Kern River Rafting
Rafting: Kern River, California
The Kern River is a river rafter's jewel located in Southern California in the heart of Sequoia National Forest near Bakersfield. (courtesy, Whitewater Voyages)
Kern River Rafting at a Glance
Price: $$
River Rapid Class: North Fork: III-IV+; South Fork: III-IV
Trip in Miles: North Fork: 20 miles or less; South Fork: 19 miles or less
Trip Duration: 1 to 2 days
Season: North Fork: May-July; South Fork: May-October
Raft Types: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft
River Sections: North Fork: Johnsondale to Kernville; South Fork: Lake Isabella to Democrat Beach
Nearby Towns: Kernville (CA), Bakersfield (CA)
Gateway City: Kernville (CA)
Driving Times: Bakersfield (CA): 1 hour; Los Angeles (CA): 3 hours

"This river includes both the North and South Forks of the Kern. The South Fork is totally free flowing. It descends through deep gorges with large granite outcroppings and domes interspersed with open meadows. It is habitat for the golden trout, the state fish of California. The upper 47.5 miles of the North Fork flow through Sequoia National Park and the Golden Trout Wilderness, a scenic area with a wide variety of outstanding recreational opportunities, as well as cultural and historical associations.

The North Fork, also known as the Forks of the Kern River, is considered by many to be whitewater paradise, dishing out some of the finest raftable whitewater in North America. The Forks is a nearly continuous series of Class IV and V rapids and waterfalls, a long foaming ride through mixed conifer cliffs that's not for novices. Here Mother Nature writes the rulebook for the high stakes game you're about to play. High spring flows produce rapid-fire whitewater at Deadman's Curve, Oscar's Nightmare, and Hari Karl that only experts should attempt. Calmer area attractions include historic Kernville and Isabella Lake."

Published: 4 May 2011 | Last Updated: 25 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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