Guiding whitewater rafting trips on the Kern River since 1985, we offer thrilling whitewater adventures for as little as $36 per person.
Whether you’re looking for an exhilarating solo ride, a family-friendly trip, or a class to help you improve your skills, we have a fun, on-the-water adventure for you.
International Scale of River Difficulty:
These are the five difficulty classes we run: Class I Rapids:
Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy. Class II Rapids: Novice
Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Rapids that are at the upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class II+”. Class III: Intermediate
Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class III-” or “Class III+” respectively. Class IV: Advanced
Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting may be necessary the first time down. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class IV-” or “Class IV+” respectively. Class V: Expert
Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. Proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential. Because of the large range of difficulty that exists beyond Class IV, Class V is an open-ended, multiple-level scale designated by class 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc… each of these levels is an order of magnitude more difficult than the last.
You may cancel 45 or more days before your Sierra South trip date and receive a full refund less a $25 processing fee per person. Cancellations made 44 days or fewer before trip date are non-refundable. If you must cancel, please try to find a friend to take your space. All trips go rain or shine. However, we reserve the right to alter or cancel a trip/class due to high- or low-water conditions, other such uncontrollable situations, or insufficient reservations. Only in the case of cancelled trips are trip fees refundable. Upon approval by our main office, refunds will be sent via mail. Refunds cannot be granted by guides, nor can refunds be given if you leave a trip or class early for any reason. Sierra South is not liable for other costs incurred in association with a cancelled trip. We suggest trip insurance such as Travelguard.com to cover any unexpected situations.
Some of our trips require a minimum number of guests to operate. The Lickety Split, Lickety Blaster, and Half Day Inflatable Kayaking trips require a total of 4 guests. The Combo, 1/2 Day Upper Kern, Full Day Upper Kern and The Forks trips all require a minimum of 6 guests.
We will attempt to contact you if the minimums have not been met for the activity that you have chosen prior to trip date. Minimum numbers can be met through one or multiple reservations and can be met up to the day before the trip. You can call 800-457-2082 for up-to-date trip status.
Water Levels Change:
Trips may be substituted or changed due to water level. Potential changes include, but are not limited to the following list: At higher water levels Inflatable Kayaking trips will be converted to regular rafting trips. Some Class IV trips may be converted to Class III trips and Class V trips may be converted to Class IV trips. During lower water levels, some Class IV trips will be rescheduled to our Class II & III trips. End of season trips can also be converted from rafting to inflatable kayaking or tubing.
Sierra South operates under permits issued by: Sequoia National Forest, Klamath National Forest, and the National Park Service/Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Sierra South is an equal opportunity recreation service provider.