The Forks of The Kern River

Forks Group Photo

Mile for mile, no stretch of whitewater in North America compares to the Forks of the Kern. This three-day, 22 mile trip features huge Class V drops and continuous Class IV whitewater framed by some of the most spectacular canyon scenery in the west. Space is limited and trips fill early. We expect to run Fork of the Kern trips through late June.

The Forks of the Kern originates near Mt. Whitney in the Golden Trout Wilderness. It is much more strenuous than other river trips and guests should be in good shape. We require that all guests have good stamina and take an evaluation swim. The canyon is steep and remote. We utilize horses and mules to carry our rafts to the river. Guides and guests hike the 2.5 miles to put-in carrying their own gear.

Floatilla of rafts

In describing our Forks of the Kern trip, Outside Magazine said, "The serious heart in throat moments come mid-run at the back-to-back Class V Vortex/Gauntlet doubleheader: a ten-foot slide followed by unscoutable drops that roll on for a seeming eternity."

Our featured Outfitters have established the standard in running this incredible Class V river. This trip here has earned a consistent Outstanding rating from the Forest Service and have been featured in numerous publications, including Outside Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and National Geographic Traveler.


Trips are limited and can fill fast, especially on high water years.

Start planning now and book soon! Catch that spring time run-off before it all melts away and you are stuck paddling some class IV run.


group of rafters

Trips are limited to 15 guests. A full trip typically has two paddle rafts and four oar/paddle set-ups. Every year, based on anticipated best water flows, we identify a few Priority Dates for Forks trips. These are likely to have the best conditions of the season. For 2008, those dates are May 31 and June 5. To encourage folks to sign up for these trips, we discount the trip fare. The discounted price for these dates is $798 per person.

Other trips starting on a Friday or Saturday are $998 per-person plus 3% Forest Service fee. Midweek trips are $898. Although most of our trips are 3 days long, charter groups of 8 or more can arrange two-day trips. Pricing is the same. Fares include the use of wetsuits, paddling jackets and waterproof bags for personal gear.

rafters around the campfire

Most of our Forks guests spend the evening before their trip in the Kern Valley at one of the many motels in the area. Our office will be happy to assist with your pre and/or post trip lodging plans.

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