Taft is a small community at the eastern foot of the Temblor mountains, in Kern County in the San Joaquin Valley of California. It is not much of a vacation destination although there are sites to see including the oil museum, a historic fort and the Carrizo Plains National Monument. There is also a large tract of BLM lands open to off-road enthusiasts.
The primary industry if the region is oil and gas productions with some of the most prolific oil fields in the state including the Midway Sunset field being just minutes from the city. Other major employers include a nearby Federal prison and kitty litter mines.
The town has a wide range of services including supermarkets, restaurants, a downtown theater and arts center, a college, and others.
The area is a popular location for film shoots being just a little over 2 hours north of Los Angeles. Movies include the 2007 film There Will be Blood, a period drama about the beginning of the oil industry in the area.
Taft in the past couple of years has marketed itself as the gateway to the Carrizo Plain National Monument and is trying to encourage tourism to the area but there isn't much infrastructure to support tourism as of yet.
There are only about 6 hotels in town which all tend to run a bit on the seedy side but look for improvements in the near future as city planners continue to work to improve the city's visitor services.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Taft is located at the intersection of CA-33 and CA-119. From the east, Taft is 16 miles from I-5. From the north, CA-33 connects Taft with McKittrick and Coalinga. From the south, CA-33 connects Taft with Maricopa and Santa Maria via CA-166.
- Taft Area Transit (TAT), ☏ , fax: . M-F 7:15AM-5:40PM, Sa 8:15AM-4:10PM, Su 8:15AM-4:10PM. TAT does not operate on holidays.. TAT has two local routes in the city as well as Taft-Maricopa connection. General $1; senior, ADA-certified, youth $0.75; children under 5 free.
- 1 The Fort, 915 N. Tenth St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The Fort is a replica of Sutter's Fort in Sacramento, built in 1940 of adobe bricks by the government as a depression era project. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- 2 West Kern Oil Museum, 1168 Wood St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Th-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. This museum tells the story of oil in California.
- 1 Air Adventures West, 25637 South Lake Rd, toll-free: . Skydiving either tandem or solo with instruction. Prices start at $179 for tandem jumps.
- 2 Natatorium Swimming Pool (Walter Glenn Natatorium), 821 4th St, ☏ . Swimming pool, splash park, and water slide.
- 3 Skydive Taft, 500 Airport Rd, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations required. Call to set up a reservation. Skydiving either tandem or solo with instruction. Prices start at $189 for tandem jumps.
- Carrizo Plain National Monument. Take CA-33 south for 16 miles, turn right on Soda Lake Rd. This remote national monument is home to the largest remaining native grassland in California. During wet years it boasts spectacular wildflowers in the spring, and Soda Lake is an important wintering area for waterfowl when precipitation is sufficient to flood the seasonal lakebed. The park is also home to Painted Rock, a Native American site that has been adorned with pictographs over thousands of years. Services are extremely limited, with just a small visitor center, two primitive campgrounds, and a handful of marked trails available.
- McKittrick - An oil & gas town located north of Taft on Highway 33 that is home to the McKittrick Brea Pit, a tar pit that was the site of a huge cache of prehistoric fossils.
- Maricopa - Located south of Taft on Highway 33, this oil & agriculture town was the site of one of the largest oil spills in history when the Lakeview Gusher unleashed nine million barrels of oil onto the surrounding countryside.
- Buttonwillow - Located north of Taft, this town offers additional lodging options and services and is home to the Buttonwillow Tree, a state landmark that gave the town its name.
- Bakersfield - Northeast of Taft. Nicknamed "the country music capital of the West Coast", Bakersfield is the largest city in the southern San Joaquin Valley and is thus the best option for those seeking lodging, transportation, or other services.
|Routes through Taft|
|Coalinga ← McKittrick ←||N S||→ Maricopa → Ventura|