River Class: V. Duration: 1 day. Google Map Directions. First, we headed up to Johnsondale Bridge and hiked a bit upriver. Dry and dropper fly combinations or double nymph rigs dead drifted under an indicator are top choices for fly anglers. If you are running Chamise Gorge then you must make the takeout just above Upper Salmon Falls. It is very hard to pull a boat back upstream if you miss this. The rive splits here into two channels around a tree island in the center of the river. There is a seam between a ledge on river left, and the Dog Hole in the center of the rapid. The takeout is a beach on river left, just above Cables Rapid. Anything downstream of this is categorized as Kernville Camping. Mile 2.90 – Fender Bender Rapid: 35.82187, -118.46037 Class V. The entrance to Fender Bender is very similar to the Flume. Right after put-in, enjoy this Class II riffle down the right channel of the island. Due to upstream dam releases for irrigation and power generation, this part of the river has a swift flow even in the driest summers. Usually entering center and dodging rocks, stay center as the river turns and line up for the big waves and holes through the bottom of the rapid. Interested in helping us grow this project? The Kern river is generally divided into two different sections: Upper Kern and Lower Kern. The far-right is the deeper channel, but you may have to duck under low branches at the entrance. Buena Vista Lake, when overflowing, first backed up into Kern Lake and then upon rising higher drained into Tulare Lake via Buena Vista Slough and a changing series of sloughs of the Kern River. The Upper Kern (North Fork) has over 20 miles of easily accessible whitewater for rafting and kayaking. A wonderful and mild section of the Kern River, the Lickety Split is a great option for young families and those new to whitewater. Stay Out. It also flows into Lake Isabella. The rapids at high flows are swift and continuous. The seven different sections are described below from the furthest upstream down towards Kernville. The irrigated region of the Central Valley near the river supports the cultivation of alfalfa, carrots, fruit, and cotton, cattle grazing, and many other year-round crops. A Kern River Use Permit is required year round for each craft (kayak, raft, etc). The river forks here (take the right channel) and the class IV starts at the confluence of the two channels. Most campsites feel private because of the boulders and trees between campsites. Mile 1.81 – Satan’s Slot Rapid: 35.90277, -118.47342 Class IV. Mile 2.53 – The Flume Rapid: 35.82544, -118.46478 Class IV/V. Haggard's last song, "Kern River Blues", was recorded two months prior to his death in 2016. Mile 0.35 – Squashed Paddler Rapid: 35.8515, -118.45241 Class IV. Merle Haggard's song "Kern River" fictionally recounts such a tragedy. A long rapid best run down the middle, running medium-sized drops and punching through munchy holes along the way. Mile 1.73 – Riverside Park Take-out: 35.75487, -118.42332 River Right. The fun begins as the river makes a right hand turn with a shallow, brushy channel on the right. Mile 1.42- Ewings Rapid: 35.75847, -118.4212 Class III. The lakes were part of a partially endorheic basin that sometimes overflowed into the San Joaquin River. A quick, technical rapid directly above Black Bottom Falls, take a tight left-angling slot in the center of the river into a slalom-y airplane turn between pour-overs and boulders. Upper and Lower Salmon Falls are non-navigable Class VI rapids. Straight forward, read and run Class II. If you find yourself running this rapid stay left, as there is a large surf hole near the bottom of the rapid. The bottom nine can be run on river right or river left. A huge start to Ant Canyon. Mile 0.77- Fairview Campground: 35.92919, -118.49243 River Left. About halfway down you will pass holes in the center of the river and can start working right to punch through big hits at the bottom. Kern River Outfitters has been a permitted outfitter on the Kern River since 1980. Pop into an eddy on river left for easy access. The large oil field, on low hills which rise gradually into the Sierra foothills, formerly allowed much of its wastewater to drain directly south into the river. Its swift flow at low elevation makes the river below the reservoir an extremely popular location for rafting. Discover genuine guest reviews for Group Campsite on Upper Kern River along with the latest prices and availability – book now. Mile for mile this is the most action-packed day of white water the Upper Kern has to offer.  The upper part of the Kern River canyon, at least above Golden Trout Creek, was widened and deepened by glaciers during the Ice Ages. When finishing the rapid punch through a wave on river right to get high in the eddy. At low water the tree far left at the entrance comes into play, so be aware. Starts at: $160 / person. Not much shade at this campground, but walkable to McNally’s restaurant. Both the far right and the far left go. A slightly more technical line takes you weaving down the right side for the first half of the rapid before cutting hard left above a boulder/pour-over. Tubing is popular along this stretch. This is also known as the Limestone Put-in. Low water is 300 – 1000 CFS. In extremely wet years the river will reach the Tulare Lake basin through a series of sloughs and flood channels. One of those take-outs people are just dying to get to.  The river then flows through a winding valley in the Sierra foothills before entering the San Joaquin Valley at Bakersfield, the largest city on the river. 10 minutes round trip. , Due to water diversion and Isabella Dam the Kern River's discharge changes considerably over its length. Be aware of the tress and low lying branches. Rapids like Sock ‘Em Dog, The Flume and Fender Bender demand respect and are sure to challenge even the most experienced paddlers. Snapshot Details This trip meets at 8:45AM and returns between 3 and 5PM. Let’s talk whitewater. Stay on the inside right into this turn, as the left side is manky and filled with brush. Aptly named for the high number of rubber raft bottoms seen here, flips in Black Bottom must be cleaned up quickly, as there is “no time” before the next rapid just downstream. My typical rig for the Upper Kern River is a 3x leader with a size 4 tan Huck-Hopper on top, followed by 3 feet of 4X tippet then a size 8 black Beldar stonefly nymph imitation followed by another 18 inches of 5x tippet and a size 16 Huck Green Caddis Nymph Cripple. Fish in the now dry Tulare Lake were left stranded on the shores. As soon as possible start ferrying all the way back to the left side of the river and squeeze in between the left shore and a large pour-over to finish the rapid. Correct your angle to a downstream right angle as you get into the top of the rapid and run the flume drop with a slight right angle. A large parking area offering dispersed camping with a good shaded beach to launch from. With many of the campgrounds located directly adjacent to the river, ample fishing, rafting and simply enjoying the river is available to campers. All but two of these sections are impacted by Fairview Dam and its corresponding diversion. There are seven distinct sections on the Upper Kern. Our guides pick and choose the best sections each day, which means you will always have a blast. Work your way down the middle of the left channel and prepare for a move to the right. The uppermost section of the Kern that is accessible by road, the Limestone section of the Kern contains three stand-out rapids, a few smaller rapids, and accessibility that allows running many laps in a day. We recommend sticking to sections that are within your skill level as well as boating with someone that has recent Upper Kern experience. Often overlooked, Any Canyon is an enjoyable Class III and IV run with lots of different options for intermediate boating. Specifically to the Kern watershed, an oral history was taken from Roy De Voe, who claimed to have seen "very old beaver sign" on the east side of the Kern River at Funston Meadow (elevation 6,476 feet (1,974 m)) in 1946. Mile 1.73- Riverside Park Rapid: 35.75483, -118.42294 Class II. These FREE camp areas are called dispersed camping sites. Weave your way through the holes for a clean run. Ewings is one main drop with a hole that only gets bigger with higher flows Running the drop too far left or right can put you in a less than ideal spot except at high flows when a right sneak line opens up. Mile 1.52 – Milly’s Hole: 35.79585, -118.45195 Class II. Below the canyon the Kern River has a gradient of 0.3% until it reaches the Kern River Oil Field and begins to meander along flat land into and through the city of Bakersfield. Mile 1.04 – Goldledge Campground: 35.87342, -118.4581 River Left. At high water, 4,000 CFS+, there is a class IV sneak for the rapid far on river left. As the river goes from a slow turn right into a sharp bend work hard to stay right of center. Mile 3.33 – Thunderbird Put-in/Take-out: 35.81616, -118.45754 River Left.  Mile 0.89 – Johnny McNally’s Fairview Lodge and Restaurant: 35.92743, -118.4934 River Left.  The Kern Canyon fault passes very close to Isabella Dam, and is considered a threat to the dam's structural stability. This Forest Service campground has small beaches at the campsites furthest upstream. The Kern River is one of the very few rivers in the Central Valley which does not contribute water to the Central Valley Project (CVP). More campgrounds Click here for a detailed description. Mile 1.39 – Raft Surf Wave: 35.95843, -118.47746 Around 1,500 CFS a fun surf wave forms at the bottom of Joe’s Diner. River Topo Maps feature accurate topographic & hydrologic data of rivers and creeks around the United States. Click here for a detailed description. This is the last take-out before getting to the Class IV stretch of the river. The far-left channel has fewer trees at the entrance but has a rocky exit -point your boat river right and hold on. Enter right of center being mindful of shallow rocks. There is an opening in the tree island at the bottom of the rapid. An easy rapid, stay inside as the river makes a sharp left turn. Generally the cleanest line is to enter on river left and slalom between holes and boulders at the top of the rapid. Minimum Age: 16-18* Adrenaline junkies will love this trip. Your final take-out option before Upper Salmon Creek Rapid is just below this rapid on river left. An enjoyable Class IV romp, the Cables run is the Kernville classic. This is the last take-out before getting to the Fairview Dam. Also known as Little Las Vegas or Camp James Rapid, this rapid flanks Camp James, located on river left. Read and run through either the left or right. Unlike the Lower Kern River, the Upper Kern is free-flowing, which means the river level fluctuates depending on snowmelt. At the top of Tequila Chute look for a narrow right channel flowing through a boat-width slot in the trees. The Lickety Split run drops 32 feet per mile. If missed, there is a final eddy 300 yards downstream at the end of the park. Roads End to Calkin’s Flat is 6 minutes round trip. However, modern environmental regulation ended this practice, and the contaminated water is now cleaned at water treatment plants and used to irrigate farms in the valley to the west. Mile 3.46 – KR3 Take-out: 35.77394, -118.4345 River Left. To view where they get the data from, click here. Isabella and Isabella Dam, flows through a very rugged. The campsites are a combination of shaded and sunny. Brush Creek. Stompy holes (and options) abound. Rio de San Felipe, La Porciuncula, Po-sun-co-la, Porsiuncula River. Another fun option starts right at the top of the rapid angling left, where you’ll pick your way to a sizable center drop. From here a short but steep carry takes you up to the road; take care crossing. They offer trips ranging from just a few hours to a couple days and whitewater from mild Class III to Class V. They are the highest rated rafting company in Southern California and operate from mid-March through mid-September. Campgrounds include Camp 3, Fairview, Goldledge, Headquarters, Hospital Flat, and Limestone. Reviews on Kern River Camping in Kernville, CA 93238 - Rivernook Campground, KRS at Camp James, Limestone Campground, Camping on the Kern, Frandy Campground, Camp Kernville, Kern River, Sierra Gateway Cottages, Whitewater Voyages, Kern River Vacation Trailers Click here for a detailed description. Some of these sections can be linked up creating a continuous run and others have mandatory portages. Mile 2.82 – Powerhouse Rapid: 35.77979, -118.44339 Class III. Hug the left side of this brush into a couple good hits, then continue picking your way down the right side. One of the longer rapids, Cables clocks in at over half a mile. Click here for a detailed description. McNally’s is a popular steakhouse. If you are using this as a take-out, be sure to catch the eddy on river left at the bottom of the rapid. Also, Mr. De Voe reported that his friend Kenny Keelor trapped the Kern River for beaver around 1900, making his camp at the mouth of Rattlesnake Creek (elevation 6,585 feet (2,007 m)) until they were trapped out completely by 1910 – 1914.  This oral history is consistent with another oral history taken one watershed to the north by CDFG's Donald T. Tappe from a retired game warden in 1940, who stated that beaver were "apparently not uncommon on the upper part of the Kings River" until 1882–1883. Mile 0.06 – Bombay Rapid: 35.88522, -118.45732 Class IV/IV+. Click here for a detailed description. This should pull you right around the hole, where you can finish the rapid and catch a small eddy nestled between granite slabs on river right. Mile 2.01 – Black Bottom Falls: 35.90114, -118.47092 Class IV/IV+. Do not run this. Click here for a detailed description. An easy read and run rapid, this section forks right around a small island but can be bypassed and medium and higher flows to the left. Includes bountiful lunch along river and cold beverage at end. Enter far on river left. A large boulder in the center-right side of the river must be passed on river right. Rather than running the final wave-train, punch into an eddy just behind a large boulder on river left for access to this surf. In contrast the first stream gauge below Isabella Dam has recorded an average annual mean of 946 cu ft/s (27 m3/s) but a maximum daily discharge of only 7,030 cu ft/s (200 m3/s). A few selected canals are shown. Mile 0.83 – Straight Shot: 35.76367, -118.42901 Class II. A straightforward rapid that slowly turns left with a very calm lead-in. The river splits into two channels on the right side. The Kern Canyon is popular for camping, hiking, and picnicking. Mile 1.86 – Hospital Rock Rapid: 35.83116, -118.45585 Class IV. Ant Canyon to Corral Creek is 10 minutes round trip. Enter with an upstream left angle (facing river right, angled left and upstream), and cut in above the center boulder that blocks the entrance in the middle of the rapid. After Bombay the river makes a sharp right turn. Go with someone with. Mile 1.92 – Airplane Turn Rapid: 35.90181, -118.47217 Class IV. At high flows, after meeting the other branch of river, prepare to keep momentum going right or cut left quickly at the bottom to avoid a large pour-over in the center of the river. , In 2008, after public outcry, the City of Bakersfield and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) decided to relocate a family of California Golden beaver (Castor canadensis subauratus) instead of killing them. Mile 2.17 – Lower Springhill Rapid: 35.86141, -118.44949 Class III+. Mile 0.00 – Ant Canyon Put-in: 35.88543, -118.45845 River Left.  With a descent of 2,000 feet (610 m) between Isabella Dam and Bakersfield, this section of the Kern River feeds several hydroelectric plants and is also a popular whitewater run.  California Golden beaver were native to the Central Valley and throughout the Sierra Nevada. Google Map directions. Correct to a downstream right angle, and run the center drop with a right angle. Stay right of center through the first “main” drop. Most of these campgrounds are public campgrounds, but there are some private camping options available too. Stay Alive" and tallies the deaths since 1968; as of May 22, 2020, the number of deaths listed is 307. high Sierra Nevada Mountains and flows through the Ino. Upper Kern and Little Kern River Fishing Report – August 25-28, 2017 August 30, 2017 Gunpowder River, Hunt Valley MD July 28, 2017 Seven Tips and Tricks for Fly Fishing in the Fall April 11, 2017 1) 4 mi. This feature marks the entrance to Limestone Rapid. This section of the Wild and Scenic Upper Kern River offers top Class V whitewater and fresh mountain air. Split a couple holes at the top and line ‘er up at the bottom for a steep, bumpy ride. Mile 2.60 – Corral Creek Take-out: 35.85615, -118.45068 River Left. Brush creek makes a right hand turn. Send us a message with how you would like to contribute. Take out is just below Corral Creek rapid on the left. Map of the San Joaquin and Tulare Basin region with the Kern River highlighted. At low water, be ready for some shallow rock dodging.  Currently, there are large numbers of beaver in the Ramshaw Meadows on the South Fork Kern River where their dams are trapping sediment, forming extensive pools, accelerating meadow restoration, and increasing riparian willow habitat. Mile 0.00 – KR3 Put-in: 35.77394, -118.4345 River Left. To catch the scout eddy you must pull into the small eddies in the trees on river right and grab branches to stop. The crème de la crème of the Upper Kern, the Thunder Run is the Kern’s biggest and most technically demanding run outside of the Forks.  After deviating briefly from its due south course as it flows east around Hockett Peak, it is joined by the Little Kern River from the northwest at a site called Forks of the Kern. From there cut immediately back left or continue right through a tight brushy channel.  Kern was the topographer of Fremont's third expedition through the American West. This resort is only a 2 minute drive from Kernville, where you can find restaurants, gas stations, rafting outfitters and a grocery store.  The Kern River flows due south through a deep glacier-carved valley, passing through Inyo and Sequoia National Forests and the Golden Trout Wilderness, and receiving numerous tributaries including Rock Creek, Big Arroyo, Golden Trout Creek and Rattlesnake Creek. Rapids like Little Momma and Big Daddy provide a great warm-up for the famous final drop at Ewing’s Rapid. The Kern River is particularly popular for wilderness hiking and whitewater rafting. With the cooler climate, great camping areas, and excellent fishing, the Upper Kern has become a very popular summer vacation get-away for many Southern Californian's. After making the turn look out for the rock/pour over known as The Greasy Spoon. On most rivers we work with a professional rafting company. At flows above 3,000 CFS, this section is recommended for people with strong rafting experience due to the low head dam just below the take out at Willow Point. Read-and-run through the rest of the rapid while generally sticking to the river left half after the right bend. Johnsondale Bridge to Willow Point is 2.4 miles.  The main branch of the river (sometimes called the North Fork Kern River) rises from several small lakes in a basin northwest of Mount Whitney. It’s Class II, III and IV and has a minimum age of 12 years old. Pull off the highway on the right side (heading north) and carry boats across the highway and down to the river. Mile 0.22 – Adam Ant Rapid: 35.88411, -118.45498 Class IV. Boasting the widest variety of whitewater found on any river in California, from Class V technical rapids to an in-town whitewater park (in Kernville), the 20-mile upper section of the Kern River offers something for kayakers and rafters of all levels. Upper Kern River Camping Upper Kern River campgrounds is the area just north of Kernville up to the Johnsondale Bridge. Only raftable at flows of 3,000+ CFS. (Even if there is enough water, the right channel is often choked with logs.)  In Bakersfield proper, most of the river's flow is diverted into various canals for agricultural use in the southern San Joaquin Valley, and provide municipal water supplies to the City of Bakersfield and surrounding areas. Mile 1.33 – Pulling Teeth Rapid: 35.87083, -118.45397 Class IV. There are large waves and holes down the center of the rapid. A trail leading from a large beach takes you up to the road where you can park on the opposite side. , The Buena Vista Lake basin is an arid area and the Kern River is the only significant water supply. Take the shallow right channel, staying close to the tree island. The upper Kern River Canyon was created primarily as a result of tectonic forces, and not just by the erosional force of the river. Formerly known as Camp James, the end of the campground you can begin to see Ewings Rapid. Click here for a detailed description. Shoot for this seam. It can also be used as a takeout if one is just looking to run the bigger stuff that is up-river. Mile 0.59 – Brush Creek Rapid: 35.96639, -118.48002 Class II/III. The upper Kern River from the Forks of the Kern upstream to Tyndall Creek is a designated Heritage and Wild Trout Water. Take-out is on river left just after these riffles, and can be difficult to catch at high-water. Beautiful River, Lake, Mountain and many great restaurants. Of all the major gold producing rivers in the California Mother Lode, the Kern River is the farthest south. Read-and-run down the middle enjoying big waves. Mile 0.48 – Sex Rapid: 35.91352, -118.48719 Class IV-. This campground is located on river left and offers gorgeous views of the rapid. 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