922 Twenty Mule Team Road Phone: 760-762-6600; Web Site: This is a must see for any aerospace and technology buff. The Saxon Aerospace Museum focuses on the flight history of Kern County’s “Aerospace Valley.” Located near Edwards Air Force Base, this region has witnessed thousands of experimental test flights for NASA, the United States Air Force and private industry. The museum celebrates achievements in flight that have taken place in the area including the first breaking of the sound barrier, the first hypersonic flight, world speed records for a winged aircraft, and the first landing of the Space Shuttle. Key displays at the museum include an F-4 Fighter and flight suits and helmets from different eras and countries. The facility is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm.

California Living Museum

CALIENTE Cowboy Memorial and Library

Kern County Museum

vides hands-on display that children and adults alike aren’t soon to forget. The museum’s main facility features regularly changing exhibits including a display paying lasting tribute to the Bakersfield Sound. Tours of the grounds are usually self-guided, but groups are encouraged to call ahead for a guided tour. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

BORON Borax Visitors Center 14486 Borax Road Phone: 760-762-7588; Web Site: View one of the richest borate deposits on the planet from the Borax

40371 Walker Basin Road Phone: 661-867-2410; Web Site: The Cowboy Memorial and Library endeavors to show people what life was really like for those who built the west. The museum features the largest collection of branding irons in the world along with varieties of saddles, spurs, hobbles, ropes and whips. There’s also an impressive outdoor display featuring a chuck wagon, buggy, western corral and other tools and trappings of trail life. Doors are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

FRAZIER PARK Ridge Route Communities Museum 3515 Park Drive Phone: 661-245-7747; Web Site: The Ridge Route Communities Historical Society is dedicated to collecting and preserving the history and artifacts in the mountains south of Bakersfield. Historical items may be viewed in the museum’s exhibit

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room and extensive files are available for visitors to view and research. Exhibits include the reconstruction of a settler’s cabin, a replica Chumash hut, and the depiction of a 1930s-era fueling station. Hours are seasonal: Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 pm in the summer, closing at 4 pm in winter.

dedicated to Native Americans, whose descendants still live here. Additional exhibits include real gold from the valley’s gold mining days, cowboy brands and blacksmithing tools. A video library features the invasion of Hollywood, celebrating the many famous early movies westerns that filmed in the region. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.



The National Chavez Center

Nuui Cunni Native American Cultural Center

29700 Woodford-Tehachapi Road Phone: 661-823-6134; Web Site: The National Chavez Center was established in 2004 as the official memorial dedicated to the legacy of activist Cesar Chavez. The visitor center is built around the renovated building where Chavez worked from 1971 to 1993 and showcases his office just as he left it. A theater screens films detailing Chavez’s life and his struggle to improve the conditions of farm workers. The exhibits on the 187-acre site are designed to educate people about Chavez’s methods of nonviolent conflict reconciliation and his call for social change. Its 17,000-square foot Villa La Paz Conference Center is a sprawling world class facility among the restored mission-style structures that can accommodate up to 400 guests, and lodging is available. The National Chavez Center is open from 10 am to 4 pm daily with the exception of major holidays.

2600 State Route 155 Phone: 760-549-0800; Web Site: The Nuui Cunni Native American Cultural Center is an intertribal center representing artifacts from the Paiute, Anasazi and Navajo people. The center, run by the Paiute Shoshone tribe, displays a collection of local artifacts including drums, beadwork and rotating exhibits. All visitors are welcome to make their own souvenirs during craft days, Wednesdays from 10 am to 2 pm. Dream catchers, beading, oil painting and gourd decorating are just a few of the authentic crafts created during these sessions. Tuesday evenings the center hosts the Pakanapul Language Class from 4 to 5 pm and Cultural Night from 5 to 7 pm. The Nuui Cunni Native American Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm until April, and remains open until 4 pm in the late spring and summer.



Kern Valley Museum

Weedpatch Camp

49 Big Blue Road Phone: 760-376-6683; Web Site: The history and legends of the Old West are remembered in the Kern River Valley, which retained its western authenticity long after most of California moved into the new millennium. The Kern Valley Museum offers docent-led special and educational tours. It also features displays

8701 Sunset Boulevard Phone: 661-832-1299; Web Site: Weedpatch Camp still exists beyond the history books, the family lore, and John Steinbeck’s classic novel The Grapes of Wrath. Woodframe buildings have replaced the camp’s original tin structures and tents that housed Dust Bowl survivors seeking a better life in California. This camp still houses migrant workers from April to September, but

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National Chavez Center


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tours are available by arrangement. Tours are tailored to the audience, though most include the original post office, library, and community building – all restored to their original condition.

MOJAVE Legacy Park 1434 Flightline Street Phone: 661-824-2433; Web Site: Located on the grounds of the Mojave Air and Space Port, America’s first official inland spaceport, is Legacy Park. Opened in 2008, the park is a living testament to the innovations developed here. A replica of SpaceShipOne, the civilian vehicle that captured the Ansari X Prize in 2004 by finally conquering sub-orbital space, is on permanent display, along with the massive Rotary Rocket roton, one of the first attempts at a reusable civilian space vehicle. The “Legacy Wall” commemorates those who sacrificed all in the pursuit of technological development. Legacy Park is always open.

RANDSBURG Rand Desert Museum 161 Butte Avenue Phone: 760-374-2359; Web Site: The Rand Desert Museum was founded in 1948 and is now a totally volunteer effort. Open weekends only (and major holiday Mondays) from 10 am to 4 pm, the museum is dedicated to preservation of the history of Randsburg and the gold, silver and tungsten rush that made it an Old West boom town. History artifacts and a gem and mineral collection highlight the exhibits. A walking tour of the surrounding “living ghost town” rounds out the experience.

RIDGECREST Maturango Museum 100 E. Las Flores Avenue Phone: 760-375-6900; Web Site: Trace the culture, nature and geology of the Mojave Desert and Indian Wells Valley. The Maturango Museum is famous for both on-site and off-site offerings. The nearby Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake is home to the most extensive collection of petroglyphs in the western hemisphere, which can be seen by the public only on authorized museum tours given on select weekends. Reservations are required due to security requirements, and tours are open to United States citizens only. The museum's collection of artifacts covers the entire history of the region, from meteorites that landed in the area to presentations on geothermal energy and mining operations. There are artifacts from native Californians, local minerals and fossils, and a hands-on children's discovery area. Maturango also hosts lectures, concerts and art exhibits featuring local talent. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily.

Maturango Museum

passes for entrance to the base are available for museum visitors. A quick security clearance is required to obtain access.

ROSAMOND Air Force Flight Test Center Museum and NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility 405 S. Rosamond Blvd, Edwards Air Force Base Phone: 661-277-8050; Web Site: Glimpse the exciting world of flight with this visit to Edwards Air Force Base, home to more flight records than any single location on the planet. From the breaking of the sound barrier to the first flights of the Space Shuttle, it’s all commemorated here. The day-long visit includes a walking tour at Dryden, a bus tour of the Edwards flight line, and a stop at the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum. This restricted zone opens its gates twice a month (on the first and third Friday), with special tours for large groups available by arrangement. Security clearance is required so reservations are a must.

Exotic Feline Breeding Compound 3718 60th Street West, Rosamond Phone: 661-256-3793; Web Site: Home to over 70 of the world's most endangered big cats, EFBC's Feline Conservation Center is a breeding zoo and research facility. Visitors can view some of the world’s most fascinating felines on a self-guided tour. There are no moats between visitors and the cats, and some

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United States Naval Museum of Armament and Technology 1 Pearl Harbor Drive, China Lake Phone: 760-939-3530; Web Site: The United States Naval Museum of Armament and Technology is a haven for technology buffs eager to view achievements in naval air armament. This is the largest collection of weaponry on display in the free world. The museum can be found on the base at the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station and is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm each Monday through Saturday (closed on federal holidays). Guest

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Continued from page 65 exhibits let you get close enough to count the whiskers. Special activities throughout the year include an annual “Kids Day” each November featuring interactive fun. Three times a year, Twilight Tours give visitors the opportunity to see these nocturnal predators during their most active hours. The compound is open to the public daily from 10 am to 4 pm (closed Wednesdays and major holidays).

Minter Field Air Museum

Insect Lore “Bugseum” and Visitor Center

SHAFTER Insect Lore ‘Bugseum’ and Visitors Center 132 S. Beech Street, Shafter Phone: 800-548-3284; Web Site: After fascinating children, families and educators for four decades, Insect Lore opened its doors to the world with a 2,500 square-foot “Bugseum” and Visitors Center. Ideal for children aged 4-12, visitors can learn about the life cycle of insects by seeing live tarantulas, scorpions, ladybugs, butterflies, a giant ant farm and more. Explore through an interactive microscope station and take a peek into Insect Lore’s ladybug and butterfly labs to discover how it grows, packs and ships insects all over the world. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm. Admission is free and large parties are welcome, but reservations are required for groups larger than eight.

Minter Field Air Museum 401 Vultee Avenue Phone: 661-393-0291; Web Site: Preserving the history of this World War II training base is the Minter Field Air Museum, a living testament to the role of aviation in the lives of the people of Kern County. Minter Field was a major training facility where nearly 12,000 pilots received basic instruction. The museum is housed in the former base fire station, the last remaining example of the original architecture. It houses aircraft, artifacts and exhibits including period vehicles, military uniforms and radio equipment. The museum is open Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm or by appointment.


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Shafter Depot Museum 150 Central Valley Highway Phone: 661-746-1557 Take a trip back to a time when rail was the only way to travel. The Shafter Depot Museum is an authentically restored railroad depot. Visitors are invited to use the working telegraph on display, while nearby a baggage wagon holds antique trunks from days gone by. The museum marks the railroad’s heyday with genuine articles such as freight waybills, tariffs and hoops used to hand orders up to passing trains. It also honors the local agricultural heritage, complete with farm machinery that represents the transition from hand and animal power to motorized machinery. The museum is open on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm, for special events, and by appointment.

TAFT The Historic Fort 915 N. 10th Street Phone: 661-765-7371; Web Site: Built of native adobe in 1940, this replica of Sutter’s Fort served as county, state and federal government offices before becoming a social center. In 1980, The Fort was dedicated as a State Historic Landmark and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The Fort currently houses a number of eclectic shops, a wedding chapel and historical library. Its grounds, complete with auditorium and gazebo, are the focal point of many local events. Guided tours are available for groups of five or more. The Fort is open 8 am to dusk, and is closed on major holidays.

West Kern Oil Museum 1168 Wood Street Phone: 661-765-6664; Web Site: Almost half of the oil in California comes from Kern’s oilfields. The West Kern Oil Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving and

exhibiting artifacts and equipment that tell the story of oil with particular emphasis placed on western Kern County, sharing the story of the communities and people affected by King Oil. The museum grounds depict daily life in the early oilfields. Exhibits range from an actual saber-toothed cat skeleton to memorabilia from the gushers and boomtowns that became part of oil lore. Tours are available for groups, large or small, upon request. The museum is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and from 1 pm to 4 pm on Sunday.

TEHACHAPI Tehachapi Museum 310 S. Green Street Phone: 661-822-8152; Web Site: Located in the heart of historic downtown Tehachapi, the Tehachapi Museum celebrates the diversity of the area and its history with exhibits ranging from the Ice Age to the flapper era; from Spanish missionaries to bandits; and from connecting the continent by rail to the discovery of gold. This museum details the unique place its community holds in American history. Tehachapi’s cowboys and Indians are marked alongside the museum’s Kawaiisu exhibit, featuring the Native American culture which thrived in the Tehachapi area over 2,000 years ago. Major events, such as the 1952 Tehachapi Earthquake (a 7.3 magnitude temblor comparable to the great San Francisco quake of 1906) are also profiled. Doors are open Friday through Sunday from noon to 4 pm and by appointment.

West Kern Oil Museum

Be Surprised The Bakersfield Museum of Art is truly a hidden gem with an array of California art plus rotating exhibits for every taste - from Dalí to Rembrandt to Asian wor ks. Enjoy a leisurely af ter noon, family outing or hold a special event. Visit the Bakersfield Museum of Art. You’ll be surprised at what you find. 1930 R Street • Bakersf ield, CA 93301 661-323-7219 • w w

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T William Thomas Air Terminal

Getting you there from here


Despite its immense size, Kern County is easily accessible by air, rail or ground. Kern County is home to two airports that host commercial flights. Bakersfield’s William Thomas Air Terminal offers direct air service to and from major hubs at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and Houston. Inyokern Airport in Eastern Kern County also offers convenient connecting flights to and from the Los Angeles area. Back on terra firma, Kern County is easily accessible by train or bus. Amtrak’s San Joaquin line offers service at Bakersfield and Wasco, as well as travel from Los Angeles via Amtrak bus. Greyhound bus offers stops in Delano and Bakersfield. Once you’re here, county-operated Kern Regional Transit links many of Kern’s communities via 13 fixed bus routes. Perfer to drive yourself? Kern is served by four major north-south highways, allowing for easy movement by automobile. The San Joaquin Valley portion of the county is traversed by Interstate 5 and State Route 99. Separating near the Kern-Los Angeles County border, I-5 travels through the heart of the San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural zone while Freeway 99 picks up the valley’s major population centers. When trekking through Eastern Kern, use either State Route 14 or United States Highway 395 for north-south travel. Sometimes labeled the “Mammoth Express,” State Route 14 follows the Eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and connects Los Angeles with the RenoTahoe area. US 395 winds along Kern’s eastern border and is a major


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desert route connecting the southland with Ridgecrest and Death Valley. State Route 58 is the major east-west transportation route across the Southern Sierras. State Route 178 is subject to closure in inclement weather but offers a scenic drive through the Kern River Valley connecting Bakersfield with Ridgecrest and Death Valley.

Transportation Options AIR TRANSPORTATION William M. Thomas Air Terminal 3701 Wings Way, Bakersfield 661-391-1800 Inyokern Airport 1669 Airport Road, Inyokern 760-377-5844

BUS TRANSPORTATION Amtrak Bus 601 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield 661-395-3175

Greyhound 1820 18th Street, Bakersfield 800-231-2222 1112 High Street, Delano 800-231-2222 Kern Regional Transit (Schedule and fare information) 661-560-1733

RAIL TRANSPORTATION Amtrak 601 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield 661-395-3175 700 G Street, Wasco 1-800-USA-RAIL


Oil Worker Monument


Gushing with opportunities

Kern County is home to some of the richest oilfields in the world, and the petroleum industry has played a major role in shaping what the county is today. Taft is the site of the largest bronze statue in California, the 40-foot Oil Worker Monument that honors the hard-working men who built Kern County’s vast oil industry. The massive structure, found at the intersection of Supply Row and Sixth Street adjacent to a public greenbelt, is highlighted by three eight-foot bronze workers rendered in exquisite detail. Topped by a bronze derrick treated to look like wood, the monument not only looks realistic but is historically accurate -- right down to nuts and bolts made the same size as those used to build derricks more than a century ago. Sculptor Benjamin Victor, a Taft native, achieved national prominence at age 26 when he became the youngest artist ever to have a sculpture displayed in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol. With expressive features, exquisite detail, dynamic gesture, and thought-provoking content, this latest work is sure to take its place among the great masterpieces of art history. The West Kern Oil Museum (1168 Wood Street, Taft; 661-7656664) provides yet another glance at oil’s historic significance through exhibits and relics. In the mid 1920s more than 7,000 wooden derricks covered the hilly landscape around this former boom town. By the late 1960s the relics were nearly gone, and preservation efforts gave birth to this worldrenowned museum. West Kern Oil Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting artifacts, books and equipment that tell the story of oil in California, with particular attention given to western Kern County. Exhibits turn the spotlight on the early oil companies, everyday


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life in the oilfields and oil camps, and the story of oil itself. The highlight of the eight-acre museum is a reconstructed wooden derrick which stands over an original well. A more-recent addition is the skeletal remains of a saber-toothed tiger, one of the earlier residents of the region. Also included is the re-creation of an old-time oil company camp. Early workers needed to live near the job site. Through the 1920s, oil companies provided self-contained cities: houses for families, bunkhouses for single men, a cookhouse and recreation hall, an office, and various company shops and warehouses. Other museum highlights include a botanical garden filled with native plants, antique equipment and vintage company vehicles. The museum is staffed by volunteers and supported by donations. Tours are available by arrangement. The $4 million world-class exhibition “Black Gold: The Oil Experience” at the Kern County Museum (3801 Chester Ave., Bakersfield; 661-852-5000) explains the science, technology and history behind the oil industry. The 9,640-square foot display features a complete look at the creation of oil and a historical overview of different methods of discovery and extraction. The cultural aspects of those trailblazers are also detailed with exhibits depicting the lifestyles and changing roles of industry workers and their families. The exhibit is interactive and intended for audiences of all ages. Highlights include a simulated undersea trip in a diving bell to learn how oil is formed, exploration into oil discovery and recovery, transformation of petroleum into recognizable products, and the many dangers of mining. Black Gold is open to both public and school tours. The exhibit is included with regular museum admission.


Speed reigns in Kern


A region that produced speedway favorites such as four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and Daytona 500 champion Kevin Harvick has to be the place to see auto racing at its finest. Five unique Kern County speedways offer a chance to see just about anything built for speed. Many a racing legend earned his stripes on the clay surface of Bakersfield Speedway (5001 North Chester Extension, Bakersfield; 661-3933373), billed as the “West’s Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval.” The speedway celebrates its 65th year in 2011 with the promise of dirt track action in a family-friendly atmosphere. Here you’ll find winged sprint cars, midgets, mini dwarfs, late models, modifieds, street stocks and hobby stocks trading paint throughout the year. Late models highlight the annual Memorial Day Classic in May, and the Bud Nationals dominate an action-packed October. Low gate fees keep the stands full on race nights, and camping (no hook-ups) is available. If burnouts, wheelie bars, and quarter-mile speeds up to 275 miles per hour thrill you, pay a visit to Auto Club Famoso Raceway (33559 Famoso Road, McFarland; 661-399-2210). Famoso boasts a year-round schedule of events, including the world-famous March Meet drags. The three-day speedfest attracts racers and spectators from all over the world to witness amazing racing and enjoy a hot rod show, swap meet, and vendors’ midway. The 2011 event is scheduled for the third weekend of March. National Hot Rod Association sponsors the California Hot Rod Reunion each October at Famoso. The weekend is filled with street rods, customs, and muscle cars. Lighting up the night during the reunion is the sensational “Cacklefest” as historic race cars line up side-by-side and ‘cackle’ simultaneously. Camping (no hook-ups), is available during


March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway

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Willow Springs International Motorsports Park

most events at no charge. Kern County’s desert has many gems, but most notable for speed enthusiasts is world-famous Willow Springs International Motorsports Park (3500 75th Street West, Rosamond; 661-256-6666). For over five decades, Willow Springs has entertained spectators and excited drivers with its multiple race courses. Whether you visit to race, improve your driving skills, watch or check out the pit area, the international complex will keep you coming back for more action. The 600-acre complex is home to seven tracks including the infamous Nine Turns of Willow Springs, a 2 1/2-mile loop with tight corners for thrilling racing plus long sweeping turns that allow cornering speeds of up to 170 miles per hour. The Streets of Willow Springs is a 1.8-mile road course, and Walt James Stadium is 3/8-mile oval with clay and pavement. Willow Springs Speedway is a lighted 1/4-mile paved oval, Horse Thief Mile is a one-mile road course with changing elevations and tight corners; The Balcony consists of a 1/4-mile paved autocross and drifting track; and a .625-mile, nine-turn paved kart track isn’t just for kids. Add in 160 acres of off-road terrain and the complex is capable of handling most any kind of racing action. American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association brings its threeday national event to Willow Springs each April. Take a trip back to Willow Springs in November for the Thunder of the Big Bore Bash, sponsored by the Vintage Auto Racing Association. Willow Springs is recognized as a California Point of Historical Interest and is a favorite with Hollywood. Don’t be surprised if the cameras start rolling during your visit. RV parking is available. Budget-friendly gate fees, unhindered spectator views, concessions and a gift shop make this a great stop. If getting behind the wheel is more your style, check out Buttonwillow Raceway Park (24551 Lerdo Highway, Buttonwillow; 661-7645333). Conveniently located off Interstate 5, the racing, testing and

teaching facility boasts 334 acres of fast fun. Indy car, sport car, vintage car, motorcycle and kart racing provide entertainment year round. The unique location makes this a favorite for Hollywood celebrities that want to experience life at 200 miles per hour, so visitors shouldn’t be surprised if they see a familiar face or two. Each March, the American Federation of Motorcycles brings the action to Buttonwillow. Watching more than 100 motorcycles make the first turn laying low to the track is a not- to-be-missed experience for any race fan. Time Attack, also held in March, brings hundreds of sports cars ready for the checkered flag, keeping spectators glued to their seats. One of the preferred racing and testing facilities in California, Buttonwillow Raceway includes three separate tracks that can be used in combination to create multiple challenging courses. With minimal walls, hazards, or commercial signage, viewing and photography are at a premium. Concessions, gift shop, low gate fees, RV hook-ups plus picnic and play areas make this a family-friendly attraction. Motocross, supercross, ATV and arena action take the spotlight at Honolulu Hills Raceway (26217 Honolulu Hills Road, Taft; 661-6231212). Just two hours north of Los Angeles, the raceway offers areas for practice, training and competition. The 160 acres of terrain includes sandy to hard-packed soil with varying elevation changes -- a must for any rider in need of challenge. The rolling hills and tight turns give riders and spectators a full view of upcoming thrills. The raceway hosts the World Off-Road Championships Series in late January with back-to-back weekends of quad and motorcycle competitions. In early February, the American Motorcyclist Association Grand Prix Series slings the mud, followed by the Road to Mammoth Qualifier at the end of the month. If you need more thrills, visit during the summer to watch Arenacross at nearby Franklin Field Arena -- the perfect venue for summertime night racing action. 2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M



HolidayLights at CALM




Contact for more info

Whiskey Flat Days




March Meet Drag Races




Scottish Gathering & Games




American Jousting Alliance Tournament & Faire Frazier Park



Bakersfield Jazz Festival




Desert Tortoise Days

California City



Kern River Valley Spring Nature Festival




Warbirds in Action Fly-In




California Amphibian and Reptile Celebration




Standing Bear Pow Wow




Wine in the Pines

Pine Mountain Club June


Mountain Shakespeare Festival

Pine Mountain Club July


Philippine Weekend




Fiesta Days

Frazier Park



Kern Valley Hummingbird Celebration




Tehachapi Mountain Festival




Four Winds Inter-Tribal Pow Wow




Great Kern County Fair




Kern Valley Autumn Nature Festival




Old West Days




Wasco Festival of Roses




Village Fest




California City Renaissance Festival

California City



California Hot Rod Reunion




Desert Empire Fair




Dust Bowl Days




Twenty Mule Team Days




HolidayLights at CALM





2 0 1 1 K E R N C O U N T Y V I S I TO R S G U I D E • V I S I T K E R N .C O M

Discover hidden treasure Buried deep in the Mojave Desert is one of the biggest and richest deposits of borax on the planet. You will also find the Borax Visitor Center. Travel back millions of years to when the deposit was being formed – see the original twenty mule team wagons we used to carry ore out of the desert in the 1800s – and fast-forward to modern times to watch real mining operations in action. For a map and directions, visit Borax Visitor Center and Gift Store Open daily 9 am to 5 pm, excluding major holidays 14486 Borax Road, Boron, CA 93516-2000 Phone: (760) 762-7588, Fax: (760) 762-7925 Email:

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Kern County Visitors Guide - 2011  
Kern County Visitors Guide - 2011  

Visitor Information for Kern County, California