Upper Kern

Bird’s Eye View

The Kern River is located in the southernmost part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just an hour from Bakersfield and 3 1/2 hours from Los Angeles. One of the greatest things about the Upper Kern River is that there is incredible diversity in your boating options. It really has everything from Class II to Class V, and it’s all easily accessible.

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Upper Kern River Whitewater Photo Gallery


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The Upper Kern in a Nutshell

Difficulty: Class II-V, several sections

Length: 20 miles (for all sections)

Season: April – July

Put-in: Johnsondale Bridge

Take-out: Kern River Park

Who should go: Folks looking to escape the Southern California heat; there is something for everyone on the Upper Kern.

California Whitewater

Whitewater & Scenery

Whitewate & Scenery With rapids ranging from Class II to Class V, easy road access, and short 1/2 day stretches, the Kern is a great place both to learn how to kayak or raft and to advance your skills to the next level. In places, the river goes away from the road and the scenery is quite beautiful.

Read more about Upper Kern Whitewater.

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River Flows

River Flows Flows vary slightly in some sections because of a diversion dam that takes water out of the Upper Kern.

Learn more about Upper Kern River Flows.

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LogisticsLogistics are a no-brainer on most of these short runs. Put-ins and take-outs are along the main road as well as campgrounds.

Keep reading about Upper Kern Logistics.

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Upper Kern Video


Watch an Upper 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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