Forks of the Kern

Bird’s Eye View

The Forks of the Kern run is one of the best combinations of remote wilderness and high-adrenaline white water in California. In that regard, it’s a little like the Tuolumne, but cranked up a notch. Most boaters agree that the scenery is some of the best on any Sierra river, and definitely the top wilderness run in the southern Sierra.

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Forks of the Kern River Whitewater Photo Gallery


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The “Forks” in a Nutshell

Difficulty: Class IV+ – V

Gradient: 65 ft/mi

Length: 17 miles

Season: April – June

Put-in: Lloyds Meadow Campground

Take-out: Johnsondale Bridge

Who should go: Only expert kayakers and rafters should attempt this on their own, but several outfitters run the Forks.

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Whitewater & Scenery

Whitewate & Scenery Two days won’t seem like enough time to experience some of the most stunning scenery in the California foothills, especially since paddlers spend most of their energy trying to safely navigate the countless Class IV and V rapids.

Read more about Forks of the Kern Whitewater.

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River Flows

River FlowsThe Forks section of the Kern is free flowing and depends on snowmelt from the peaks surrounding Mt. Whitney.

Learn more about Forks of the Kern River Flows.

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LogisticsThe rapids are the easy part compared to the 2 mile hike to put-in, for which most people hire porters.

Keep reading about Forks of the Kern Logistics.

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The “Forks” Video


Watch a Forks of the Kern video before you see it up close.

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Places to Eat, Places to Stay
& Things To Do

Places To EatPlaces To StayThings To Do

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Local Gear Shops

Local Gear ShopsBuy gear and other supplies for your whitewater trip on the Forks of the Kern in Kernville, Bakersfield, or Online.

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