This is your Kern River rafting whitewater guidebook
Melting from the south facing slope of Mt. Whitney, the Kern River travels 164 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 September, 2020
The Upper Kern is at ~150 CFS, too low for rafting and even tubing. As of this writing, the Lower Kern has flows of ~430 CFS, which is just enough water to get a small raft down the Jungle Run. Very soon though, we project the Lower Kern flows to drop even further, essentially ending the 2020 rafting season.