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September 11, 2012

Lake Isabella: Isabella and Kernville

Lake Isabella is a reservoir in Kern County, California created by the earthen Isabella Dam. It was formed in 1953 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Kern River at the junction of its two forks at Whiskey Flat. At 11,000 acres, it is one of the larger reservoirs in California.  Lake Isabella is located about 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield, and is the main water supply for that city. The former towns of Isabella and Kernville were flooded by the newly created reservoir.   Wikipedia

Unfortunately there are no photos available online.  If you happen to have any photos or stories you would like to share on this site, please send us an email at info(at) or post in the comments below.


In low level lake years, these towns like to show themselves.  Such was the case in 2004 when the ghost town of Kernville, including an old bridge, and the foundations of the schoolhouse and church emerged.

There is a video though!  In 2009 the water levels were low.  Some of Old Kernville can be seen in this amateur video:

The ruins can been seen between 1:50 and 3:30.


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  1. Very cool website! Thank you for linking my page on Hwy 178, though the link has changed:

    It is good to see others out there documenting this stuff. It is fading fast!

  2. Michael - I updated the link. Sorry it took so long.

  3. There is a train at the bottom of the lake


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