Bakersfield’s city parks are located across the San Joaquin Valley in Central California. These public spaces provide green space and sun relief in the form of huge shade trees and splash pads. They also give a beautiful natural location to escape from the bustling and urbanised cities.
Over 60 parks are maintained by the city, ranging from linear parks along a cliff to vast campuses with lakes and disc golf courses. Other prominent park amenities include extensive playground equipment, outdoor amphitheatres, and linkages to the Kern River Parkway Trail.
Hart Park, part of the larger Kern River County Park, is one of the first locations to visit in Bakersfield. This large public space is Bakersfield’s crown jewel natural environment, and it attracts the most visitors. Nonetheless, like with all of Bakersfield’s greatest parks, there’s plenty of room to explore on your own.
With this list of the best parks in Bakersfield, you can take advantage of Central California’s sunny outlook.
1. Hart Park.
Hart Park is Bakersfield’s defining outdoor space and one of Kern County’s oldest parks. It is located northeast of downtown and is a 15-minute drive away. The final portion of the drive to the park is via a lovely stretch of the Alfred Harrell Highway.
Hart Park is 370 acres in size and is located between the Sierra Nevada foothills. The Kern River runs straight through the park, which is surrounded by plenty of picnic areas and other important natural features such as Hart Park Lake. This area’s amenities, such as picnic tables and walking routes, encourage leisure time.
Hart Park also has two fantastic disc golf courses. One course traverses the park’s flat core, featuring a hole that throws over the Kern River. The Shark Tooth Mountain Disc Golf Course, on the other hand, rises into the foothills for a hard but enjoyable 18-hole course.
Hart Park is a section of Kern River County Park. This vast property goes well beyond Hart Park. Other noteworthy Bakersfield attractions include Lake Ming and the California Area Living Museum (CALM). With so much to do in this location, set aside a whole day to see all Kern River County Park has to offer.
This public park on the city’s western outskirts is a stunning example of urban design. It’s located behind a popular retail area and was protected from commercial development a long time ago. For many years, it was mostly inaccessible, but it is now one of the city’s most popular and beautiful public parks.
The Park at River Walk is 32 acres in size and links to the city-wide Kern River Parkway Trail. Among its planted surrounds are two lovely lakes linked by an artificial creek that circulates the water. This water environment has gorgeous bridges, fountains, and flowing pedestrian routes.
The Bright House Networks Amphitheatre is the park’s most popular attraction. Throughout the year, this eye-catching outdoor arena hosts concerts and community activities. It contains cutting-edge lighting and sound technology and hosts events for thousands of people.
Panorama Park is a prominent linear park on the city’s northeast edge. The park, as the name indicates, sits atop a bluff overlooking the Kern River Valley and provides a stunning view, especially around sunset.
The park runs for about a mile along the cliff, with parking spaces on both sides. There is also plenty of parking along Panorama Drive, right adjacent to the bluff. Several picnic seats and garbage cans flank the park’s promenade, providing plenty of places to sit and take in the scenery.
A two-mile trip within the park allows walkers to make a loop. The path follows a paved stretch atop the cliff as well as a lower dirt pathway with negligible elevation increase. Without much cover, the mid-day summer heat of Panorama Park may be suffocating. Nonetheless, other trail users may be expected most days.
The huge oil fields that have supported the local economy for years may be seen from the summit of Panorama Park. The Kern River is also visible, as is the flora that surrounds its banks. To get a closer look at this riparian corridor, drive down the cliffside and across the river to the Panoramic Vista Preserve.
Beach Park is one of Bakersfield’s most noticeable parks. It is located at the crossroads of 24th and Oak Street, right adjacent to the Golden State Highway (California State Route 99). Because of its visibility, the park is a popular gathering place when the weather is favourable.
Beach Park offers a huge grass area with facilities such as playgrounds, picnic shelters, and a large bocce ball complex. The playground is massive and includes both conventional and modern elements such as slides and climbable structures. In its northwest corner, the park also has a popular skate park.
The park is also bordered by the Kern River and the Kern River Parkway. Because of its closeness to the path, Beach Park is a popular staging spot. Visitors frequently bring their bikes to Beach Park to begin a north or southbound cycling trip.
Central Park at Mill Creek is a lushly designed park on the outskirts of downtown. It is the only park in downtown and has a linear design that follows what used to be an irrigation channel between Truxtun Avenue and 21st Street.
Mill Creek and Central Park both had major restorations in the early 2000s. With water fountains and planted walks, the once-industrialized region now has an eye-catching charm. The rebuilt Mill Creek Bridge in Central Park is one among the improved landscapes.
Central Park is mostly a linear park that is best enjoyed by walking. Picnic seats along the trail, providing places to sit and watch the water flow. Green area runs from the west side of Central Park, replete with new playground equipment and bathrooms.
When visiting Central Park, visitors should make time to visit the Bakersfield Museum of Art. This non-profit museum is located near to Central Park and features multiple galleries as well as an outdoor sculpture garden.
The Kern River Trail runs through Bakersfield for 30 miles, linking various public parks along the route. It follows the Kern River’s banks, which is a drainage for the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is frequently dry by the time it reaches the city. Even in this parched riparian corridor, the ecosystem around the walkway is teeming with plants and fauna.
The trail’s middle section runs into Bakersfield and links numerous municipal parks. Beach Park, Panoramic Park, and the Park at River Walk are just a few of the highlights along the journey. These parks serve as ideal staging areas for getting on the route or as wonderful pitstops throughout a day of touring. Truxtun Avenue also has several additional access sites, such as Truxtun Park.
The route begins and finishes in the city’s outlying areas. The eastern end is at the Kern River Oil Field, one of California’s largest such complexes. The western end is located far out in the distance, at the Kern County Raceway Park. There are facilities and parking sites at both trail ends.
Beale Park is a wonderful public park located south of downtown in the Oleander/Sunset district. It’s one of Bakersfield’s oldest parks, and it’s still a favourite spot for families to gather. It’s also a famous gathering spot for wild parakeets, since it’s home to a swarm of these bright birds.
There are various children’s facilities in the park, including a playground and a splash pad. It also boasts plenty of green space and hundreds of picnic tables for those who like to eat outside. Adults visit the park as well, taking advantage of the basketball courts, open green space, and tennis courts.
The Beale Park Band performs free concerts at the park’s outdoor Greek Theatre. Throughout the summer, these community shows are usually held on Sundays. The Bakersfield Municipal Band, popularly known as the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, is mostly made up of members of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra.
This nice neighbourhood park is located west of downtown on Truxton Avenue. It consists of around nine acres of flat green area interspersed with park features such as a playground, amphitheatre, and splash pad.
The park is relatively quiet, though it frequently hosts outdoor birthday parties on weekends. The contemporary playground is extremely popular with families who visit throughout the week. Otherwise, come to Jastro for some peace and quiet outside. Jastro Park’s tennis courts were recently renovated for recreational pickleball.
Emerald Cove Park is number nine.Emerald Cove Park is a lovely 12-acre public space in the Fruitvale neighbourhood west of downtown. It has several family-friendly attractions, such as a large playground set and picnic areas.
The park is also well-known for its open green space, which is ideal for field sports and sunbathing.
Basketball and tennis courts, a splash pad, and horseshoe pits are also available at the park. It’s a more peaceful park than other centrally located city spaces, making it a hidden gem for those looking to avoid crowds. The lack of crowds also makes it easier to reserve the park’s covered picnic structure.
Silver Creek Park, located southwest of downtown, is a large city park. It has plenty of open space as well as amenities such as two playgrounds and picnic areas. It also houses the Silver Creek Park Pool, which has six lanes of swimming and a wading pool. The pool is open from June to the end of August. There are lifeguards on duty.
Silver Creek Park also has a community centre that can be reserved. This covered area includes a meeting room, a kitchen, and a large outdoor pavilion that is illuminated at night. When the community centre is not in use, the pavilion doubles as a lighted basketball court. Reservations for the community centre must be made at least three weeks ahead of time.
Silver Park also has an introductory nine-hole course for disc golfers to practise on. Each hole isn’t particularly long, but it provides a variety of mid-range and putter shots. When playing disc golf, disc golfers must keep an eye out for other park visitors.