2024 Kern River Rafting Season Preview

April 2nd, 2024

Raft icon Sierra South Mountain Sports Kern River California

State of the Snowpack – 100% of April 1st

The 2023-2024 winter has provided a perfect snowpack for spring, summer, and fall Kern River rafting. For the first time since 2010 the Kern River is right at 100% of average. So what does this mean for the 2024 season? We will have near perfect rafting conditions on the Upper, Lower, and Forks of the Kern. What is so exciting about a 100% snowpack, is that we will have a rafting trip for first timers, to our most challenging Class V raft trips and everything in between.

NASA Satellite of the Kern River Drainage 4/1/24

Kern River Flow Outlook

With a near perfect snowpack, we anticipate seeing a consistent runoff on the Upper Kern from April through mid July. We do anticipate being in high water protocol from mid May to mid June on the Upper Kern. On the Lower Kern we expect flows in the 2,000-3,000cfs range for the majority of the summer. 3,000 cfs on the Lower Kern is when high water protocol goes into effect. We do not anticipate a lengthy period of time in HWP but could see it in June and July.

Upper Kern River

Best Time To Go

April – July

Estimated Peak Flow

5,000cfs in mid May to mid June

Lower Kern River

big water rafting on the upper kern river with sierra south

High Water Protocol

During a high water year, Sierra South puts in place a high water protocol to ensure our trips are running as smoothly and as safely as possible. Rafting at high water on the Kern River is one of the best whitewater rafting experiences but requires certain risk management procedures. During high water protocol, the minimum age on trips goes up, swim proficiency tests are required on Class IV and V trips, and wetsuits are required on the Upper Kern. If you have any questions about high water please contact our river experts.

Book In Advance

With a near perfect season upon us and high demand, it will be crucial to book your trip in advance. Walk-in reservations will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Most of our trips have a max capacity of 30-35 rafters.