Lake Isabella Sequoia National Forest

Lake Isabella Sequoia National Forest

Location: 4875 Ponderosa Drive, Lake Isabella, California, 93240
Lat/Long: 35.6456456 / -118.4774579
Phone No: (760) 379-5646
Website :
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Amenities Onsite: Campgrounds | Information Center | Marinas |
Amenities Nearby : Downtown Kernville | Downtown Lake Isabella | Fuel | Restaurants | Markets | Auto repair |
Recreation Onsite: Boating | Fishing |
Recreation Nearby: Rafting | Hiking | Biking | Road touring | Wildlife Viewing | Golf | Boating |


California, Lake Isabella and the Sequoia National Forest.  The address provided here is for the Information Center at the Lake Isabella dam.  Please see the Campbase map tab.


There are several roads that lead into the Lake Isabella recreation area, some are better than others.  Campbase traveled to Lake Isabella on Highway 178 from Bakersfield.  This is a very difficult, narrow, and winding highway for large RV's.  While cars may travel the highway easily, the overhanging rocks and sharp corners are difficult for larger RV's. One of the turns is just 15 MPH.  There are approximately 15 miles of winding road.  Speeds are low on this stretch of the highway however, pull outs are available.  Highway 178 leads right to the lake.

Campbase departed Lake Isabella on Highway 178 going east towards Mojave and Indian Wells.  The road is in good shape and average speeds are approximately 55 MPH.  There are no rock overhangs and most RV's have no trouble with this section of highway.  

The Calente/Bodfish highway runs between Lake Isabella and the small town of Calente near highway 58.  Campbase has not traveled on this highway however, it looks to be very winding and not well suited for large RV's.


Lake Isabella and the Sequoia National Forest. visited Lake Isabella and the surrounding campgrounds in 2015 during the fourth year of the California drought.  The lake level was extremely low making campgrounds that had been at the lakes edge over a mile from the water.  Large partially submerged trees can be seen all over the lake (please see the photos tab for the pictures).  In October 2015, many of the campgrounds around the lake were empty with no visitors.  Campbase visited over 20 different campgrounds near the lake.  Pictures and detailed information for each campground are provided here at  
There are two marinas on Lake Isabella.  French Gulch Marina and Reds Marina.  French Gulch is the larger of the two with boat slips, services, and facilities.  French Gulch is located near the dam on the southwest end of the lake.  Roads into French Gulch are dirt and steep, they are not suited for RV's, trucks or cars only.  Reds Marina also has dirt road access however, the roads are more level.  The entire marina is now completely on land due to the drought (see a photo under the PHOTOS tab.
Lake water levels are so low due to the California drought that trees protrude out of the water everywhere.  It would be dangerous to water ski or tow a tube under these conditions.  The lake can be best used for kayaking and fishing.  
There are over 20 campgrounds at or near Lake Isabella.  Campgrounds around the edge of Lake Isabella are all Sequoia National Forest campgrounds.  Most were waterfront campground at one time.  Several are now miles from water.  Most of the National Forest campgrounds are dry camping with only water and restrooms available for the camper.  There are also several private campgrounds near Kernville and on the Kern River.  Campgrounds located in Kernville have full hookups and big rig sites available.  
Lake Isabella Campgrounds
Campground Name  # of Sites Daily Fee Open Time Max RV Size Comments.   
Auxiliary Dam Campground          
Boulder Gulch Campground          
Camp 3 Campground          
Camp 9 Campground          
French Gulch Group Campground          
Hungry Gulch Campground          
Live Oak North Campground          
Live Oak South Campground          
Live Oak Group Campground          
Old Isabella Road Recreation Site          
Paradise Cove Campground          
Pioneer Point Campground          
Stine Cove Recreation Site          
Tillie Creek Campground           
Camp James 71        
Camp Kernville          
Rivernook Campground          
Frandy Campground          
Headquarters Campground          
Hospital Flat Campground          
Kern Valley Airport Campground          
South Fork Campground          
Hanging Flat Recreation Site          
Lake Isabella/Kern KOA          
Cellular and data service in the area is generally excellent. 
The Lake Isabella Visitor Center can be found at:  4875 Ponderosa Drive, Lake Isabella, CA 93240
The California Drought:
Campbase visited the Lake Isabella Recreqtion Area in the Fall of 2015.  The California drought has severely reduced the amount of water the lake receives.  Some campgrounds that had once been at the lakes edge are now over a mile from the water.  Large trees protrude out of the late everywhere.  It's believed the lake will fill again in the spring of 2016.  
Local Recreation:
Road touring and sightseeing are popular in Kernville and the Sequoia National Forest.  Sierra Way, also called Mountain Highwat 99 is a winding mountain road that winds through the Sequoia National Forest.  It's a great highway for motorcycles.  
The Kern River and Kernville are just a few miles from Lake Isabella.  Rafting, tubing, and fly fishing are popular in Kernville.  There are several adventure outfitters in the town of Kernville.  Fly fishing guides are also available.  Kernville has several restaurants and souvenir shops.

Other Near By Campgrounds

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