Whitewater trips explore sixty miles of 164-mile Kern River. The river is fed by snowmelt and winds through scenic canyons.

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Expert Review of Kern River

Parks and Outdoors Review of Kern River

Away Travel Expert: Ann Marie Brown
expert favorite Parks Expert Favorite
ParksExpert Rating 5.0 out of 5 Recommended for:
Camping,Fly-Fishing,Freshwater Fishing
Parks and OutdoorsExpert Tips & Helpful Hints
  • The Kern River is one of the fastest and steepest whitewater rides in the United States, particularly the 17-mile Forks of the Kern run, where the gradient is nearly 60 feet per mile with a nonstop series of Class IV and V rapids. Not only is the rafting for experts only, but just getting to the put-in is a challenge. Accessing the Forks requires a three-mile hike down a steep, rocky trail.
  • There are easier stretches of the Kern River to raft, including the 19 miles of the Lower Kern, which runs downstream from Isabella Lake. Most of the rapids are Class II and III, with flows dependent on releases from the dam at Isabella Lake. The rafting season usually runs from May to September. Five commercial rafting companies operate on the river.
  • The Kern River is stocked with 10 to 12-inch rainbow trout from Kernville up to the Johsondale Bridge. In late summer after the snowmelt is over and the river flow quiets down, this stretch provides a first-rate trout fishery. Access is easy as the road follows the river for 19 miles. Fly-fishing is popular, but many anglers rely on plain old salmon eggs and nightcrawlers.

Near Isabella Lake in Sequoia National Forest
Kernville, California 93238

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: 760-376-3781
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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