This is your Kern River rafting white water guidebook
Melting from the south facing slope of Mt. Whitney, the Kern River travels 165 miles before it is divvied up for irrigation in Bakersfield, CA. The Kern River is the most southern raftable river in California, and with a regulated reservoir release, offers a long recreation season well into summer and occasionally fall.
Recreationally, the Kern River is outstanding for a number of reasons:
Easy access: Both the Upper and Lower Kern have multiple put-in and takeout locations.
Variety of whitewater: From mellow class II upwards of challenging class V.
Long river season: The river is runnable from early April through early September.
Length of trip: Short, thirty-minute runs to multi-day trips are all available.
This Kern River map covers a lot
GPS coordinates for over 300 waypoints, over 100 rapid descriptions, on river mileage, put in and take out locations, permit information, river flow and gauge data, tons of photos, videos, camping data, easy to read map icons, and much more. Updated frequently.
When’s the best time to go Kern River rafting? Updated April, 2020
With our snowpack coming in at the low 60% mark, the Upper Kern will have fun raft-able flows towards the end of June, with water peaking in the low 2,000 CFS range. The Lower Kern will have decent water from mid-June through early to mid-August, with low water shouldering that date range. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Sequoia National Forest is CLOSED until May 1, which will likely get pushed back to June 1.