Lower Kern

Bird’s Eye View

Like the American and Tuolumne Rivers are to Northern California boaters, the Lower Kern is the go-to summer river trip for SoCal rafters and kayakers. The whitewater is technical at low flows and very challenging at higher flows. Over the course of 20 miles, the run begins with Class II and III whitewater and ends with a tremendous series of Class IV rapids. There are numerous put-in and take-out options, as well as hot springs along the way. To be “stuck” running the Lower Kern in the summer is definitely a good thing!

California Whitewater

Lower Kern River Whitewater Photo Gallery


California Whitewater

Lower Kern in a Nutshell

Difficulty: Class III-V

Gradient: 30 ft/mi

Length: 20 miles total , 1-2 days

Season: May – September

Sections: Keyesville South to Miracle; Miracle to Democrat

Who should go: SoCal-ers looking for a close rafting trip (only 2.5 hours from LA), summer boaters who like warmer water and hot weather. Anyone who loves hot springs

California Whitewater

Whitewater & Scenery

Whitewate & SceneryOne section of the Lower Kern is nicknamed “Jungle Run” because of the low hanging trees and dense green vegetation on its banks.

Read more about Lower Kern Whitewater.

California Whitewater

River Flows

River FlowsWith flows released from the upstream Lake Isabella, the Lower Kern is a favorite for Southern California boaters throughout the summer.

Learn more about Lower Kern River Flows.

California Whitewater


LogisticsEasy road access and big dirt parking lots make doing a run on the Lower Kern an easy endeavor. On the Miracle to Democrat stretch, there’s an easy portage.

Keep reading about Lower Kern Logistics.

California Whitewater

Lower Kern Video


Watch a Lower Kern video before you see it up close.

California Whitewater

Places to Eat, Places to Stay
& Things To Do

Places To EatPlaces To StayThings To Do

California Whitewater

Local Gear Shops

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

Update cookies preferences