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Lake Isabella in Eastern California

Susan Helene Kramer

 

Lake Isabella is an unexpected treat to experience in Kern County, California. It was formed when the Kern River was damned. The nearest big city is Bakersfield, located 35 miles to the southwest. Lake Isabella is a recreational lake and area, with tourism the main economic support.

 

Driving from the southern California coast city of Ventura along Route 101, take scenic route 33 through the eclectic town of Ojai, before heading east, over the mountain on route 150 toward Santa Paula. At the route 126 junction, drive east through Fillmore, until reaching the major north, south artery of route 5.

 

This is a good time to fill your gas tank as the drive from here to Lake Isabella will be more scenery than civilization.

 

Be sure you have enough water, both to drink, and for your car in case it overheats heading north into higher elevations. Buy food now, or pack a picnic for at least half a day so you donít arrive at the lake too hungry.

 

A hint: While driving in California you may cover vast distances between pit stops, so I bring along an ice chest of drinks and real food, like cartons of yogurt, plastic utensils, and fresh fruit, besides the bags of chips and trail mix. Donít forget tissues or wet wipes for comfort stops in an emergency. Wear sunglasses for the glare and bring a sun hat and sweater, both. Differences in elevation raise or lower the outdoor temperature.

 

Continuing the journey: When you reach route 5, turn north to Bakersfield, which upon reaching, you will have come about 125 miles from Ventura on the coast. In Bakersfield be on alert for the junction of route 178 heading east and slightly north-east about 35 miles to Lake Isabella.

 

On the map this may look like a short section of road compared to reaching Bakersfield, but it is the opposite of a freeway. It is narrow winding road in rising elevation through mountain passes lined with huge bare boulders.

 

When you wonder if it will ever end, there in front of you suddenly appears the gorgeous site of Lake Isabella. You made it! Driving this route Iíve just described I left Ojai at noon and arrived at Lake Isabella in early evening. There are motels around the lake and opportunities for sports on the lake such as kayaking, fishing, water skiing, and assorted camping opportunities. If you are there in summer and have come from the Los Angeles area or one of the deserts, enjoy the greenery and cooler temperatures here at 2,513 feet elevation.

 

It is a peaceful and serene location that Iíve enjoyed visiting twice.

 

Sources:

 

Rand McNally Road Atlas for driving route

 

Statistics:

 

Southern and Central California Atlas and Gazetteer: Detailed Topographic Maps by DeLorme

Camping Information: http://www.kernvalley.com/news/lakecamp.htm

 

Article and photo by Susan Helene Kramer

Copyright 2012-2015 Susan Helene Kramer
Santa Barbara, California USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Published by Creations in Consciousness
email  susan@susankramer.com
web site  http://www.susankramer.com

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page created May 4, 2013