23ABC Community Connection


Proposed trail network would provide greater access to hiking in Kern Canyon

The Kern Gateway Trail would open up existing trails now only used by Caltrans and Southern California Edison for use by the general public.
Kern River (FILE)
Posted at 10:01 PM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 12:53:55-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Sustainable Kern River Coalition released a map of the Kern River Corridor on Wednesday, March 1. The map illustrates the many recreational opportunities made possible and supported by Kern River water.

From the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Whitney, through the wild and scenic Kern River in Sequoia National Park & Forest, down to Lake Isabella, Lake Ming, and Hart Park, these and other recognizable landmarks are featured on the map, coupled with descriptions of each feature and the many recreational amenities they have.

Now, a group of Kern community members are hoping to make hiking the Kern Canyon a bit more accessible, with trails closer to the mouth of the canyon. Calling it the Kern Gateway Trail, the group seeks to open trails that are already in place for Caltrans and Southern California Edison to use to the general public.

Branden Dunn is one of the community members advocating for the creation of the Kern Gateway Trail. He explains what would make the new proposed trail different from others already established.

"It is really here from the mouth, the first 15 to 16 miles. The most dramatic viewpoints of the canyon, and while there might be some other hiking trails established further in, we didn't have those amazing, dramatic vistas looking down onto the river, with these crazy drop-offs to really show the whole view of the canyon like that," said Dunn.

For anyone who is interested in viewing the proposed trail site, it has not yet been made safe for people to go without a guide. The group advocating for the building of the Kern Gateway Trail is instead offering to lead people through the site on Saturday, March 4 (weather permitting).

The hike will start from the Upper Richbar Picnic Area along Highway 178 at 9:00 am. If you are interested in seeing the site, you can RSVP for the hike at the Kern Gateway Trail website.