Information & Maps provided by US Forest Service /Department of Agriculture
Welcome to the Kern River! Designated by Congress in 1987, as part of theNational Wild and Scenic River System. With a gradient of 30 feet per mile, theKern is one of the steepest and wildest whitewater rides in North America.
LOWER KERN RUN MAP & LOCATION: TheLower Kern is 32 miles from the Isabella Dam to the canyon Mouth aboveBakersfield, California. Of this, 19 miles of thrilling rapids draws thousandsof river runners each summer. At normal flows, BLM launch sites to Sandy Flatis mostly Class II water, with a few short Class III rapids. Along this stretchbrush and trees, overhanging the riverbed, present a special hazard for rafters. Below Sandy Flat are Class III and IV rapids with Class II sectionsinterspersed. One Class V rapid, Royal Flush, is found in this section wherefloaters must portage using the developed trail on the right bank.
|South of Lake IsabellaDam at BLM South|
|Put In:||Miracle Hot Springs|
|Class:||IIto V (Medium to Difficult), varies according to water level|
|32 miles total|
PERMIT REQUIREMENTS: This is an annual permit good for the entireyear. Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis and are free ofcharge. A permit is required for EACH craft. Group size can't exceed15 people on the lower Kern.
To obtain a permit, fill out an application IN PERSON at ForestService offices in Lake Isabella, Kernville or Bakersfield. Applications willnot be mailed out or left in office drop boxes. Upon completion of yourapplication, a water proof permit may be issued.
RIVER USE MANIFEST: Each day, a completed manifest must be left ata designated drop off point for the specific river run prior to your launch. Manifests are available at each Forest Service office and at designated drop offboxes in the field. The maximum party size for each manifest is 15 people forthe Lower Kern River ONLY. More than one permit number may appear on amanifest as long as the number of passengers does not exceed the 15 personlimit.
If new passengers are added to your trip during the day, a new river usemanifest must be completed and left at a designated drop off point, prior to thenext launch.
SEASON AND WATER FLOW: During a normal water year, the raftingseason usually runs from May to September. Lower Kern waterflows are dependentupon releases from Lake Isabella Dam. Normal flows range from 800 to 3000 cfs. After Labor Day, flows may drop below 800 cfs. Daily waterflow information isavailable from Greenhorn Ranger District at (805) 871-2223 orCanyon 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.