Upper and Lower Kern Permits

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.

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. One launch per day is allowed during the control period, with just 15 people per launch. The control period runs from May 15 – September 15, with lottery applications accepted March 15 – April 15. The application fee is $10.

Learn more about the application and lottery here.

From the Forest Service: “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.