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Dry Meadow Creek - Brush Creek

HAZARD: IMPORTANT NOTE - CLICK HERE! February 1, 2017. High flows are expected on the Upper Kern, Brush Creek and Lower Kern. The increasing flow and high-water levels will increase the amount of debris in the river, and the likelihood of logs, strainers and other hazards. Rapids and eddies can change dramatically. They can become easier or more difficult. New rapids can form. Self rescue can become more difficult with the speed of the current and lack of eddy lines. The location of such hazards may change at any time. Extra care should be taken on or near the river. When in doubt, get out and scout!

Dry Meadow Creek

Please Note!

Dry Meadow CreekClick!

If you've done the Forks, you've probably gazed in awe at the beautifully sculptured granite potholes, slides, and waterfalls of Dry Meadow Creek.

Pick your superlative--amazing, awesome, incredible, aesthetic--it would be difficult to overstate the beauty of the "Edge of the World" section of this creek. First run by Gary Gunder and Brandon Prince on a chilly December day in 1995, this creek has become a "must do" for top boaters from around the country, and around the world.

This very steep creek should only be attempted by boaters with extensive creeking experience. One quarter mile section drops more than 1400 fpm! There are numerous "runnable" waterfalls in the 8 ft. to 22 ft. range, but two huge 40 to 50 ft. killer falls are found near the end of the run. Following their first descent, Gary and Brandon said that doing the run was like paddling off the "edge of the world."

Kern River Gallery #2 shows Brandon hand-paddling Dry Meadow Creek.

Brush Creek

Please Note!

Joe Jacobi with Evan Moore on Brush Creek

Brush Creek MAR09 from Andrew Pernicano on Vimeo.
Brush Creek March 2009. Video by Andrew Pernicano.

Dane Jackson and Spencer Josif on Brush Creek


Upper FallsClick!

Brush Creek is a tributary of the Kern that joins the Kern at Brush Creek rapid on the Limestone run, about a quarter mile downstream from the Johnsondale bridge. It is a "steep creek," dropping 550 vertical feet in about 1.5 miles. If you enjoy steep, rocky drops and running waterfalls, it's a classic.

The uppermost put-in for the run is at Rincon Camp. This can be reached by driving up Sherman Pass Road to the helicopter pad and then following the sign down to Rincon Camp. Many boaters prefer to park near the helicopter pad (don't park on the pad) and then hike down to the creek. This bypasses the initial brushy segment of the run, and avoids the rough road down to the put-in. From Rincon Camp the run is about 1.5 miles long and drops about 550 feet. From the helicopter pad put-in its about 1.1 mile and drops 450 feet.

Upper FallsClick!
Lower FallsClick!

The super high quality segment from the helicopter pad put-in to the "S-turn drop" is commonly done without any carries. The S-turn drop is a 5-6 ft. drop that can be seen from Sherman Pass Road near the 4000 ft. sign. It follows the "combination drop" pictured left, and has a downward-sloped, fan shaped shelf forming the lip of the drop. After the S-turn, the creek dog-legs to the left.

Many boaters carry the section from the pool below the S-turn to where the trail (on river right) is near the creek again, at a rocky area. Below here are a variety of drops, including a vertical slot that some boaters run, but others avoid by sliding down a steep trough. After crossing under the bridge, but before the confluence with the Kern, is a tricky drop that should be scouted.

While this run is about as clean as a steep creek can get, people have broken boats, badly strained their backs, broken elbows and egos on this run; so scout frequently and know what you're doing. If you choose not to run the biggest waterfall, the portage is not a simple walk around. There is an unofficial gage on the bridge at the parking lot take-out that boaters use for a reference. What a particular reading means varies a lot from boater to boater, but basically under 1 is very boney; 2 is low runnable; 5 is high; anything above 5 is very high. At any level things happen fast and good judgement and paddling skills are required.

Little Kern

Please Note!

There are some wild stories about the first descent of this difficult Kern tributary

South Fork Kern

Please Note!

The South Fork Kern was originally done by Royal Robbins, et. al.

Monache Meadows to Kennedy Meadows Campground

The first five miles of this nearly 20 mile Southern Sierra wilderness run will lull you into thinking this run has no gradient. When you cross under the Pacific Crest Trail bridge at mile five get ready for a change of scenery, over the next four miles the gradient averages about 200 fpm! Bouldery rapids in a creekish streambed continue until you pass under the PCT a second time, about two miles from the takeout.

There are several potential portages on this IV-V run. The most difficult section is the most remote.

Kennedy Meadows to Long Valley

Kennedy Meadows to Long Valley (Rocky Contos)


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