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Kern River Whitewater Guide

Kern River Whitewater Guide

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Official app of Upper Kern River: Melting from Mount Whitney and then barreling through theForks of the Kern, the Upper Kern section begins atJohnsondale Bridgeand ends at Lake Isabella. The Upper Kern is well known for two reasons: Plentiful access and a variety of whitewater from Class II to Class V. There are a lot of different sections and nuances with the Upper Kern, so that information is broken out below.

Lower Kern River: When the weather warms up the water knob gets turned and the Lower Kern begins to flow. In regular years the season is from May through August. Isabella Lake is relatively shallow, which means that by the time outflow is underway, the water temperature is comfortable and not frigid. Top to bottom this river section is straight forward class II through IV, with one portage around a Class VI, the Royal Flush.

Forks of the Kern River: When the water is right, the Forks of the Kern presents some of the most scenic, toughest, and fun boating in the West. Unimpeded by dams, the flows are highly variable year to year which makes the season hard to predict as it is snowpack and subsequent melt dependent. However, when the Forks is flowing, the water is clear, cool, and full of big, fun whitewater. Top to bottom this river section contains stout class IV, the occasional class V, and very little downtime.

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