» Kern River Rafting

Southern California’s Most Popular Whitewater and Kayaking Rivers

Kern River Rafting

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The Kern River:

The Kern River’s close proximity to Los Angeles and Southern California makes it one of the more popular whitewater rivers in California. Its incredible versatility doesn’t hurt either. Kern River trips can literally run the gamut from multiple day wilderness adventures (complete with mule trains and hiking into put-in) on the Forks of the Kern, to intermediate family trips on the Lower Kern below Lake Isabella. The section in the middle–rather confusingly called the Upper Kern–has several different sections you can run, ranging from beginner to expert. Logistics on this section of river are super easy, making it popular with private boaters needing to arrange their own shuttles.

Forks of the Kern River Rafting & Kayaking

Forks of the Kern:

For a multi-day wilderness trip in California, the Forks of the Kern is hard to beat. Sure you have to hike to put-in and either carry your gear or hire a mule train to carry it for you, but once you’re there you get advanced whitewater, a beautiful and remote canyon–and a backdrop of the jagged “Needles” mountain peaks high in the distance. Fantastic is no hyperbole here.

Upper Kern River Rafting & Kayaking

Upper Kern:

Upper Kern, versatility be thy name! Just starting out and looking for class II riffles to practice surfing and catching eddies? Pushing your intermediate skills to the next level? Looking for a fun, action-packed day on the water with friends? Somehow through the magic of nature (ok, and paved roads and man-made dams) you can actually experience all this on the Upper Kern River.

Lower Kern River Rafting & Kayaking

Lower Kern:

The Lower Kern is the closest whitewater river to Los Angeles and Southern California so it gets a lot of traffic from commercial boaters. But it’s not all convenience–it earns its popularity with 20 miles of striking class III-IV whitewater. One cool feature is that many trips start off with class III rapids and end with a flurry of class IV so people who don’t have a lot of experience get a chance to “warm up” before the biggest challenges of the day.