Upper and Lower Kern River Permits and Manifests

Upper and Lower Kern river use permits are the same items.  They are available for free and can be obtained at the Kernville USFS office: 11380 Kernville Road, Kernville, CA 93238. 760-376-3781. Open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.

Maximum party size is 18 people, and permits are required year round.

A permit is required for EACH craft. (Raft, stand up board, kayak, etc.)

Forks of the Kern Use Permit

To run the Forks, you need to apply for a reservation in their lottery. 15 people are allowed each day during the control period, which is from May 15 – September 15. Lottery applications are accepted March 15 – April 15, anything submitted outside of that period will be rejected. The application fee is $10.

Learn more here the Forks application here.

Complete an application here.

Mail the completed application to:

Kern River Ranger District-Kernville Office,
c/o River Permits
P.O. Box 9
Kernville, CA 93238.

Don’t forget a ten dollar check made out to USDA-Forest Service.

Applications are accepted March 15 – April 15. Control season is May 15 – September 15.

15 people are allowed per launch, with one launch per day.

Other ways to get a Forks permit

“If you are unsuccessful in the drawing you may call our office before May 15, secure a permit for unfilled slots and have it mailed to you. After May 15, permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis, by phone and walk-in. THESE PERMITS MUST BE PICKED UP IN PERSON by 9:00 AM the day of your trip or up to 24-hours in advance.”

Mission Statement

To provide the most comprehensive resource for river rafting the Kern.