Headquarters Campground

Kern River - Sequoia National Forest

Kern River at Headquarters Campground

Headquarters Campground, Kern River, CA

Headquarters Campground

Lake Isabella
Attractions and Activities

Lake Isabella attracts visitors from far and wide to its broad, sparkling waters and to the recreation available in the area.

Key Campground Regulations

  1. Water is in short supply during California's drought.
  2. Fire permits: Campfire permits required for campfires, barbecues, and camp stoves.

Headquarters Campground

Headquarters Campground is located along the Kern River in the Sequoia National Forest, 4 miles upstream from Kernville. The campground is 7 miles from Lake Isabella. Visitors to the campground enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting in the Kern River. Swimming in the river is very dangerous because of strong currents. Nearby Lake Isabella has boating, waterskiing, windsurfing, and fishing. The Kern River canyon can be quite hot in the summer.

Headquarters Campground has 44 campsites. Some campsites overlook the Wild and Scenic Kern River and are in the shade of cottonwood, oak, and juniper trees. Campsites located farther from the river have little or no shade. A dozen of the campsites are designated for tents only. Another 21 campsites are designated for RVs or trailers only. Two campsites can accommodate RVs, trailers, and tents. The campground also has a Yurt available.

Campground Basics
Location: Sierra Way/Mountain 99, 4 miles north of Kernville
Elevation: 2,800 feet
Mileage from Gateway City: Bakersfield - 54 miles
Number of Sites: 44
Open - Closed: May - September
Max. People per Site: 6 (including children)
Vehicles per Site: 2 (fee for 2nd vehicle)
Pets: On leash, always attended
Campground Information: (760) 376-1815
Kern River Ranger District: (760) 379-5646

Reservations available: whenever campground is open
Booking Window: Reservations can be made from 3 days up to 6 months in advance of arrival date.
Maximum RV/Trailer Length: 27 feet
Wheelchair Accessible Sites: Not designated, but there is one accessible campsite
Fees: $25 per night ($27 on holiday weekends)
Yurt - $75 per night
Reservations: Headquarters Campground Reservations
Check-in, check-out: 2:00 PM, check-out Noon

Headquarters Campground Amenities
Campsites: Picnic table, fire ring with grill; no hook-ups
Campground: Vault toilets, tap water
Showers: No
Dump station: No
Campground Map: Headquarters Campground Map
Nearby attractions: Cannell Meadow National Recreation Trailhead, Kern River, Riverkern Beach Picnic Area, Lake Isabella for fishing and boating, North Fork Marina with store and boat rentals; mountain biking, hiking, Lake Isabella Visitor Center, Trail of 100 Giants is an accessible walk through Long Meadow Grove of Giant Sequoias

Yurt at Headquarters Campground, Kern River, CA

Headquarters Campground Yurt

General Camping Information for
Sequoia National Forest

Opening and closing dates of campgrounds are only estimates, usually dependent on snow conditions. Not all campsites can accommodate trailers or RVs of all lengths. Check carefully on the website when you make your reservation to be sure your vehicle will fit your campsite.

In order to prevent the spread of invasive insects, firewood should be obtained locally.

Accessible Sites

Designated Accessible sites are usually reserved for people with disabilities who have a vehicle displaying an accessible parking placard or license plate.

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