Domeland Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

The Domeland Wilderness is a BLM property in central California. The one-hundred thousand acre wilderness is located in the southern region of the Sequoia National Forest. It's an area of rugged beauty with attractive geological formations in the area to the south-east that incorporates the Kern Plateau. Bordered to the west by a deep valley and the Kern River, the remoteness of the wilderness, its outstanding rock features, meadowlands, and pinyon-forested slopes make it an ideal place for enjoying some top quality, get-back-to-nature time.

The Domeland Wilderness is a superb spot for hikers who want to spend time in a solitary environment with no pollution, amazing views and only the sounds of birdsong to accompany them. There are equestrian trails running through the wilderness too, and a more perfect place for riding would be hard to imagine. Anglers are well-catered for with a choice of several creeks to fish as well as the Kern River, which has a good trout population, and the nearby Isabella Lake.

Wildlife is abundant in the Domeland Wilderness, and it's possible to spot herds of deer, black bears and on occasion in the higher regions the shyer, but very present, bobcat. When there's a covering of snow on the ground, the wilderness trails attract winter sports fans for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It doesn't matter what outdoor activities you like to participate in, you'll find doing it in the Domeland Wilderness will add that extra element of adventure to your RV camping trip to the boondocks of California.

RV Rentals in Domeland Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

As with most of the BLM lands that are classified as wildernesses, there are strict regulations in place which don't allow motorized vehicles. That is particularly relevant at the Domeland Wilderness, which has a parking restriction of thirty feet if you're parking on the side of an unpaved access road and three hundred feet if the roadway is paved. The bonus is much of the wilderness is accessible on foot or hoof from trailheads near several of the Sequoia Forest campgrounds.

To get to the Domeland Wilderness from the east or west of California, the best place to head to is Bakersfield, from where you can join the CA 178 which will have you at the town and reservoir of Isabella Lake in less than an hour. There are two great campgrounds right on the edge of the lake you may well be tempted to pitch camp at before heading on to the wilderness itself. Bakersfield is also the place to head to if you're traveling up from the south after RV camping in the Los Padres National Forest. If you're motoring in from Las Vegas in the neighboring state of Nevada, you can take a scenic route through the Death Valley National Park, but it's a drive that will take you around five and a half hours.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Domeland Wilderness

Campsites in Domeland Wilderness

Alternate camping

Isabella Lake

The Isabella Lake campgrounds on the edge of the Sequoia National Forest are great spots to pitch up in your RV when you want to go exploring the Domeland Wilderness. The Paradise Cove Campground is located on the lake's southern shore around three miles from the town of the same name. At the Paradise Cove corps campground, you'll have over forty non-electric campsites to choose from, all of which have beautiful views of the lake. The campground is open from mid-April to the end of October, and reservations are required prior to arriving. While the campsites don't have utility hook-ups, there is water on-site as well as flush toilets and a dump station.

The Hungry Gulch Campground lays along the western shore of Isabella Lake and offers RV campers the choice between eighty primitive campsites that are ideally located for anyone wanting to fish on the Kern River. There are no utility hook-ups, but each campsite is furnished with a grill and picnic table, plus there's drinking water on-site as well as flush toilets. The Hungry Gulch corps campground at Isabella Lake is open from mid-May through to mid-September, and reservations are required.

All RV campers heading to the Isabella Lake should be aware that the use of glass containers at the campgrounds picnic tables or anywhere outdoors is prohibited.

Seasonal activities in Domeland Wilderness

In-Season

Hiking

The Domeland Wilderness is a fantastic area to wander through at will, going wherever the fancy takes you. If you prefer to stick to marked trails, you'll find a seven-mile-long section of the Pacific Crest Trail runs through the wilderness that can be accessed at the Kern River South Fork. If you enjoy strolling along the waterside, try the Rockhouse Trail which runs adjacent to the river. Or to see the amazing peaks that give character to this wilderness, hit the nine-mile long Domeland Trail.

Fishing

If after exploring the Domeland Wilderness, you want to get in a spot of fishing, you'll find lots of first-class locations nearby where you can cast your hook and line. Anyone camping at the Lake Isabella campgrounds will be well placed to either shore or boat fish for a variety of different species including bass, crappie, and catfish.

In the swift-flowing waters of the Kern River, as well as in four creeks running through the wilderness, there are both brown and rainbow trout, so catching something worthy of grilling for dinner is pretty much guaranteed.

Water Sports

Close by the Domeland Wilderness, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in exciting water sports. From March through to July is when the Kern River is at its biggest flow, and that's when it's ideal for whitewater rafting. You don't need to be an experienced rafter to enjoy the thrill either.

On the edge of the wilderness is a small town called Kernville, and there are several operators there who offer a two-hour family experience over a four-mile stretch of rapids. The open expanses of Isabella Lake are great for windsurfing, jet skiing, water skiing or for just having a paddle in your canoe too.

Off-Season

Photography

The Domeland Wilderness offers endless opportunities for taking some unforgettable photos, though you might find the area at its very photogenic best during spring, fall, and winter. Capture impressive images of the Church Domes craggy peaks backed by a brilliant blue sky, the picturesque rocky creeks bordered by pine trees or the meadowlands swathed in their bursts of bright spring colors.

If you have a telescopic lens and a fast shutter finger, you could focus on the prolific small birdlife or even be lucky enough to catch shots of a herd of deer grazing.

Climbing

The Domeland Wilderness has some exciting rock faces for climbers to challenge themselves on. The series of peaks in the wilderness known as the Church Domes are all individually named after various houses of worship and offer eighty different climbing routes.

There are some easy climbs, though many are graded as difficult and shouldn't be attempted by the inexperienced. There are also climbable rock faces, called The Needles, at the end of the two and a half mile long Needles Lookout Trail to the north of the wilderness. The trailhead can be accessed via the town of Springville off the CA 190.

OHV Trail Riding

If you've enjoyed the peace and quiet of the Domeland Wilderness, but then felt the need for some engine noise, you won't have far to go. In the Kern Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest, you'll be able to hit over forty different OHV trails as well as more than a dozen roads for 4x4s.

All that's required is that your OHV has the correct, and current, permit for off-roading in California or that your four by four vehicles are legal and roadworthy.

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