The Forks of the Kern: a legendary wilderness rafting experience on the Kern River

Forks of the Kern

Whitewater Voyages was the very first outfitter to raft the entire Wild and Scenic Forks of the Kern without portaging in 1980. Join us on a 2- or 3-day paddle or oar trip down this classic Class V wilderness run.

Wilderness Juggernaut 2-day or 3-day rafting trip

  • Class V
  • 18 miles
  • 2 or 3 days
  • Minimum age 16
  • Meet time 7:00 am

Typical season for Forks rafting trips:
May to August (depending on snow pack)

2017 start dates:
May 3, 8, 13, 18, 23, 28
June 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, 27
July 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, 27,
August 1, 6, 11

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Download trip packet (PDF)


2-Day or 3-Day Trip - Forks of the Kern
Trip Length Adult Youth Group
Two days $750 $675 $637.50
Three days $950 $855 $807
Subject to 4% River and Land Use Fee.

Trip Description

In this breathtaking canyon of solid granite deep within Sequoia National Forest, the Kern River pirouettes through what is probably the finest stretch of raftable whitewater in North America, the Forks of the Kern. Read the full trip description »

The spectacular vistas of the Forks of the KernThe launch point for the Forks trip, at the confluence of the Little Kern River with the main Kern, is accessible only by trail - a 3-mile-long, Forest Service rocky trail which descends steeply down into the majestic canyon.

All food and river gear is transported in by pack animals and each member carries in his or her own gear (we suggest a 30-lb. limit) in special waterproof bags with padded shoulder straps which we provide.

Packing-in to the Kern wilderness heightens your sense of isolation, adventure and natural beauty that is the hallmark of a Forks-of-the-Kern rafting trip.

Vortext Rapid on the Forks of the KernEighteen miles long and dropping at the astonishing rate of 60 feet per mile, the Forks of the Kern River tumbles through a supremely delightful, nearly continuous series of class IV and V rapids and waterfalls.

Awesome drops, mammoth holes and towering waves crowd in one after the next in quick-fire, presto tempo seemingly without end. This cannonball shot of white water crashes together, like a screaming, dancing cyclone in ever-building crescendo, rumbling higher and higher on the Richter scale.

Carson Falls on the Forks of the KernRising well over 1000 feet, the towering canyon walls of the Forks of the Kern change from lush, sloping forest to naked, vertical granite. Spectacular side-canyon cascades plunge into the canyon.

A few yards from the river, Freeman Creek forms a magical waterfall, full and high, descending into a pool with sandy bottom, swirling and bubbling, inviting one to swim around behind the falls and peer out through the cascade. Dry Meadow Creek enters the main canyon down a staircase of magnificent waterfalls in a smooth, voluptuous gorge culminating in a wonderful natural waterslide you will love.

The Forks should be attempted only by healthy, active, rugged people with the ability to hike in, strong swimming skills and previous whitewater rafting experience. All participants must be able to complete the Class V Warm-Up. Before inviting friends to join this trip, please make sure they qualify physically, are aware of the rigors to be encountered, are strong swimmers, and, if they wish to paddle, have paddled class IV and can complete the Class V Warm-Up. Wetsuits are vital and are included in the trip price.

Forks of the Kern Rapids: Some quite memorable Forks rapids include Carson Falls, West Wall, Vortex, Gortex, Needle Rock, Geology I, II, and III.


Typical season for Forks rafting trips:
May to August (depending on snow pack)

2017 start dates:
May 3, 8, 13, 18, 23, 28
June 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, 27
July 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, 27
August 1, 6, 11

Download trip packet (PDF)


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Whitewater Voyages
11252 Kernville Road, Kernville, CA 93238
Call Toll Free: 800-400-7238
The Leader in California White Water Rafting Trips Since 1975

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