Kernville, California

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Kernville is a census-designated place (CDP) in the southern Sierra Nevadas, in Kern County, California, United States.[1] Kernville is located 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Bakersfield,[2] at an elevation of 2667 feet (813 m).[1] The population was 1,736 at the 2000 census.



The Kern River, Kernville and the Kern Valley they occupy were named after artist and topographer Edward Kern, who accompanied John C. Fremont on his 1845 expedition. They camped at what was a fork of two rivers, now the middle of Lake Isabella. An 1848 gold rush led to the formation of a town called Rogersville, which was later renamed Whiskey Flat after the introduction of bars.[citation needed] In 1861, the town was renamed Kernville.

After decades of planning, the Isabella Dam project began in 1948. As a result, Kernville was moved upstream to its present location at the tip of the northeast fork of the man-made lake. The town has since continued to maintain its gold rush and old west roots to attract tourists and take advantage of nearby natural scenery and activities. The town's original location is slightly east of Wofford Heights. Foundations and such can still be seen when the lake is low. The famous Mountain Inn, built mainly to house movie stars and crew before the 1948 move, is now (partially) at the new Kernville, renamed the River View Lodge.[3]

Whiskey Flat Days is the annual celebration of the historic wild west days of the area. Parade, wild west shootouts and historic camps, carnival, vendors and rodeo or just part of the festivities put on every President's Day weekend and attended by thousands of visitors.

The post office, established at the original site in 1868 was moved to the new site in 1951.[2]

Points of interest

Kernville has a large tourist industry centered on the white water rapids of the Kern River. While white water rafting is the main attraction, one can also enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities. Fly fishing is also popular; in particular, the golden trout is highly sought after for catch and release fishing. Downtown Kernville has an Old West look and contains a number of restaurants, antique shops and motels. The Kern Valley Museum[4] houses a collection of historical items and displays. The nearby Kern Valley Airport is a popular general aviation destination for pilots, with on-site services including riverside camping and restaurant. The Needles granite formations about 25 miles toward the northern end of the valley are visible from some higher elevation locations.

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