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Lake Isabella
Sequoia National Forest

Lake IsabellaWelcome to Lake Isabella, one of the largest reservoirs in Southern California. This man made lake completed in 1953 offers over 11,000 surface acres for fishing, boating, water sports, camping, and picnicking. Its close proximity to Los Angeles and Bakersfield make it a popular year round vacation spot for Southern Californians.

Staying Overnight? Nestled around the Lake are 8 developed campgrounds offering more than 800 family units and 6 group areas. Group sites require reservations. All reservations can be made by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at 877-444-6777 (TDD 877-833-6777), or check their website at: at least 5 days prior to your arrival. A certain percentage of campsites also operate on a first-come, first-served basis. On the south shores of Isabella you can experience shoreline camping and day-use activities at Auxiliary Dam, Old Isabella Road, or South Fork Recreation Area for a fee.

Boating And Personal Watercraft. When operating on the lake every boat, personal watercraft & sailboard must display a permit. These permits may be obtained at any marina on the lake or at various locations throughout the Kern River Valley. The lake is also one of the state’s most popular windsurfing areas. Reliable afternoon winds from 35-50 miles an hour create ideal conditions for intermediate to advanced wind surfers. Be sure to check for required safety equipment.

Lake Isabella map

Recreation Service Partners

Kern County Parks and Recreation. Manages water surface recreation activities and the boating/watercraft permit system.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are responsible for flood control, irrigation, and water levels on the lake and river.

California Land Management (CLM). Most developed campgrounds and group camping areas around Lake Isabella operate under a concessionaire permit with CLM. For additional information, please visit or call their Hume Lake office at 559-335-2232, their Springville office at 559-539-3004, or their Lake Isabella office at 760-376-1815.

Nuui Cunni Native American Cultural Center. Kern River Paiute Council has entered into a partnership to manage and operate the “Nuui Cunni” Native American Intertribal Culture Center. This facility display’s Native American artifacts, crafts and art to promote and restore the culture and history of our local Indian Communities. 760-549-0800.

Marinas. Three full service marinas operate on the lake to provide fuel, food, fishing supplies and information. Check the anchor symbols on the map below the marina locations.

  • French Gulch Marina - Highway 155 - Pioneer Point, Lake Isabella -
  • North Fork Marina - Highway 155 - Tillie Creek, Wofford Heights -
  • Red’s Kern Valley Marina – Highway 178 – South Fork Recreation Area
Campgrounds Elevation Sites Season Max. Trailer Potable Water Remarks
Boulder Gulch 2600 78 Apr-Sept 45’ Yes Reservations available
Camp 9 Lakeside 2600 94 All Year No Yes First come, first serve
Camp 9 Lakeside Group 2600 15 All Year No Yes Reservations available
French Gulch Group 2550 Group only All Year No Yes Reservations available
Hungry Gulch 2600 78 Apr-Sept 30’ Yes Reservations available
Live Oak 2600 60 All Year 30’ Yes Reservations available
Paradise Cove 2500 138 All year 30’ Yes Reservations available
Pioneer Point 2500 78 All Year 30’ Yes Reservations available
Tillie Creek 2600 159 / 4 Group All Year 45’ Yes Reservations available
Live Oak Campground open for overflow on holiday weekends
Trails Trail # Elevation Miles Remarks
East Kern Canyon 32E75 2200-2400 8.5 Bicycles, fishing
Hobo Fishing 31E74 2800-2400 ½ fishing
Kern River 32E49 2000-2200 5.3 Bicycles permitted
Patch Corner 31E82 2200-2271 2 Bicycles permitted