Bakersfield City Guides: For Beautiful Hiking Trails and Access to Nature, Head to Wind Wolves Preserve

As a Bakersfield native for now 6 (!) years, I’m used to driving a couple of hours in any direction for a good adventure.  Hikes up in the Sierras are a two hour drive north and west, Santa Barbara and Malibu beach hikes are a two and a half hour drive south and east, and LA hikes are a solid hour and a half drive through the Grapevine.  While all of these adventures are beautiful and worth it in their own ways, it’s nice to remember that Bakersfield has its own amazing hiking scene right in its backyard at Wind Wolves Preserve.  Just 25 minutes from Southwest Bakersfield, Wind Wolves Preserve is the perfect getaway for an afternoon in nature.

Wind Wolves offers a variety of trails, and hikes range from easy walks to more experienced climbs, depending on the mood you’re in.  I’ve done pretty much all of them at this point, and they’re all different enough to keep me coming back for more.  For easier adventures, the Wildflower Loop at the front of the park is a beautiful stroll through a meadow that is full of flowers come spring.  The bike path that runs through the middle of the park is also a nice easy walk that takes you through the mountains.  If you’re looking for more of a challenge, try the Tule Elk Trail that takes you all the way up the mountain to a beautiful scenic overlook of the valley, and continues in an 8-mile loop back through the valley with stunning mountain vistas along the way (can you tell that this one is my favorite?).  For more moderate hikes, try the Canyon View trail that goes along the left side of the park and leads to stunning mountain views with less of a climb, or feel free to tackle the incline of the Tule Elk Trail and go back down from the first summit for a challenging 2-ish mile hike.  No matter what path you choose, each hike will take you to some very nice sights, full of pretty mountain views, wildflowers, and nature.

Wind Wolves is the perfect spot for all sorts of activities – including birding, wildflower peeping, and sometimes even snow depending on the season!  I’ve seen several Tule Elk on multiple visits to the Preserve (although I don’t see them every time, but they are there!).  I’ve also seen the adorable Desert Kit Foxes, the occasional coyote, and lots of good bird species (including mountain bluebirds, kestrels, and roadrunners!).  My boyfriend, who is an avid birder, usually finds some cool things every time we go, so definitely a good recommendation for birds if that’s your scene.  I’m more into the wildflowers and scenery, which I can also confirm is quite nice!

I’ve gone to Wind Wolves in every season, although I would recommend going in winter and spring for the best scenery and hiking temperatures.  As Wind Wolves is immediately outside of Bakersfield, it gets incredibly hot there in the summers (can be up to over 100F, easily), so go early in the day to avoid excessive heat exposure during the summer months.  They can and do get snow in the mountains in the winter, which is honestly my favorite time to go.  What is better than snow covered mountains?  Truly nothing.  If there has been enough rain in the winter, the wildflowers will start popping in late March and can go through May if it continues to be a wet spring.  Wildflowers aren’t always a guarantee here in Southern California, but on good years, spring is a perfect time to hit up the Wildflower Loop.  In the summer, the green grasses fade to golden hills, which are equally beautiful to explore.  Always changing with the seasons, Wind Wolves is worth coming back to, especially if you live in the area.

So, if you haven’t already, stop by Wind Wolves Preserve to explore one of Bakersfield’s hidden gems.  Wind Wolves is a non-profit nature preserve that is maintained by the Wildlands Conservatory.  The trails are beautifully kept clean, they have a very nice visitor center with clean bathrooms and picnic areas, and the park is free to enter.  Wind Wolves also has several educational hikes and family days throughout the year, so follow along with them on Instagram or Facebook to stay up to date on all of their community events.  This post was not sponsored in any way, just words from a fan.  Photos throughout this post are all mine, collected from several different visits to the park.  Enjoy!

Want more information?  Check out their website here!

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