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The wild Kern River, which flows through Kernville en route from Mt. Whitney to Bakersfield, delivers some of the most exciting white-water rafting in the state. Kernville (population 1,700) rests in a mountain valley on both banks of the river and also at the northern tip of Lake Isabella (a dammed portion of the river used as a reservoir and for recreation). By far the most scenic town in this region, Kernville has lodgings, restaurants, and antiques shops. The main streets are lined with Old West-style buildings, reflecting Kernville's heritage as a rough-and-tumble gold-mining town once known as Whiskey Flat. Present-day Kernville dates from the 1950s, when it was moved upriver to make room for Lake Isabella. The road from Bakersfield includes stretches where the rushing river is on one side and granite cliffs are on the other.
Kernville at a Glance
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