Kernville is a census-designated place (CDP) in the southern Sierra Nevadas, in Kern County, California, United States. Kernville is located 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2667 feet (813 m). The population was 1,395 at the 2010 census, down from 1,736 at the 2000 census.
The Kern River, Kernville and the Kern Valley they occupy were named after artist and topographer Edward Kern, who accompanied John C. Fremont on his 1845 expedition. They camped at what was a fork of two rivers, now the middle of Lake Isabella. An 1848 gold rush led to the formation of a town called Rogersville, which was later renamed Whiskey Flat after the introduction of bars. In 1861, the town was renamed Kernville.
After decades of planning, the Isabella Dam project began in 1948. As a result, Kernville was moved upstream to its present location at the tip of the northeast fork of the man-made lake. The town has since continued to maintain its gold rush and old west roots to attract tourists and take advantage of nearby natural scenery and activities. The town's original location is slightly east of Wofford Heights. Foundations and such can still be seen when the lake is low. The famous Mountain Inn, built mainly to house movie stars and crew before the 1948 move, is now (partially) at the new Kernville, renamed the River View Lodge.