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Lake Isabella and Vicinity
Area/Bike Park

Lake Isabella and Vicinity

Lake Isabella and Vicinity

Page Type: Area/Bike Park

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 35.66845°N / 118.44841°W

Trail Type: Mountain

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter


Page By: Cedar

Created/Edited: Jan 29, 2008 / Feb 14, 2010

Object ID: 265781

Hits: 6895 

Page Score: 76.66%  - 7 Votes 

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Seagulls at Isabella
Seagulls may be found in large quantities along the shore.
Lake Isabella is a large resovoir nestled in the southern Sierras of California. The lake, the largest in Southern California (if you include it into it), is a host to thousands of flying seagulls which may be spotted flying all around the shoreline in winter (or at least that's when I saw them).

The resovoir is surrounded on all sides by minor towns and communities the largest of which is the same as the lake itself. These provide an easy place for logistics which is important to those going on multiday trips. These towns are serviced by a number of highways which provides easy access.

One of the most notable areas in this region would be the Giant Sequoia National Monument. It's southern extension reaches into the area from Sequoia/Kings Canyon to the north.

Getting There

Greenhorn in Winter
From San Fransisco, it is quickest (conditions depending) to access the lake through Greenhorn Summit. The summit also offers many excellent rides.
As said before, the region is surrounded by highways which connect the lake with everything else. These along with numerous sideroads provide access to countless trailheads which head off into the peaks.


Los Angeles or LA, is the largest city in California along with being the second largest (after New York) in the US. Despite the apparent remoteness of the lake, Isabella is, in fact, just 3 hours from the traffic congested freeways of downtown under typical circumstances.

Begin northbound on I-5 through the Grapevine down into the San Joaquin Valley. Exit CA-178 (24th Street) and head east up the Sierran foothills. in about 40 or so miles, the highway should reach Lake Isabella. For the majority of the trails, take CA-155 west around the west side of the lake. Then either turn left into the mountains at Evans Road (CA-155) or continue straight through Kernville then north onto Sierra Way to Giant Sequoia National Monument.

Head east on I-580 to I-205 east. Continue on I-205 to I-5 north and immediately take the next ramp on the right to CA-120 east to CA-99 south. Continue a few hundred miles (yes, it's a LONG way) to the city of Delano and exit at Garces Highway (CA-155). Heading east on CA-155 will eventually take you to Greenhorn Summit and then Lake Isabella.


The larnd surrounding Isabella is operated by either the National Forest Service or the BLM. It is free for entry and unless otherwise marked, biking is allowed on all singletrack trails in the region. Please respect private property which may be found immediently overlooking of the shoreline.


There are a number of campgrounds in the mountains surrounding the resovoir. Most of these are operated by the forest service. Please check here for a complete list:

NFS - Campgrounds

Fees are charged for most developed campgrounds. Undeveloped ones are on a first come first serve basis.

External Links

Below are a list of some interesting or must visit sites with the greatest priority ones listed first.

Kern County Parks - Lake Isabella's page on Kern County Parks including regulations and permits for other sports and activities.

Sequoia NF and Giant Sequoia NM - NFS'd site for Sequoia National Forest along with Giant Sequoia which surrounds and owns much of the land around the lake.

Isabella Village - Information on Lake Isabella, the village including further rules and any useful updates.

Lake Isabella Online - An informational site on the Kern River Valley communities.


Lake IsabellaGreenhorn SummitSeagulls at IsabellaKeyesville Classic 2000Bull Run Peak YurtKeyesville Classic 2000Descending Tobias Creek
Greenhorn SummitWhiskey Flat TrailGreenhorn in Winter