The Upper Kern Full Day Class V offers intrepid river runners a full day of Class IV-V whitewater rafting, our most challenging trip.
Challenging Whitewater Rafting on the Kern River
For a short time in the spring, the snowmelt offer’s the Upper Kern Full Day Class V. The class V season is typically mid-April through mid-July. For the adventure seekers, the Thunder Run or Chamise Gorge sections of the Upper Kern are the most difficult one-day raft trips we offer. The Thunder Run has continuous class IV-V rapids with names like Sock’em Dog, Squashed Paddler, and Fender Bender. Chamise Gorge has class IV-V rapids called Helicopter Rock, Satan’s Slot, Black Bottom Falls. You will definitely get your fill of huge whitewater and come away with some great stories. All class V participants must be physically fit, good swimmers and have previous class IV experience. A Class V Paddlers Evaluation is required prior to running class V whitewater.
The Class V Paddlers Evaluation is not competitive. The purpose of the test is to evaluate the ability of guests to deal with situations we might encounter. It is also done to emphasize teamwork, build confidence, and as a tool for you to judge your readiness to paddle class V whitewater. Class V rafting is strenuous and adventurous. For those who are ready, it is an incredibly fulfilling experience. Class V rafting requires full participation, teamwork, and paddlers who are in good physical condition.
The Class V Paddlers Evaluation may include:
Calisthenics and running
Hang from a bar for one minute
On river swimming and river skills, including swimming across currents, catching eddies, swimming through class II-III rapid
A Class V Paddle Talk
The exact makeup of this test is at the discretion of the trip leader and will depend on the river, water level, and the paddlers.
Sierra South reserves the right to turn away those that we feel are not ready to tackle the class V trip. We may also substitute a class IV trip as an alternative. If we cancel a trip because the customer is not ready for class V whitewater, the customer will receive a refund, less a $25 processing fee per person.
Participating in a Class V Paddlers Evaluation in no way certifies your ability to successfully paddle class V whitewater or guarantees your safety.
Sierra South reserves the right to substitute oar/paddle combinations for paddle boats.
Schedule & Duration
Months of operation: April – July
Available at 8:30 a.m.
Six to seven hours
All class V participants must be physically fit, good swimmers, and have previous class IV experience
A Class V Paddlers Evaluation is required prior to running class V whitewater
Wetsuits are required on all class V trips
Must be at least 16 years old
Must weigh between 50 and 300 lbs.
Please wear shoes that will stay on your feet in the water, such as tennis shoes, water shoes, or sandals that have a heel strap. No flip-flops or bare-feet!
Max group size: 25 guests
A hearty river-side deli lunch is served mid-day
We suggest you arrive at the store 30 minutes prior to your trip. If you have a group over 20 or are getting wetsuits, please arrive 45 minutes to one hour prior.
This run is highly sensitive to high or low water conditions. Please contact us for up-to-the-minute water conditions.
All of our Southern California whitewater rafting trips may be adjusted based on water levels and/or other conditions.
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 canceled 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 canceled 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 Full Day Upper Kern Class V requires 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 the 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.
Responsibility & Liability:
All Sierra South trips and classes involve physical activity and include certain elements of risk. We make every effort to run trips and classes in the finest, most fun-filled manner as possible. However, we cannot guarantee your safety. It is your responsibility to evaluate your level of fitness and to select a trip or class which is appropriate for you. Seek medical advice before your trip if you question your physical condition. It is your responsibility to follow our instructions.
Everyone will be required to sign a release of liability/assumption of risk form and photography/video waiver form before departure. Minors under 18 must bring a release form signed by their parent or legal guardian.
No Unaccompanied Minors:
Minors must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
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.