PO Box 397
Kernville, CA 93238-0397
Phone: (760) 376-2629
Get a big jolt of fun without the crowds on this oft-overlooked waterway.
To jounce and tumble down a whitewater rapid is to rediscover both the power of water and the hooting joys of childhood. One of California's liveliest, easily accessible rivers is the Kern, full of plenty of fun rapids but not the crowds that tend to head for the better-known forks of the American River.
Fact is, the Kern offers some serious summer fun, with plenty of class III and IV rapids. There are outfitters galore in the area, and if you want to take a standard 1-hour run, you don’t even need to make a reservation. But if you've got the time and hankering for more adventure, 1- and 2-day trips--and even longer river getaways--can be more rewarding. To find the trip that suits you best, check the Kernville Chamber of Commerce website.
Tip: Rafters divide the Kern into three sections, the Lower Kern, Upper Kern, and the Forks. If you're looking for a ride with the most kick, aim for the Lower Kern, downstream of Lake Isabella, where class III and IV rapids run together in roller-coaster sequence. It generally runs best mid-May through mid-September.