Your browser is out of date.
This site may not function properly in your current browser. Update Now

Sierra Gateway Cottages

Hotel or Motel
The Lakehouse – Jon-Paul Fortunati

As manager of Sierra Gateway Cottages, I enjoy helping my guests coordinate their vacation package to best suite their party or group. With advance notice management can help book river rafting, guided hiking trails, and group packages that include a variety of adventures.

Services such as massages by a certified massage therapist can be scheduled. Food catering is also available upon advance request.

Driving Directions

These driving directions are intended to describe the roadways and surrounding terrain and not for the sole purpose of obtaing driving directions. Please choose your own method of determining your route that will best suite your needs.

During inclement weather, we advise you to call Cal Trans for current road reports and conditions at 1-800-427-7623 or 1-916-445-7623

Highway 178 / Kern River Canyon Route: If you are traveling from or through Bakersfield, this route is the most direct but has lots of curves. Travel east thru the canyon to the four lane freeway. Exit at the Wofford Heights / Kernville off ramp. Turn left and travel around the lake for approx 13 miles to Kernville. As you enter Kernville, travel over the bridge stopping at the "T" in the road, Sierra Way. Turn left (North) and continue for 1/2 mile to Buena Vista. Turn right and then make a quick left into the Sierra Gateway Cottage parking area.

Highway 178 / Walker Pass Route: A favorite route to many travelers as there are less curves and usually less traffic. It is a great route to take if you are coming from Southern California, San Bernadino or Riverside. Where highway 14 meets the 178 you will be traveling up and over Walker Pass, headed due west. Continue on this road and enjoy the views as you enter the Kern River Valley. You will notice the diverse terrain where several eco systems merge. You will travel thru Jousha Trees, Pines, Oaks, then you will see Cottonwood and Willow trees that line the Southfork River where the beautiful and popular Kern River Preserve awaits you. About 1/2 mile beyond the Preserve entrance you wll be making a right hand turn and head towards Kernville on Sierra Way. Stay on Sierra Way for 16 miles. Turn right on Buena Vista then a quick left into the parking area.

Highway 155 / Greenhorn: Alta Sierra Route: Although a beautiful mountain drive, the summit can require chains to come over during winter months. From Fresno, Visalia or even North Bakersfield, take 155 east up and over Greenhorn Mountain. It will drop you right into Wofford Heights. The road coming down is very steep so watch the use of your brakes and use low gears. At the bottom of 155 / Evans Road you will turn left (north) and travel 5 miles to Kernville

Highway 190 Mountain 99 / Porterville Route: This is a beautiful route but only passable during late spring and summer. Travel on highway 190 through Springville up and over Quaking Aspen through Ponderosa then down mountain 99 along the upper Kern River into Kernville. A great place to stop and see is the "Trail of a Hundred Giants".

Relax along the Kern River in a piece of history at Sierra Gateway Cottages. Whether you enjoy fishing, hiking, rafting, antiquing, or just getting away from it all, Sierra Gateway Cottages is your home away from home in Kernville. Complete with full kitchens, bedrooms decorated in a down-home country style, and porches that invite you to put your feet up and enjoy the nighttime stars, these rustic yet luxurious cabins will entice you to return again and again.

The cottages are comprised of four historic buildings which were moved from Old Kernville, aka “Whiskey Flats”, during the construction of the Lake Isabella Dam in the 1950s. Three of these remodeled relics (Riverbend Cottage, The Sequoia, and Hawk’s Place) were originally built prior to 1926 and located on Main Street in Old Kernville. All four of Sierra Gateway Cottages were moved to higher ground to make way for Isabella Lake.

The fourth and largest two-bedroom cottage, "Beneath the Lakehouse", was originally built on Green Street and is now located on Buena Vista, more commonly referred to by locals as James Road. Although never a legally recorded road, James Road was named after a pioneer family that homesteaded here in the Kern River Valley pre-1910. William “Doc” James also built the Way Station in Canebrake where he supplied the needs of cattle drivers on their way to the railroad spur at Inyokern. Later, Doc helped his nephew start his first store in old Kernville, a tradition that the James family continues to this day with James Store, located right next door to Sierra Gateway Cottages. a nice convenience for our guests!

In the book Kernville’s Historical Homes, written by Virginia Wells Kelly in 1985, the cottages were placed under the category “Don’t Know,” which meant that historians knew they had not been destroyed, but that they had been moved to a new, unknown location. Local historians helped solve the mystery of what happened to the cottages while sharing memories of yesterday. All four buildings were moved to their current location on James Hill during the construction of Isabella Dam.

Over the years, the cottages have changed owners several times. Renovated once in the 1950s by Mr. Hawkins and used as rental properties, they then switched over to motel units named the Tidy Motel. The cottages changed ownership many times before being sold back to a member of the James family. Clint James renovated them once again in 2000, hiring local contractor Red Bud Construction to do necessary repairs and include beautiful master wood work that enhances the beauty and charm of these historic marvels. Together they planned the cottage renovation to include design and art that depicts the history of the area, as well as the buildings themselves. This includes wood burning on the cabinets and door jambs that portray the western cuture of the valley. Solid wood mosaic doors were designed with Sequoia trees, mountains and river scenes and the wildlife of the area. It was this planned renovation that has helped make them a popular choice for lodging accommodations here in the Kern River Valley

Sierra Gateway Cottages are within 1/4 mile of the Kern River as well as Riverside Park, a popular place to picnic, fish or relax while taking in the beautiful landscape. A playground surrounded by shade and pine trees make Riverside Park a great place to take the children. The cottages are also near Lake Isabella. Just minutes away from marinas where you can launch or dock a boat, rent personal water crafts or cool off during the summer months by taking a swim.

There is plenty of parking for recreational vehicles or those towing a 2nd vehicle, boat or other water crafts. The property surrounding the cottages is spacious. None of the rentals are attached to one another. All have private patios and walkways offering guests privacy and serenity. All cottages are within walking distance to many of Kernville's most popular stores and restaurants.

Locally or Family Owned Business Notes

The Edwards Family began enjoying the "Kern" (as they lovingly refer to it) many years ago. Traveling to Kernville for family reunions and gatherings they were guests of Sierra Gateway Cottages when the James family still owned them. In 2002 they purchased the cottages from the Jame's gang. Carla Thorn was hired as manager and is the current operating manger today.

Together they have formed a working relationship that has helped move the business forward to provide their guests a quality lodging experience. Each and every guest is of utmost importantance. We are here to cater to your needs and to provide you with the best visit to Kernville ever!

Lodging Style and Amenities

Although the cottages have no lobby or office, it offers one large rental home that includes a wrap around deck with concrete patio, propane grill, tables and chairs. When accomadating large groups this historic rental named "Beneath the Lakehouse" is used for a gathering place to meet, dine together and play. The "Lakehouse" also has laundry facuilities and a dishwasher.

All of the cottages have full kitchens that offer everything you need for cooking, baking and grilling. Each cottage has a full size refrigerator, four burner stove tops, convection and microwave ovens, toaster, coffee pots and of course the coffee! Upon arrival guests will find water and ice for their convenience.

Pet Friendly Notes

One pet friendly rental for responsible pet owners.


Season Open

Year round


Rate Range

$150 per night to $300 per night and are subject to Kern County Bed Tax, currently 6 %


Locally or Family-Owned Business


Breakfast Style Served

Breakfast Not Included

Nearby Places