Safety - Additional Sources of Information - Permits
and Scenic North Fork Kern - Lower
Kern - Kern Below Democrat
(Cataracts) - Kern Below Rio Bravo
Wild and Scenic South Fork Kern
- Brush Creek - Dry
Paddling the Kern River
The Kern River area is a whitewater wonderland. The river
and its tributaries offer some of the most varied, challenging
and aesthetic whitewater boating in the world!
The North Fork features
the premier expert wilderness run, The
Forks, and over 20 miles of easily accessible, roadside
boating. The Lower Kern
has dependable summer flows, warm water, and exhilarating rapids.
The Kern Below Democrat (Cataracts
of the Kern) has awesome class IV, V, and V+ whitewater that
even the most experienced boater will find challenging. Like
steep creeks? Brush Creek
is one of the best and Dry
Meadow Creek even steeper, more difficult, and amazing!
Any river can be a dangerous place. The best way to learn
about rafting or kayaking is through a professional outfitter.
We offer many different kinds of raft
trips and kayaking lessons, so
you can maximize your enjoyment of the sport and all that it
has to offer.
Always, always wear a proper lifejacket when on, or near,
Safety Code of American
Guidebooks and maps that cover the Kern include:
- The Best Whitewater in California,
Lars Holbek & Chuck Stanley.
- California Whitewater - A Guide to the Rivers, Jim Cassady
& Fryar Calhoun
- Waterproof Kern River Maps
- Western Whitewater - From the Rockies to the Pacific, Jim
Cassady, Bill Cross, & Fryar Calhoun
We have a great selection of paddling Books & DVD's in the Sierra
South River Store.
Additional Kern River Info
Camping and Lodging
Kern River Festival
A good source for information regarding Kern area businesses, events,
and activities is the Kernville
Chamber of Commerce. You can contact them at:
- Kernville Chamber of Commerce
- Box 397
- Kernville, CA 93238
A boating permit is now required year round on nearly all sections
of the river. A permit is required on the Forks during the period
May 15 to September 15. According to the Forest Service, a permit
is not required for the section of the river from KR3 Powerplant
to Kernville. This section includes the Powerhouse Run
and The Park.
With the exception of the Forks run,
it's easy to get a permit. Just bring a picture ID to one of the local
ranger stations at Kernville or Lake Isabella. The Greenhorn Ranger
District office, previously located on Highway 178, has been moved
to Lake Isabella.
All runs that require permits, require that a daily manifest form
be filled out and placed in a manifest box. These are located at the
various Forest Service put-in's along the river.
For more information contact:
- Lake Isabella Visitor Center
Greenhorn Ranger District
- 4875 Ponderosa Drive
- Lake Isabella, CA 93240
- (760) 379-5646
- Cannell Meadow Ranger District
- 105 Whitney Road
- Kernville, CA 93238
- (760) 376-3781
- Greenhorn Ranger District
Bakersfield Visitor Center
- 3801 Pegasus Drive
- Bakersfield, CA 93308
- (805) 391-6088