Weekend Getaway- Wind Wolves Preserve

We visited the Wind Wolves Preserve in Bakersfield, California this past weekend with Louis’s sisters and their significant others. This is one of the 12 preserves run under the Wildlands Conservancy in California. It was our first time at the Wind Wolves Preserve but we’ve visited the Oak Glen Preserve in Yucaipa, California last year.

Good to know:

  • Location: The preserve is located at 16019 Maricopa Highway, Bakersfield, CA 93311 and it takes a little under 2 hours to get there from Los Angeles.
  • Camping at San Emigdio Campground is free and available at the park with reservation, we emailed Courtney Carter to make our reservations a couple weeks in advance. Check in for campsites is daily between 2PM-4:30PM and checkout is at 10AM. No late arrivals is allowed after 5PM.
  • Fees: There are no fees to use and visit the reserve or camp, however, since this is a nonprofit organization, they do suggest $5 donation per individual or $10 per family.
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on the preserve but are not allowed to participate in the organized hikes
  • Campfires: Unfortunately, no campfires are allowed due to the dry climate in Bakersfield.
  • Additional information can be found on the Wind Wolves Preserve webpage and their facebook page for photos.

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    Tule Elk Viewing Area, Wind Wolves Preserve

We left Orange County late Saturday morning and arrived at the preserve in the early afternoon. We got caught in heavy fog and rainstorm 10 miles south of Bakersfield and started getting a little nervous about the weather at the preserve. Thankfully, the rain had reduced to a light sprinkle by the time we got to the preserve. We checked in at the main office and set up our tents for the night.

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A really cool looking elk horn arch just outside the main office

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The campsites at San Emigdio Campground are spacious, equipped with nice picnic tables and a great view of the valley.

Once we had everything set up, we went out for an afternoon hike on the Tule Elk trail hoping to catch a glimpse of the Tule Elk. The recent el nino rain had painted the rolling hills on the reserve a bright green color, looking at the scenery, it was hard to believe we were hiking in Bakersfield, California!

P1080695.jpgThe trail is a steady climb from the valley to the top of the hill. The clouds slowly started rolling in a short while after we started the hike. We stopped at around the 4 mile mark on the trail when the fog complete obstructed our view of the valley. There were no sighting of the Tule Elk, but we did see some cows and sheep in the fields below us.

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Family photo at the Tule Elk Viewing Area before the fog rolled in. I can’t recall what made me laugh in this photo…

We took a short break once we returned to the campsite before heading out with the park rangers for an organized Full Moon guided hike. The hike took us on a loop from the San Emigdio Canyon trail to Ravens Landing and Twin Fawns Picnic Area. The preserve has lots of organized activities each week, but advanced reservation is needed. We found out when we got to the hike that dogs are not allowed on these organized hikes. Louis volunteered to stay behind with Dakota- he was having trouble setting up our new tent earlier and wanted to work on it a little bit more. The hike was only about 1.5 miles but took 2 hours to finish. Since we had quite a large hiking group, no wild life was spotted during the hike.  The cloudy weather that night only gave us a few seconds to glimpse at the full moon before it hid behind the clouds again. Overall, it was quite an anti-climate hiking experience.

The next morning we woke up and planned to hike the El Camino Viejo Wilderness Trailhead. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to shake the rain and it started raining immediately after we started hiking. We ended up just walking the same hike as the night before with Louis and Dakota before heading home.

Overall this is a beautiful preserve that looks very different with each season. It’s got great amenities and guided hikes for families with young children even though the pace was too slow for us.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas tree double was sighted during the hike. 

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Endangered Bakersfield Cactus

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