Kern River runs 

Feeling lost on the Kern river?

The Kern has many access points along the roads making it easy to get confused. On the plus side, with so many access points, it is easy to customize your run. Here is a rundown of access points and the common runs. This is not a substitute for guide information. It is just a handy ‘Cliff note’ reference. More detailed info is available here. And here. I’ve provided the class of the rapids directly below each access point so you know what you are getting into at each launch point. The access points open links to Google maps and flow graphs are provided with links to

Forks of the Kern 

Put in on river RForks of the Kern trail end of 20S67The Forks run. Class V Flow

Upper Kern

R Johnsondale bridge on hwy 99. Limestone run. IV Flow 

L Take out Willow point above Fairview dam. (When operating, flow is 500 cfs less between the dam and the KR3 powerhouse access. This is common unfortunately.) Flow for this section 

LTurnout 0.4 mi below the dam. Fairview run. III

L Calkins flat. Chamise Gorge run. IV+ 

L Take out – Turnout above Salmon falls. V+! Portage

LAnt Canyon CG. Ant Canyon run. IV

L Corral creek. Thunder run. V

L Thunderbird CG. Cables run. IV

L Camp 3 access. Alt. Put in below Cables rapid. IV. More IV below 

Halfway . Alt. access below The Wall rapid IV. More IV below. 

L Riverkern Beach. Powerhouse run. III+

L KR3 access. Lickety run. III- Flow from here to the lake 

R Riverside park. Cemetery run. II 

R Take out The Old Cemetery. Only Lake Isabella below. 

Lower Kern

R Upper Keysville access just below hwy 155 bridge. Jungle run. III+ 

As of 2017 the Borel power house is inoperable so this section is fully watered. Flow for this section.

L Lower Keysville access off hwy 155. Alt launch. III+

L Granite Launch off highway 178. Alt. Launch below Wallow rock. III+ below

LMiracle hot spring. ‘THE’ Lower kern run.  IV Flow from here to Democrat take-out  

Portage R Royal flush. V+! No road access 

L Delonegha access on highway 178. Big 5 run. IV

L Take out Democrat access hwy 178. Take out before a dam. 

Lower lower Kern into Bakersfield 

LMouth of the canyon. Rio Bravo run. IV  Portage R of dam. (Often dewatered up to 1200 cfs by diversion)

R Hiking trail above bridge. Rancheria trail run. II+ NO PARKING on the road. Full flow similar to the flow of the ‘Lower’ Kern sections. (put-in is below powerhouse) Flow from here to the Hart park take-out 

LRancheria bridge parking area (break-ins are common). Rancheria Bridge run. II+ Put-in options above and below a II+ rapid.

L Ming lake behind golf course. Alternate launch II-

L Take out Hart park. Last good take out.