california · camping · roadtrip · travel

Lake Isabella, California

We’re in a serious drought alright. The rivers are slowly drying up, lakes turning slowly into puddle, trees starting to die. I couldn’t help but look back on the trip we took in Lake Isabella when it was still a great place to look forward to during the summer days.

4 years ago, my husband and I were invited by our friends to go camping in Lake Isabella. My husband and I have been experimenting with camping alone together for couple of times so when our friends invited us, we were pretty stoked.

Lake Isabella is located in the end of Sierra Nevada, just about 2-3 hours away from Los Angeles, 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield. Lake Isabella is considered as one of the largest reservoirs in Southern California with over 11,000 surface acres which makes this reservoir as the main water supply for the City of Bakersfield. Fishing, boating, camping and a nearby river rafting adventure (Whitewater Kern River) is what makes Lake Isabella a total hit for a summer adventure.

Anyway, we camped at Boulder Gulch Campground, which we reserved days prior to our trip. My friends were able to get there earlier than us, which was good for me and my husband, because we’re the biggest procrastinator. Needless to say, they were able to reserve a great spot for our group next to a boulder that offered a great amount of shading during the day. The good side about camping at Boulder Gulch is it has a lake side access, potable water, clean flushed toilet bathrooms and coin operated showers. The down side, it is a popular campsite, so it gets pretty noisy during the day if you decide on taking a nap. At night, you can still expect a lot of noisy people (including us, LOL) drinking and blasting musics.


My sister had also arranged us a river rafting adventure for the next day. Which what I really needed because prior to that I had sworn off going on any fun exciting adventure after a post traumatic experience from parasailing in Catalina Island. The river rafting turned out to be so much fun and really easy compare to what they make it seem like when they educate you before going in. I remember just cheesing all the way while paddling through the rough water. I loved it. We went on the Beginners Run so the river that we went too wasn’t too extreme. The only thing I regret about booking  Beginner’s Run is that it was too short for such an exciting and fun adventure.

The next day it was time to leave. My friends left and headed home, but not the case for me and my husband. We stayed for a little bit and made ourselves some breakfast before leaving. It was still early for us to leave so we decided to see what else this place has to offer. We found out that there was a free nearby hot springs pool where we could dip in and since my husband has always been fascinated with hot springs we knew we had to check it out. So off we went to the hot springs, but as luck would have it, the place wasn’t available for us to dip. The place was not meant to be visit during spring time as the water level is to high. We were informed that this place is best to visit around September when the water level is not too high. We still lingered for a little bit to check out the place before we decided it is finally time to leave.

Just looking back on this memories just makes me feel really grateful that I was able to experience the lakes and rivers in Southern California even just for a little bit before the drought.

FYIs that’s worth sharing:

Boulder Gulch- They have shut down the coin-operated showers in all public campgrounds area to save water. Boulder Gulch is located in Hwy 155 just a short drive to Lake Isabella. It’s easy to spot and easy to find.

Lake Isabella-With the recent drought, the lake level has been so low that you could actually tell that it’s slowly turning into puddle. The shore has been far away from where it was in the past. So I’ve heard.

Whitewater Kern River Rafting– with the water level being to low I am not quite sure if this is still available. I don’t remember the name of the place we went to for river rafting adventure, but I do remember that it was cheap. I say we paid about $40-$60 person.

Anyways Im on instagram @babysephora and would love to follow you back there! Come by and say hi!


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