Kern River rafting

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Kern River is flows close to the Sequoia National Park in California, which covers 60 miles of whitewater. Kern River rafting is actually a must to undertake adventure in California during summers and spring.  With camping, local shops, and homely lunches, you, your friends, and your family can really enjoy the thrill of the Kern River.

The scenic river appears from the mountains of Sierra Nevada close to the Mount Whitney after which it meanders southwest via the National Forest in the direction of Bakersfield. Kern River rafting is a real gem for all kinds of rafters in Southern California near Bakersfield with the diverse zones ranging right from the mild to wild waves. So, this means that the beginners can enjoy the train of waves, while the experts can face the challenge of the roller coaster waves rendering the river as the fun spot for one and all. In short, rafting in California means Kern River rafting.

Kern River rafting

The river’s main sections are the Lower Kern that is exactly beneath Lake Isabella, Upper Kern that is over the lake, the Thunder Run, and Forks of the Kern that begins in the wilderness of Golden Trout descending to the Johnsondale Bridge. The river provides several kinds of rafting tours as per the season as well as the relaxation/adventure level.

Lower Kern River rafting

This is perfect for an adventure of ½ to 2 days and features Class III rapids that grows into Class IV white water rapids. This section flows via a narrow canyon where the rapids of the stated classes are highest as compared to any other west river. Passing via the jungle-like stretches and offering bolder turns, refreshing splatter, and 18 miles of wave trains, the river’s famous rapids are White Maiden’s Walkway, Dilly, Pinball, Dead Man’s Curve, Sundown Falls, Surprise, Royal Flush (Portage), Horseshoe Falls, and Hare Kare. This one is recommended for the beginners as well as intermediate rafters from August to September; go especially for the overnight camps here. Here, the water comes from a dam, which flows out of the wonderful Isabella. This means that summers offer steady flow even in the profound, isolated, and granite-walled canyon.

Kern River rafting

Upper Kern River rafting

Here, the water is fed via a natural run-off, which means unlike the lower section, the flows tend to fluctuate. The early spring rising temperatures turns the Upper Kern into a furious flow from a serene soar. In its rafting season of April to July, the water level depends on snow. This trip is normally recommended for a ½ to 1 day trip and features Class III-IV rapids. This is the 20+ mile journey passing via many shorter sections such as Cables, Limestone, Ant Canyon, Powerhouse, and Chemise Gorge, with each having its own flow. Most of the trips cover 6-12 miles that offer rapids of class IV rapids on the Lickety runs, Camp-3, and Limestone. Some famous rapids here are Joe’s Diner, Betty’s Bakery, and Limestone on the Limestone Run; Powerhouse Rapid on the Kern Run; The Pepsi Challenge/Tequila Chute, Tombstone, and Wall on the Camp 3 Run; and Big Daddy as well as Ewings on the Lickety Run.

The Forks of the Kern

This is 22-mile journey offering big Class V rapids along with the steady Class IV whitewater in spectacular west canyon terrain from May to July. Originating near Mt. Whitney, this is a challenging one that requires good stamina and some swim skills due to the remote as well as steep canyon. A few memorable rapids here are the West Wall, Carson Falls, Needle Rock, Vortex, Gortex, and Geology I, II, and III. To reach to the starting point, guests are required to hike the 3 mile long rocky trail steeping into the canyon. This is a perfect trip for 2 to 3 days.

Kern River rafting


April to September


3.5 hours from Los Angeles


Lower Kern: $149 per adult, $134 per child above 10 for a day trip

Upper Kern: $129 per adult, $117 per child above 12 for half day trip

Forks of the Kern: $719 per adult, $647 per teen above 16 for 2 day trip


Lower Kern: April to September

Upper Kern: April to July

Forks of the Kern: May to July