Bakersfield’s city parks are spread throughout Central California’s San Joaquin Valley. These public spaces include large shade trees and splash pads that provide green space and sun relief. Additionally, they provide a beautiful natural setting for escape from bustling and urbanised cities.
The city maintains over 60 parks, ranging from linear parks along cliffs to sprawling campuses with lakes and disc golf courses. Additionally, the park features an abundance of playground equipment, outdoor amphitheatres, and connections to the Kern River Parkway Trail.
Hart Park, which is a part of the larger Kern River County Park, is one of the first places in Bakersfield to visit. This expansive public space is Bakersfield’s crown jewel natural area, attracting the greatest number of visitors.
Nonetheless, as with all of Bakersfield’s greatest parks, there is ample room for independent exploration.
Take advantage of Central California’s sunny outlook with this list of the best parks in Bakersfield.
Hart Park is the defining outdoor space in Bakersfield and is one of Kern County’s oldest parks. It is located 15 minutes northeast of downtown. The park is reached via a scenic stretch of the Alfred Harrell Highway.
Hart Park covers an area of 370 acres and is nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The Kern River flows directly through the park, which is surrounded by numerous picnic areas and other significant natural features, including Hart Park Lake. The amenities in this area, such as picnic tables and walking paths, promote leisure time.
Additionally, Hart Park features two fantastic disc golf courses. One course winds through the park’s flat core and includes a hole that extends over the Kern River. On the other hand, the Shark Tooth Mountain Disc Golf Course ascends into the foothills for an 18-hole course that is challenging but enjoyable.
Hart Park is part of the Kern River County Park system. This sprawling property extends far beyond Hart Park. Among Bakersfield’s other notable attractions are Lake Ming and the California Area Living Museum (CALM). With so much to do in this area, plan on spending an entire day exploring all that Kern River County Park has to offer.
This public park on the western outskirts of the city is a work of art in terms of urban design. It is situated behind a popular retail area and was previously protected from commercial development. It was largely inaccessible for many years, but is now one of the city’s most popular and beautiful public parks.
The 32-acre Park at River Walk is connected to the city’s Kern River Parkway Trail. Two lovely lakes are interconnected by an artificial creek that circulates the water. This aquatic landscape is characterised by beautiful bridges, fountains, and flowing pedestrian paths.
The park’s most popular attraction is the Bright House Networks Amphitheatre. This eye-catching outdoor arena holds concerts and community events throughout the year. It has cutting-edge lighting and sound equipment and can accommodate thousands of people for events.
Panorama Park is a well-known linear park located on the city’s northeast outskirts. As the name implies, the park is perched atop a bluff overlooking the Kern River Valley and offers a breathtaking view, especially around sunset.
The park stretches for almost a mile along the cliff’s edge, with parking on both sides. Additionally, there is ample parking along Panorama Drive, directly adjacent to the bluff. Numerous picnic tables and trash cans along the park’s promenade, allowing enough opportunities to sit and enjoy the sights.
Within the park, walkers may create a two-mile loop. The trail alternates between a paved section above the cliff and a lower dirt pathway with a minor elevation gain. Without much shade, Panorama Park’s midday summer heat may be oppressive. Nonetheless, additional trail users are likely to be encountered on most days.
From Panorama Park’s peak, visitors can overlook the vast oil fields that have sustained the local economy for years.
Additionally, the Kern River is visible, as is the vegetation that along its banks. Drive down the cliffside and across the river to the Panoramic Vista Preserve to get a better look at this riparian corridor.
Beach Park is one of the most visible parks in Bakersfield. It is situated at the intersection of 24th and Oak Streets, just across from the Golden State Highway (California State Route 99). Due to its visibility, the park is a popular gathering spot during pleasant weather.
Beach Park is a vast grassy area with playgrounds, picnic shelters, and an expansive bocce ball complex.
The playground is enormous and contains both traditional and contemporary components such as slides and climbable structures. The park also features a popular skate park in its northwest corner.
Additionally, the park is bound by the Kern River and the Kern River Parkway. Beach Park is a popular staging area because to its proximity to the trail. Frequently, visitors ride their bicycles to Beach Park to begin a north or southbound cycling journey.
Central Park at Mill Creek is a lushly landscaped park located on the southwestern outskirts of city. It is downtown’s lone park and is designed in a linear fashion along what was once an irrigation canal between Truxtun Avenue and 21st Street.
Both Mill Creek and Central Park underwent significant rehabilitation in the early 2000s. The once-industrialized district now has an eye-catching beauty thanks to water fountains and manicured walkways. Among the enhanced vistas is Central Park’s reconstructed Mill Creek Bridge.
Central Park is mostly a linear park that is best experienced on foot. Picnic tables are located throughout the route, allowing opportunities to sit and observe the river flow. From the west edge of Central Park, a green space with new playground equipment and restrooms extends.
Visitors should schedule time to see the Bakersfield Museum of Art while in Central Park. This not-for-profit institution is located in Central Park and features various galleries in addition to an outdoor sculpture garden.
The Kern River Trail extends approximately 30 miles through Bakersfield, connecting several public parks along the way. It follows the banks of the Kern River, a drainage system for the Sierra Nevada Mountains that is usually dry by the time it reaches the city. Even in this arid riparian corridor, the ecology around the path is rich with plants and creatures.
The trail’s middle segment continues into Bakersfield and links various municipal parks. Beach Park, Panoramic Park, and the Park at River Walk are just a few of the delights along the route.
These parks serve as perfect staging places for getting on the road or as wonderful pitstops throughout a day of touring. Truxtun Avenue also offers various more access places, such as Truxtun Park.
The route begins and concludes in the city’s outer suburbs. The eastern terminus lies near the Kern River Oil Field, one of California’s largest such complexes. The western terminus is located far out in the distance, at the Kern County Raceway Park. There are restrooms and parking places at both trail endpoints.
Beale Park is a nice public park located south of downtown in the Oleander/Sunset neighbourhood. It’s one of Bakersfield’s oldest parks, and it’s still a favoured area for families to meet. It’s also a popular meeting area for wild parakeets, as it’s home to a swarm of these brilliant birds.
There are several children’s facilities at the park, including a playground and a splash pad. It also features plenty of green space and hundreds of picnic tables for people who want to eat alfresco. Adults use the park as well, taking advantage of the basketball courts, open green space, and tennis courts.
The Beale Park Band provides free concerts in the park’s outdoor Greek Theatre. Throughout the summer, these community shows are frequently hosted on Sundays.
The Bakersfield Municipal Band, better known as the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, is largely made up of members of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra.
This pleasant local park is located west of downtown on Truxton Avenue. It comprises of roughly nine acres of flat green land intermingled with park elements such as a playground, amphitheatre, and splash pad.
The park is typically peaceful, however it regularly holds outdoor birthday celebrations on weekends. The modern playground is particularly popular with families who visit throughout the week.
Otherwise, come to Jastro for some peace and quiet outside. Jastro Park’s tennis courts were been rebuilt for recreational pickleball.
Emerald Cove Park is a picturesque 12-acre public area in the Fruitvale suburb west of downtown. It offers various family-friendly activities, such as a huge playground set and picnic spots.
The park is particularly well-known for its vast green area, which is great for field activities and sunbathing.
Basketball and tennis courts, a splash pad, and horseshoe pits are all accessible in the park. It’s a more tranquil park than other strategically placed metropolitan areas, making it a hidden gem for those wishing to escape crowds. The absence of tourists also makes it easy to book the park’s covered picnic shelter.
Silver Creek Park, located southwest of downtown, is a significant municipal park. It features plenty of open space as well as facilities such as two playgrounds and picnic spaces. It also contains the Silver Creek Park Pool, which includes six lanes of swimming and a wading pool. The pool is open from June until the end of August. There are lifeguards on duty.
Silver Creek Park also contains a community facility that may be booked. This covered facility comprises a conference room, a kitchen, and a big outside pavilion that is illuminated at night. When the community centre is not in use, the pavilion serves as a lit basketball court. Reservations for the community facility must be made at least three weeks ahead of time.
Silver Park also includes an introductory nine-hole course for disc golfers to practise on. Each hole isn’t extremely long, but it presents a variety of mid-range and putter shots. When playing disc golf, disc golfers must keep a look out for other park users.