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Wind Wolves Preserve, Bakersfield

#15 of 26 in Things to do in Bakersfield
Nature / Wildlife Tour · Hidden Gem · Wildlife Area
More than two decades ago, The Wildlands Conservancy purchased a historic Southern California ranch—once belonging to John C. Frémont—desperately in need of restoration. Today, that property is the magnificent Wind Wolves Preserve: 93,000 acres encompassing an impressive array of landforms and habitats, from the flower-filled San Joaquin Valley floor to the snow-capped peaks abutting Los Padres National Forest.

Restoring grandeur to the landscape of historic San Emidio Ranch has required a broad vision and multifaceted approach. When the property was acquired, Tule elk were extinct from the southern end of their native range. Today, Wind Wolves is home to more than 350 of these majestic creatures, one of the largest herds in California. As the elk herd reaches capacity, weekly attrition provides a natural food source for California condors, aiding the recovery of our state’s largest and most iconic birds. Rangers and volunteers at Wind Wolves have also worked together to plant over a thousand valley oak trees and restore 30 miles of riparian habitat along year-round streams, providing a lifeline for the state’s most endangered mammal, the Buena Vista Lake ornate shrew.

Each spring, visitors flock to the Wind Wolves for one of California’s premier wildflower displays, traveling by foot or bike along more than 15 miles of trails that traverse San Emigdio Canyon. Access to the preserve’s rugged southern terrain is aided by the San Emigdio Express, which shuttles visitors to and from an 11-mile stretch of the historic El Camino Viejo, a 17th century route forged by Spaniards. Wind Wolves’ rich cultural history also includes some of the most noteworthy Native American rock art in North America.

Wind Wolves is California's largest nonprofit nature preserve, offering sanctuary to visitors from both near and far. We look to the future with renewed ambition to expand the Preserve’s two free campgrounds and the trail network, and expand educational and interpretive programs that invite everyone to behold the beauty around and within them.
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Wind Wolves Preserve reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
18 reviews
  • We hiked the San Emido trail went down by the creek and sat and listened to the water flow so relaxing! Some wildflowers along the way!!  more »
  • Fun way to spend a half day or longer if you want. Lots of hiking choices. Ran into a park ranger at the waterfall and he was very friendly and recommended which trails might be best for a casual...  more »
  • We visited for the annual Nature Festival. There was lots of great educational activities for the kids. We played in clear stream water, hiked a trail, planted native plants, and so much more. It was great for our seven year old and the one year old alike. This year they had two food trucks which was really nice - a Taco vendor and a Vegan Soul food vendor. We tried both.
  • Beautiful! Lots of trails and creeks. Plenty of wildlife. There is a ~9 mile trail leading to a lake at the bottom of the valley and a trail that parallels it at the top of the valley going over the low mountains. It’s absolutely gorgeous and the best hiking on this end of the Central Valley. The view is beautiful and it’s well kept up. I highly recommend visiting it, it’s definitely worth your time. Words/pictures can’t do it justice.

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