Information & Maps provided by US Forest Service /Department of Agriculture
Welcome to whitewater paradise - the Forks of the Kern. Designated byCongress in 1987, as a National Wild and Scenic River, this section of the KernRiver pirouettes through some of the finest raftable whitewater in NorthAmerica. The Forks is a nearly continuous series of class IV and Vrapids and waterfalls.
|Difficulty:||Class V (Expert)|
|Forks of the Kern|
|Take Out:||JohnsondaleBridge, Brush Creek, or Willow Point|
|Length:||approximately 17 miles|
|60 feet per mile|
FORKS RUN MAP & LOCATION: Thelaunch point begins 45 miles north of Kernville, at the confluence of the LittleKern River with the main Kern and is accessible only by trail. Travel north ofKernville via Mtn. Hwy. 99 to Johnsondale. Half-a-mile past Johnsondale turnright and take the Lloyd Meadow Rd. (22S82) north for 15 miles. Turn rightagain at the dirt road (20S67) marked "Forks of the Kern" and proceedto the end of the road (approx. 3-miles) to the Forks trailhead. The hike tothe launch point is a 3-mile long, narrow, rocky trail which descends steeply tothe Kern River.
GETTING EQUIPMENT TO RIVER: For most whitewater enthusiasts,getting equipment down the 3-mile trail to the Forks put-in will require the useof pack horses or mules. For details on renting animals, contact Golden TroutWilderness Pack Trains, P.O> Box 756, Springville, CA 93265. Summer Phone:(209) 542-2816. Winter Phone: (209) 539-2744.
RIVER MANNERS: You will be required to obtain a campfire permitbefore venturing down the Forks trailhead. A shovel and a fire pan arerequired. Extinguish all fires completely with water using the drown, stir, andfeel method. Overnight camping down at the Forks on the river is within theGolden Trout Wilderness and a visitor permit is required.
COMMERCIAL OPERATORS: Five whitewater rafting companies areauthorized by the Forest Service to outfit and guide day and overnightwhitewater trips on the Kern River. Please contact the rafting companiesdirectly for more information or reservations:
|Chuck Richard's Whitewater, Inc.||Lake Isabella / (760) 379-4444|
|Kern River Tours, Inc.|
|WoffordHgts. / (800) 323-4234|
|SequoiaOutdoor Center||Kernville / (760) 376-3776|
PERMIT REQUIREMENTS: Permits for private whitewater boating arerequired from May 15 to September 15. Each group of people must have a permitwith a designated party leader and complete a daily use manifest prior tolaunch. Manifests should be placed in one of the designated boxes. Group sizeis limited to 15 people. Reservations can be made in advance with a $2.00 feethrough a drawing selection process beginning March 15. The drawing will beheld April 15 and confirmations letters will be mailed by May 1. Permits gofirst-come, first served after May 15. Permits MUST be picked up inperson at one of the two locations listed below:
SEASON AND WATER FLOW: Late spring and early summer are recommendedfor boating the Forks Run (May to June). Water flows are dependent on snow meltand natural runoff. Changes in water flow may drastically change riverconditions. Daily waterflow information is available from Lake Isabella VisitorCenter at (760) 379-5646, the Cannell Meadow Ranger District at (760) 376-3781or Canyon Connection / Weather.
RECOMMENDED SAFETY EQUIPMENT: A Coast Guard approved personalflotation device must be readily accessible, properly fit, and in goodcondition, for each member of the party. Each raft should have an extra oar orpaddle, a 50 foot throwline with bag and a 16 foot mooring line.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: For more information about the whitewaterboating program, call the Lake Isabella Office at (760) 379-5646