(Prices listed do not include 5% USFS/Land use fees.)
Our world-famous Lickety-Split and Lickety-Blaster raft trips are far and away the two most popular and most affordable Class 2-3 whitewater rafting runs available on the Kern River. Both are full of enough excitement to challenge just about everyone from young tikes to grandmas and grandpas. Before your river trip, a Sierra South professional river guide will provide you with a trip overview, paddling gear and a paddle talk. Then it's anchors away for three miles of jam-packed action on Kern River rapids such as Big Daddy, Sidewinder, Freight Train , and Ewings. Trips start in late March and run through September.
If you're itchin' for a longer Kern River whitewater escapade that won't swamp your wallet, try our Lickety- Blaster. First, "get your feet wet" on a Lickety-Split run. Then, head back up river once more to put your newly honed whitewater skills to the test. On your second run, you and your guide may try to navigate some of the more difficult lines through the bigger Kern River rapids. The Maytag Wave at Big Daddy and the Rock Slot about Ewings are just two of our favorite spots to "visit" on the second run.
If you are looking for an "up close and personal" Kern River whitewater experience, try captaining your very own inflatable kayak. Our sit-on-top two-person I.K.s are comfortable to ride in and an absolute gas to paddle! Let us show you how to paddle your own I.K. and then lead you down the Class 2-3 water of the Lickety Split run. By mastering the basic paddling skills taught by your ever encouraging Sierra South river guide, most people should be able to navigate their own I.K. down the roarin' rapids of the Kern River with style. Our I.K. adventures run twice daily. The price includes two-person I.K.s, paddles, lifejackets, and helmets. Wetsuits are required in the spring and may be rented at the Sierra South Outfitter's store. We usually make two runs on the Powerhouse run. Please call for daily times.
How about a whole day of whitewater fun? Try the best of both worlds! Come rafting and inflatable kayaking all in one day. Enjoy a half-day in the 2-person inflatable kayaks and the other half as a bigger group in a raft. Lunch is on us between the runs. This trip is especially popular with Scout troops, YMCA Parent/child programs, church groups, company outings, and family & friends. Whitewater Merit Badges are available to earn for those scouts who qualify. Wetsuits are required in the spring and may be rented at Sierra South Outfitter's store.
Sierra South’s co-owner, Tom Moore (an Eagle Scout) designed the Whitewater Merit Badge program more than 30 years ago. It is unique to the Kern River and has been approved in cooperation with the Great Western Council of Boy Scouts of America. Earn your Whitewater Merit Badge this summer. Come rafting and inflatable kayaking all in one day. Leaders, please bring pre-filled-out scout blue cards. Prerequisites for the trip are Canoeing and Swimming Merit Badge. The scouts should read the Whitewater Merit Badge book prior to the trip. They will be quizzed orally at the end of the day on the book and on their exciting day on the river. Lunch is provided.
Rowing a Mini-Me is a blast! They are lightweight, nimble, fast, & fun. Perfect for enjoying the Lickety Split run and an excellent adventure on a Cable Run, Limestone, or Lower Kern. Now you can raft solo...just like kayakers! The full-day Mini-Me Rowing Class teaches you the basics of setting up, transporting, and rowing a Mini-Me Hyside raft. We will make multiple runs on the Lickety Split Class 3 section of the Upper Kern. The Mini-Me is 9' long. It weighs only 52 lbs.; perfect for those learning to row, without the size and weight of a larger raft. Ladies, get in on the fun! Two women can easily transport 2 Mini-Me’s. Join us for a day of new fun on the Kern.
Want the express track to enjoying the thrill of Whitewater Kayaking? Think of this as the equivalent of first-time tandem skydiving with an instructor; only on water. You get to feel the rush of paddling in the front of a two-person whitewater kayak with a skilled instructor at the controls in the back of the boat. We will help paddle you down the Lickety Split class 2-3 section of the Kern River for the sheer fun and excitement of the sport. You need no previous experience. Your guide will give you all the instruction you need as the two of you together will maneuver through the fun rapids of the Kern for an hour’s worth of pure whitewater pleasure. This is also a great trip to experience with a friend, spouse, or significant other in another Dynamic Duo with an instructor. It is a gas to watch them go through a rapid at the same time! If you simply want to experience the rush of kayaking before putting in the time and effort in acquiring the skills, this is the fast track, quickie way to go. Weight and age limits apply.
Want something a bit wilder than the class 2-3 Lickety Split? Try a Half Day Upper Kern trip and see what class 3-4 whitewater is all about! Sierra South offers four Half Day start times a day. With easy road access and multiple put-in options, we pick and choose the best sections of river to run. Wetsuits are strongly recommended for this trip until mid June. You can book your wetsuits online at the same time you book your trip. No food is provided on this trip. Max group size 25 guests. Min. age 12 years old.
The Wild & Scenic Upper Kern is a spring runoff river offering a variety of sensational whitewater along a 20 mile section just north of Kernville. More difficult than the Lickety Split run, the Upper Kern offers class 3-4 whitewater from late March through August depending on the season’s snowpack. With easy road access and multiple put-in options, we pick and choose the best sections of river to run. A hearty river side deli lunch is served mid day to fuel you for more whitewater to come. Wetsuits are strongly recommended for this trip until mid June. You can book your wetsuits online at the same time you book your trip. Max group size 25 guests. Min. age 12 years old.
For a short time in the spring the Upper Kern River snowmelt offer’s the one day Class 5 Thunder Run. The “Thundy” season is typically mid-May through mid-June. For the adventure seekers the Thunder Run is the most difficult one day trip we offer. With continuous class 4-5 rapids with names like Sock’em Dog, Squashed Paddler and Fender Bender you will get your fill of huge whitewater and come away with some great stories to tell your grandkids. All Thunder run participants must be physically fit, good swimmers and have previous class 4 experience. A Class 5 Paddlers Evaluation is required prior to running Class 5 whitewater. A hearty river side Deli lunch is served mid day to fuel you for more whitewater to come. Wetsuits are required on all Class 5 trips. You can book your wetsuits online at the same time you book your trip. Max group size 25 guests. Min. age 16 years old.
Running high in the Sierra from its source near Mt. Whitney, the Forks of the Kern is the most difficult and remote run we offer. A 2 or 3-day Forks of the Kern run is considered one of the premier wilderness whitewater trips in the USA. This trip offers continuous Class 4-5 whitewater for 17 miles with big rapids like Upper Freeman, Vortex, Gauntlet and Carson Falls. The spectacular Sierra scenery includes views of the Needles and the granite lined gorge you will be traveling through as well as brief side hikes to waterfalls such as Freeman Falls, Peppermint Falls and Dry Meadow Teacups. Gourmet outdoor meals are prepared by the guides at camp while you try your luck catching an elusive native Golden Trout. All Forks of the Kern participants must be physically fit, good swimmers, and have previous Class 4 experience. A Class 5 Paddler’s Evaluation is required prior to running Class 5 whitewater. Wetsuits & Dry-bags are included on our Forks trips. Max group size 15 guests. Min. age 16 years old. Please download our Forks of the Kern Float Notes for additional information.