Upper Kern River rafting--20+ miles of Wild and Scenic Class IV an easy drive from Los Angeles.

Upper Kern River rafting

The 20+ mile Wild and Scenic Upper Kern offers a multitude of classic Class IV whitewater stretches—all an easy drive from Los Angeles and Bakersfield.

Whitewater Dazzler half-day rafting trip

  • Class III-IV
  • 6-12 miles
  • ½ day
  • Minimum age 9
  • Meet time 11:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m.

Typical season:
March to July

2017 start dates:
7 days a week

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Download trip packet (PDF)


½-Day Trip – Upper Kern
Trip Start Adult Youth Group
Mon - Friday $125 $112.50 $106.25
Sunday $135 $121.50 $114.75
Saturday $145 $130.50 $123.25
Subject to 4% River and Land Use Fee.

Trip Description

On the Dazzler, after a quick warm up run, we head straight for the very best of the charging, galloping Upper Kern – where we ride and ride and ride some more! Includes cold beverage at end. Read the full trip description »

The 20+ mile Wild and Scenic Upper Kern is naturally divided into numerous shorter sections with names that are legends in the word of whitewater: Limestone, Chemise Gorge, Powerhouse, Cables, Ant Canyon.

Each of these famous runs is different at different flows, and each has its own unique ideal flow. So, whichever sections are best on the flow on the day of your trip, those are what we run. Our buses and flatbed raft trailers make transfers from run to run smooth and swift.

On these trips there is no lunch, no down time, no flat water, just maximum, high-energy, class III-IV action and non-stop whitewater fun!

Memorable Upper Kern Rapids include Limestone, Joe’s Diner, Betty’s Bakery on the Limestone Run; The Wall, Tombstone, Pepsi Challenge/Tequila Chute on the Camp 3 Run; Powerhouse Rapid on the River Kern Run; Ewings and Big Daddy on the Lickety Run.


Typical season:
March to July

2017 start dates:
7 days a week

Download trip packet (PDF)


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Snap, Crackle and Pop 1-day rafting trip

  • Class III-IV
  • 6-12 miles
  • 1 days
  • Minimum age 9
  • Meet time 8 a.m.

Typical season:
March to July

2017 start dates:
7 days a week

Expand pricing detail »

Download trip packet (PDF)


1-Day Trip – Upper Kern
Trip Start Adult Youth Group
Mon - Friday $160 $144 $136
Sunday $175 $157.50 $148.75
Saturday $195 $175.50 $165.75
Subject to 4% River and Land Use Fee.

Trip Description

Depending on water levels and the group's interests, we jet down several different sections of the Upper Kern, beginning with a stretch that is not overwhelming and gradually working up to stretches packed with sheer heart-thumping excitement. Includes bountiful lunch along river and cold beverage at end. Read the full trip description »

Upper Kern Snap, Crackle and Pop rafting trip montage Our buses and flatbed raft trailers make transfers from one run to the next smooth and swift. An ideal choice for both the novice and seasoned rafter, these full-day trips include lunch and beverages. Minimum age is 9 yrs old.

Note: Please understand that at certain water levels the best class IV stretches are well upriver from Kernville and require a bit more bus time - and the time frames quoted here for Upper Kern trips are approximate.

Upper Kern rapids: Limestone, Joe's Diner, Betty's Bakery on the Limestone Run; The Wall, Tombstone, Pepsi Challenge/Tequila Chute on the Camp 3 Run; Powerhouse Rapid on the River Kern Run; Ewings and Big Daddy on the Lickety Run.

During times of lower water, the best Class IV whitewater is on the Limestone run, which is upstream from Fairview Dam. It makes for a longer bus ride to the put-in, but is quite worth it!


Typical season:
March to July

2017 start dates:
7 days a week

Download trip packet (PDF)


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Thunder Run 1-day rafting trip

  • Class V
  • 9 miles
  • 1 day
  • Minimum age 16
  • Meet time 8:00 a.m.

Typical season:
April to June

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Download trip packet (PDF)


1-Day Trip – Thunder Run
Trip Start Adult Youth Group
Sun - Friday $225 $202.50 $191.25
Saturday $250 $225 $212.50
Subject to 4% River and Land Use Fee.

Trip Description

This section of the Wild and Scenic Upper Kern River offers top Class V whitewater and fresh mountain air. Includes bountiful lunch along river and cold beverage at end. Read the full trip description »

White Water Rafting on the Upper Kern RiverOn the Thunder Run, long, pulsating rapids rock and roll one after the next. An ongoing frenzied dance of intense pleasure, this run bounds over high drops and twirls among boulders on and on, rumbling and booming, mile after mile. Here, cliffs of red, yellow and magenta conjure visions of the Painted Desert, and crystalline water cascades in twists and turns down gorges.

Thunder Run on the Upper Kern RiverA full step up in excitement and difficulty from the Lower Kern, this class V run is for seasoned, daring whitewater enthusiasts only.

All participants must be physically fit, swim well, and have previous class IV rafting experience. Wetsuits are essential. We raft primarily in paddle boats. Paddlers must have class IV paddle experience and must, at the beginning of the trip, complete the Class V Warm-Up.



Thunder Run Rapids: Some of the more memorable rapids include Squashed Paddler, Sock'em Dog, The Flume and Fender Bender.


Typical season:
April to June

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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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