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 January, 2020
As of mid-January, snowpack is showing us at 83% for Southern California, which puts us in the ‘average’ range. With this in mind, the Upper Kern will be your best bet for half and full day trips from mid-March through the end of June. After that, sticking to the Lower Kern will be ideal until the end of Summer. Regarding peak water flow, our data is pointing towards the Upper Kern peaking in the end of May / early June timeframe and the Lower Kern will have higher flows around early July.