Despite being a relatively small city, Bakersfield has over 60 parks and tight-knight communities, making it an excellent place for nature lovers and young families moving to California.
One of the most beloved public parks is the Riverwalk Bakersfield, which is a 32-acre recreational ground that features two lakes connected by a stream. It also sits right next to the Kern River Bike Trail and provides easy access to the Calloway Drive Interchange for the Westside Parkway.
When the land between the Stockdale Highway, Buena Vista Road, and the Kern River was being developed for commercial and residential use, an odd-shaped lot with a limited street access was inadvertently created. Consequently, the developer decided to donate this land to the City of Bakersfield in 1995.
After years of planning and development, the park was opened to the public in 2006.
Activities You Can Do in Riverwalk Park Bakersfield
Bring your fishing gear.
The public park contains two large lakes that have a combined surface area of around 5 acres and act as a recharge basin for groundwater. Over the years, the lower lake, which is the smaller of the two, has become a popular fishing spot among local residents.
The lower lake is the venue for the city’s annual event called Fishing Derby in which the Kern County Sheriff’s Office restocks the water with hundreds of pounds of fish like rainbow trout, crappie, largemouth, and other native species.
Some of the fish are tagged, and if you caught one of them, you’d get a $200 cash price. Awards are also given to anglers who can catch the top three largest fish.
The Kern County Sheriff started this annual event in 2004 to raise funds to support several youth development programs.
Note: The ingenious design of the lakes and streams ensures that no water is wasted. The water source is actually from the groundwater recharge basins from the Pioneer Canal, and the “surplus” goes back to the mighty Kern River.
- Attend concert and movie screenings.
At the heart of the park sits the Bright House Amphitheater, a 4,000-person outdoor venue for concerts and movie screenings. From afar, the stage looks like an island surrounded by a lake and a running stream in front.
The stage itself is made of rock and steel designed to appear like an island surrounded by water that separates it from the audience. While it has a 3,000 square feet space and over 28 feet cross beams to accommodate lighting and sound equipment, the space is versatile enough to be converted into a venue for smaller, more intimate concerts.
Take a relaxing stroll.
The park contains native plant species and shade trees which makes it perfect for your morning or afternoon stroll, especially during weekdays when there are only few visitors.
Meanwhile, Riverwalk Park is a pet-friendly public park, so you may want to bring along your dogs and let them take a dip in the lakes or streams.
Host a birthday party.
There are plenty of shaded picnic areas and barbecue grills scattered around the park, making it a perfect venue for birthday parties or any other types of family gatherings.
Try the Kern River Bike Trail.
Just outside the park is the Kern River Bike Trail that runs parallel to the river, giving you a breathtaking view while doing your exercise. Meanwhile, the trail is ideal for all skill levels and is best used between April and October when the weather is milder.
Dogs can also use this but they must be kept on a leash.
Adjacent to the public park lies a myriad of food hubs that have become the town’s favorite such as P.F. Chang, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Eureka!, Viceroy Indian Cuisine & Bar, Sol y Luna, PizzaRev, and Panera Bread.
The park is also near some tight-knit and family-friendly communities like the Riverdale Village, which is a Riverdale mobile home park that lies across Beardsley Schools.