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Plan Your Visit

Kern National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. People enjoy viewing the diverse wildlife and habitats whether hiking, driving or hunting. Regulation of recreation activities allow for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.

The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset. The entrance gates close automatically ½ hour after sunset. Visitors access the refuge via the Loop Road. Roads throughout the refuge are graveled and visitors must maintain the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. No overnight parking is allowed on the refuge.

If planning to visit the refuge during the winter months, please keep in mind the refuge is closed to visitors not participating in the waterfowl hunt on Wednesdays and Saturdays, October through January. Temperatures can be quite cold at this time due to the dense patches of tule fog so please dress accordingly. Summer and fall temperatures at the Refuge can be hot and require plenty of sunblock, hat, and water.


Hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public. Wildlife observation and photography are encouraged. Please stay out of closed areas to minimize disturbance to plants and animals. Bicycling is allowed only on designated public access routes. Bikes are not allowed on trails or roads closed to public vehicles or horses. Horseback riding is allowed on signed refuge public access routes open to motor vehicles.


Fishing is allowed as per state regulations March 1 through September 30. 

Waterfowl Hunting

Sport hunting is permitted on the refuge in accordance with all state and federal regulations. Hunters should consult the California state hunting regulations. Special refuge hunting regulations also apply.

Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state law. Firearms may only be discharged in accordance with refuge hunting regulations, i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons.

Other prohibitions on the refuge are dogs off-leash; off-road vehicles; and collecting of plants, animals, minerals, antlers and artifacts.  


Late summer flood up brings mosquitoes making insect repellent a must. West Nile and Western Equine Encephalitis viruses are present on the refuge.

When driving the levee roads, be mindful of all posted speed limits and closed area signs. Several species of snakes are present on the refuge including western rattlesnakes so please, mind your step especially when walking the levee roads.


If you have any further questions or concerns, please phone the refuge office at 661-725-2767. The office is open 7:00-4:30 Monday through Friday and is closed Saturday and Sunday. Literature is provide in the office as well as the entrance kiosk. 


Last Updated: Nov 21, 2013
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