Kern Valley is a real gem of an airstrip, located at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada around 37 nm north-east of Bakersfield. It’s an ideal starting point for budding backcountry pilots. Nestling between the mountains, the strip lies next to a lake and has its own campsite immediately adjacent to the runway. What more could a pilot ask for? And you won’t go hungry either! A small rustic cafe next to the airport serves delicious burgers in a cozy backwoods atmosphere. It’s best to approach the airport from the south, simply following the Kern River right to where it joins Lake Isabella. You will then be able to see the airstrip directly on the shore of the lake.
The hire car available at the airport has the same rustic charm as the cafe building. It’s probably about 25 years old, but still well capable of taking you anywhere you want in the vicinity. 3 miles north of the strip is Kernville, a small Western township with several restaurants and great opportunities for kayaking on the Kern River. So why not enjoy a different type of trip with your “crew”!
One thing to note: The last time I visited Kern Valley, the Avgas station wasn’t operational, but there were plans to re-open it in the immediate future. However, you might want to check on this beforehand.