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Old Kernville Historic Cemetery

Panorama of Kern River Historical Cemetery taken in May 2010 – Richard Cayia Rowe

ADA Accessibility Notes

Drive directly to gate. Ground is dirt and rough, but navigable.

The Old Kernville Historic Cemetery, also known as the Kernville Pioneer Cemetery, has burials dating back to 1868 and continues to be a favorite choice for Kern Valley residents. The site is located above the wild and scenic Kern River where it flows into Lake Isabella. When the lake water is low, to the south one can view the foundations of the town of Old Kernville aka Whiskey Flat. The town was moved 2.7 miles north of the cemetery in the 1950s due to the construction of the Isabella Lake Dam. Many of the relocated homes and buildings are still being used in Kernville today.

Legal authority as the Kern River Valley Public Cemetery District was established November 27, 1950 by the Kern County Board of Supervisors. A Board of Trustees, (5) appointed by the Kern County Board of Supervisors, is responsible for the operation of the cemetery. The Historic Cemetery is located south of the newer, modern cemetery.

Take a step back in time to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains and Kern River that first attracted Native Americans and early settlers to this beautiful valley.

Interned at this cemetery include Native Americans, miners, ranchers, and Kern Valley business operators and their families. Many of the ranchers, business owners, and current valley residents trace their lineage directly to the early pioneers laid to rest in this Historic Cemetery. Sprinkled throughout the cemetery are white marker paddles. Some long time valley residents state these markers do not always mark a burial site, but instead were used to enhance the “old west” image when ‘old Kernville was a popular Hollywood movie location during the 1920s and 30's.

Time has taken its toll on this old cemetery. Markers are broken, many cribs are in a state of decay, and natural weather conditions have left the grounds uneven and full of rivulets.

Community volunteers are working to assist with the upkeep.These volunteers are devoted to the preservation of this historical site, the memory of pioneer families as well as all interred, and to increase awareness of this valley and its rich history.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets on leash only please.

Time Period Represented

1868 to present


Daylight hours

Seasons Open

All year

Seasons Open




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