Kern River Rafting Season 2017 Updates

We’re starting the season off right.

Due to all the great storms we’ve seen this passed winter, our snowpack levels are up 185% as of March 1st! Rafting season started March 18th, and since opening day we’ve seen water flows higher than the peak of last year!

Last year our peak was 2,500 CFS (cubic feet per second) and this year we have been steadily over 3,000 CFS, with a stormy day at the beginning of April reaching 5,000! And it’s only going to get higher from here.


What do the higher water flows mean for white water rafting season?

We are anticipating rafting season on the Kern to continue for a longer period of time this year. Normally, once we start seeing warmer weather the river will rise to a peak level as all the snow melt from Mount Whitney feeds into the Kern River. Last year this happened at the end of May and into the beginning of June. With snowpack levels being so much above average this year we are planning on running river trips until Labor Day.

For anyone interested in the inner tubing trips that we usually offer mid-July, as of  now we are unfortunately not anticipating being able to safely run inner tubing trips this year. Please check back with us later in the summer to see how the water levels are doing –nature is always unpredictable. And remember, always be safe when you are in the river. Wear a life vest, proper shoes, and if you are thinking of floating down, you should always go with a professional.

What else is new this year?

We’ve upgraded our equipment for our guests. Now you can rent our SoCal Rafting Splash Jackets! These are a waterproof jacket that you can wear over your clothes to keep you dry on the river. We still have wetsuits for all sizes, and if it’s a particularly chilly day, we will recommend the wetsuit and splash jacket combo.

SoCal Rafting Ewings Rapid

Frequently Asked Question: “Am I going to get wet?”

More exciting things to come…

This is the year to check whitewater rafting off your bucket list! We will be having a rafting season that is better than the passed 5 years, and we couldn’t be more excited to take everyone out boating on the Kern River! The Kern River is best place near Los Angeles, Bakersfield, San Diego, and other Central and Southern California cities for whitewater rafting! Don’t miss out on an awesome year.

Keep checking back on our Facebook page, YouTube page, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for updates and promotions!

Where to Stay

Kernville offers many  great places to rest your head after a long day of river time. Whether you are looking for a nice cabin, cozy B&B, or are looking to tent camp in the majestic wonders of nature that Kernville and the surrounding areas have to offer, here are some options to check out. We love them all.

Hotels, lodgings and tasty B&B’s

  • Kern Lodge Motel – (760) 376-2223
    • 67 Valley View Drive Kernville, California, 93238
  • The Kernville Inn – Toll free (877) 393-7900 or (760) 376-2206
    • 11042 Kernville Rd, Kernville, CA 93238
  • River View Lodge – (760) 376-6019
    • The Riverview Lodge 2 Sirretta St. Kernville, CA, 93238
  • Sequoia Lodge – (760) 376-2535
    • 16123 Sierra Way, Kernville, CA 93238
  • Sierra Gateway Cottages – (800) 888-8194
    • 13512, 13514, 13516 Sierra Way, 325 and 320 James Road Kernville, California, 93238

Roughin’ it

Who wouldn’t enjoy a night under the stars? Check out the local resources for campgrounds:

Upper Kernville:

Lake Isabella:

  • Frandy Park – (888) 372-6399
    • 11252 Kernville Rd, Kernville, CA 93238
  • KOA Campground – (800) 562-2085
    • 15627 Highway 178 Weldon , CA 93283
  • Rivernook – (760) 376-2705
    • 14001 Sierra Way, Kernville, CA 93238
  • Camp Kernville – (760) 376-2345
    • 24 Sirretta St. Kernville, CA 93238


Update on the Kern River: Rafting Season 2016!

Rafting season has been off to a great start this year. SoCal began rafting tours starting March 18th. Guide school was running during our first trips, and we’re happy to say that we’ve already had some awesome reviews from guests that we’ve taken down the Kern River.

When is the best time to go rafting on the Kern River?

If you’re wondering when the best time to go whitewater rafting this year, we recommend the end of April to the beginning of July.

water flow kern river

Three Year Average CFS

As you can see from the graph above, there will be another rise in water levels coming at the end of April into June (via Dreamflows). You can keep checking the current flows, and make your reservation if you’re looking for BIG WATER. It’s going to be a good year, and we can’t wait to go boating with you!

At the end of March, we had the opportunity to have a drone take footage of a family river trip. Thanks to one of our awesome guests, who took the video for us! Keep watching our YouTube page for more videos coming soon.



Rafting was Back! Fourth of July Weekend with SoCal

Fourth of July weekend has always been a busy and exciting weekend for SoCal Rafting. This year was a special experience for our guests as we had a recent rainstorm that brought the water level on the Kern River to triple what it was the day before!

On Friday, our morning started out as planned. We had a group of 30 doing our Pasadena Paddle Tubing trip, and we loaded up our new trailer with all the tubes. The water level was at 250 CFS in the morning, which was already twice as high as the weekend prior. Around 1:30 PM, our 12:30 trip made it back sooner than expected. The rainstorm the day before was causing the water level to increase even more, which was making the usual two hour inner tubing trip super fast. We were all super surprised when we checked the levels and realized it had tripled to 781 CFS! This was a higher CFS than it has been all season! We had to quickly set up a new game plan for the rest of our trips for the day to accommodate the high levels. We brought out our M6s for our rafting group of 43 at the 3:00 river trip. These are our miniature six person rafts that worked perfect for this large group. Everyone enjoyed this throwback to whitewater rafting! It was a special treat for our guides and guests to get to enjoy rafting in the month of July.

On Saturday a few groups in the morning went out on our M4, and the rest of the day we sent out tubers. Our 10 o’clock had 27 people, 40 at 12:30, 22 at 3:00. We had a lot of groups that were family river trips, and it was exciting to have the opportunity to take those families down in a raft together so late in the season. In the evening our community puts on a firework show above Lake Isabella and the lake was full of tourists and locals to enjoy the festivities of Independence Day. It was a nice show this year, and we were looking forward to the next day’s adventure.

Sunday we had our Zorb Ball out on the river, and also took a small group down in a raft, and the rest of our guests took tubing trips. We had 24 at the 10 o’clock,  5 people booked our Zorb Tubing Adventure, and 10 on the Pasadena Paddle Tubing trip for 12:30. Finally, we had 26 at the 3:00. Everyone had a fun time out on the Zorb and we got some footage of our guests playing around in it. It was an excellent weekend for whitewater rafting in Southern California. All of our guests were super awesome this weekend and everyone had a wonderful vacation of Kern River Rafting with us!


Busy Day in Kernville and Fun With SoCal!

Saturday, May 2nd was a busy day in Kernville. We had the Sirretta Street Yard sale, the classic car show, and many different barbeque vendors set up around town. It was also a great day to spend out of the river with SoCal! We had a small group of rafters go down the river at 10 A.M. We got some awesome shots out on the river as well as some footage. We took our 1-2 person mini-rafts and some of the guides went down in a four-person mini boat (M4). We had lots of fun playing out on the river and doing some tricks!

River Tricks

Kyle flipping his raft without getting in the water!


Later in the day we started taking groups down for our Pasadena Paddle Tubing trip. This is our flagship, trademarked trip. It’s a two hour trip, we supply all the gear you need, guides to help the trip go smoothly, and free shuttles to continue the fun throughout the day! Corey and Ray Johnson, the first group that went down said they had a blast; “It was a lot better than last time we went.” Ray and Corey visited Kernville a few years back and said this trip with SoCal was definitely better. They especially liked the fact that we send a guide along with them: “Having a guide is much better. They can direct you out of trouble.”  They went out on the river again, using our free shuttles, and came back saying it was even better than the first trip down! As summer progresses, we’ll be super excited to be sending even more trips like this one out, so make sure to stop by!



SoCal Rafting volunteers with Kern County Firefighters Burn Survivors Trust.

On Saturday, April 25th, SoCal Rafting was proud to host the guided river tour for the Kern County Firefighters Burn Survivors Trust. This was the third year, after a sixteen year gap, that the organization was able to hold the camp in Kernville. Josh Dodson, the President of the organization, noted that last year they were unable to send the survivors and their families down the river due to the water levels.

SoCal Rafting was more that happy to accommodate this year, and we offered up our services as a donation for the organization. We sent two groups of rafters down on Saturday, starting at 11 A.M. with a group of twenty-two.

Although the day started out rainy, the moment we got out on the water things started clearing up. Everyone was excited to take “Big Blue,” our rafting bus, from Frandy Park up to the start of the Hollywood Hustle, our one hour, three mile trip. We started with some safety tips and quickly unloaded our mini-rafts and began launching! Some of our guides were obliged to take the small children along in their rafts, and everyone was super excited to be testing their skills out on the water.

We got some great shots of the groups down at their final rapid at Ewings. Adam and Kiersten, two volunteers for the organization that went down with the first group, told us that it was “still worth it” even though the water levels are at a historical low. They had tons of fun and enjoyed rafting in our two person mini-rafts, commenting that they allowed a more hands-on experience, and really let the rafter use their own “power” to control the boat.

The day was a success and SoCal Rafting was glad to have had the opportunity to host this event. All of the burn survivors, their family, and volunteers had a blast out on the river, and we’re all looking forward to next year! No matter the day or the conditions, it is always a way to bring laughter and memorable times to spend a day out on the Kern River.

Hidden LA Rafting on the Kern River

Hidden LA Rafting Kern River
Lynn and Sylvia from Hidden LA joined SoCal Rafting for a fun day on the Kern River. First off, the ladies were very stoked about their short drive from Los Angeles. It took them under 3 hours to arrive at our River Toyz store in Kernville, CA. They couldn’t believe the Kern River Valley is so close to Los Angeles with so much adventure to offer.
We went whitewater rafting first. John was our guide. I scampered around the boat getting the GoPro footage. The weather was nice and sunny. Warm enough to wear board shorts and a tank top, but not too miserably hot. Our Class I-III rapids were just perfect for our Hidden LA guests. We sailed through Little Mama, chilled in Beaver Pond and then hit Big Daddy! We all stayed in the boat through Big Daddy…this time around. We paddled on through Straight Shot, splashed through Freight Train and then popped a wheelie on the Pop A Wheelie Rock. Last up was Ewings rapid. We went over the big rock a little sideways and backwards for some extra added fun.


Hidden Los Angeles on Big Daddy rapids Kern River rafting with SoCal Rafting.
Hidden LA Kayaking Kern River
Next trip down the Mighty Kern River was in our two person inflatable kayaks (IK). When I asked the ladies if they wanted to raft or IK next, Sylvia was all about river kayaking. Lynn agreed to be Sylvia’s paddling partner in our two person IK. John and I lead the Hidden LA ladies down as the safety boat. We were in a two person IK also. Lynn sat in front of the Hidden LA kayak. She was the power paddler. Sylvia sat in the back with a steering paddle. The Hidden LA ladies did a great job following John and I. They navigated through Little Mama rapids perfectly with great big smiles on their faces. We relaxed and talked for a bit in Beaver Pond. Up next, Big Daddy.


Diana watches as Hidden LA navigates the two person inflatable kayak.
Big Daddy has a rock known as the F-U rock. It can be a lot of fun. A lot of people swim the rapids because of this rock. I’ve swam Big Daddy a few times because of this big hump of fun. John and I kayaked up and over the rock and continued down the rapids. We turned around to watch the Hidden LA boat. Lynn and Sylvia did a great job entering Big Daddy and up and over the rock they went. They went over just a bit sideways. As I watched I thought they’d made it over. Just then Lynn popped out of the front of the kayak and into the rapids. She swam Big Daddy rapids for about 22 seconds. I was able to grab her as she approached our boat.
Diana grabs Lynn from the Big Daddy rapids on the Kern River.
I held onto Lynn as we finished going through the last bit of the rapids. John pulled her into our IK. She got a little banged up on the rocks and was a little stunned from the swim through the rapids. Other than that Lynn was just fine. I hopped into Sylvia’s IK and the four of us continued on down the river.
Diana and Sylvia in a kayak. Lynn with John in the other kayak. We continued down the Kern River.
After all the fun on the Kern River, Lynn and Sylvia joined us for our company BBQ. They relaxed in the peaceful surroundings of Kernville. We had some good food and good conversations. Before dark they were off and headed home back to Los Angeles. It was a great day. Thanks for the good times Hidden LA! Watch video on our YouTube channel of our rafting trip down the Kern River with Lynn and Sylvia.

Call Toll-Free (888)537-6748 to Reserve Your Raft Trip or :


      • 2.5 – 3 hours from Los Angeles
      • 1 hour from Bakersfield
      • 1 hour from the Giant Sequoias


Kernville is a perfect place for fun and safe Kern River Rafting in California. The North Fork of the Kern runs right through the middle of this quaint, western town making it one of the most easily accessible whitewater rafting rivers in the world.

Kern River Rafting is made possible by Mt. Whitney’s snow melt.  The Kern River passes through the scenic Sequoia National Forest. The Kern is the only major river in the Sierra Nevada mountains that flows from North to South. It drains out just northeast of Bakersfield. If you’re looking for a new adventure in Southern California, check out Kern River Rafting with SoCal Rafting.

There are  many different sections that are available for Kern River rafting. SoCal’s slew of waterborne activities take place just north of historic Kernville, Ca.  Kernville  is Southern California’s perfect town for safe and fun Kern River rafting!  Activities on the Kern River include whitewater rafting, kayaking, paddle tubing, camping and fishing.  When it comes to Kern River rafting, SoCal Rafting is one of the best river outfitters in California! Check out our whitewater raft trips to see which one is the best fit for your family vacation.  Here are just a few reasons to plan your vacation on the Kern River with SoCal Rafting:

Fun for the whole family

Our main focus while Kern River rafting is to ensure that your class II/III whitewater experience is both fun and memorable. All of our guided river trips are available for families with kids from age 6 and up. Our rafting equipment is new and state of the art. Our raft guides are the best in the industry.

Our seasoned river guides love what we do!  Guide trainees participate in rigorous whitewater training each Spring.  We really do this stuff for fun!  It’s not uncommon to see our guides tag along on a trip, just to try out the latest prototypes of river boards, Stand-Up Paddle Boards (SUP), kayaks and more.  Our river guides boast experience on the Kern River as well as many other rivers throughout the United States.  All of our river guides are CPR and First Aid certified.


Whether you are looking for a gentle float or a whitewater adventure, contact SoCal Rafting today for your Kern River whitewater rafting experience!

Sequoia National Forest and Kern Rafting with Modern Hiker

We at SoCal Rafting invited Casey Schreiner from Modern Hiker out to the Kern River Valley. We planned a day of Sequoia National Forest hiking to Salmon Creek Falls followed by Kern River whitewater rafting! Casey and his friend arrived from Los Angeles in just over 3 hours to our River Toyz store in Kernville, Ca. Guide Manager John and I welcomed Casey and his guest into the river store to sign waivers so that the four of us could begin our day of hiking fun, beautiful scenery and adventure!

Modern Hiker joins SoCal Rafting for a hike in the Sequoia National Forest.

Modern Hiker joins SoCal Rafting for a hike in the Sequoia National Forest.

We arrived at the trail head of Salmon Creek Falls around 11:00 am. The weather was just perfect for a Sequoia hike. We had some puffy white clouds above to keep it a bit cool. Temperatures were in the high 60’s to low 70’s. We started on the scenic Sequoia National Forest hike headed for Salmon Creek Falls.

Casey Schreiner of Modern Hiker free climbs the canyon walls of the Sequoia National Forest.

Casey Schreiner of Modern Hiker free climbs the canyon walls of the Sequoia National Forest.

We took the high trail first. It was a fairly short hike, but pretty intense. It takes a fair amount of free climbing skills. The high trail gave us a perfect bird’s eye view overlooking the “Alien Head” waterfall. Once we were done taking in the view of the Sequoia National Forest from the edge of the canyon walls, we carefully made our way down to the lower trail.

Bird’s eye view of the “Alien Head” atop of Salmon Creek Falls in the Sequoia National Forest.

Bird’s eye view of the “Alien Head” atop of Salmon Creek Falls in the Sequoia National Forest.

The lower trail is very scenic and pretty easy for the average active person. I would take just about anyone on the lower trail unless they have a really hard time with balance. It is very scenic and gives me the feeling of “The Land of the Lost.” There are several places to stop along the lower trail to have bite to eat or take a dip in the falls.

Following the lower trail along Salmon Creek Falls.

Following the lower trail along Salmon Creek Falls.

The lower trail goes right along the Salmon Creek Falls until you reach the last “Alien Head” waterfall. This unique hidden gem of a hike is worth the trip to the Sequoia National Forest. Rock climbers enjoy this canyon as well. There are endless adventures here in the Kern River Valley. Next up, whitewater rafting on the mighty Kern River!


Kern River Rafting

After our nice Sequoia hike we took Modern Hiker over to the Kern River Brewing Company for a nice lunch. We took in the fresh air and chatted with Casey about the whitewater rafting we would be doing in the next hour or so. Casey had never been rafting before, but his friend had. Our river trips at SoCal Rafting are perfect for first timers. We run class I-III rapids, so it’s not too crazy but a lot of fun!

SoCal Rafting takes Modern Hiker down Big Daddy backwards!

SoCal Rafting takes Modern Hiker down Big Daddy backwards!

By the time we got on the river the sun was out and the temperature was in the 70′s. The weather was perfect for rafting in board shorts and a tank top. John, our guide took us down Big Daddy rapids backwards. Casey fell softly back and out of the raft for a short swim. My body held Casey’s friend in the boat. I quickly grabbed Casey out of the drink and into the raft. He was all smiles and his friend really enjoyed watching him swim as well. Check out the GoPro footage we captured on our YouTube Channel.


Kern River Whitewater Rafting Guide Training

Our guide school training for Kern River whitewater rafting started April 6, 2013. We spent a few weeks training guides in very cold water on the Kern River. We now have some new river guides signed off for the 2013 whitewater rafting season. They will join our team of very experienced veteran river guides. All of our river guides are CPR and First Aid Certified.


River guides practice raft flip drills on the Kern River


The participants in the SoCal Rafting guide school performed flip drills, rope rescues, paddling and swimming the whitewater rapids. Our guides in training had to endure snow melt water temps in the 40’s. This prepares them for real life scenarios they may encounter doing guided river rafting trips. The water was so cold it took their breaths away. This is some serious training folks!

Our river guide school was led by SoCal Rafting Guide Manager, John Arcurio. John has over 26 years of whitewater rafting and kayaking experience on many different rivers around the country. He has spent many years rafting the Kern River. John knows the Kern like the back of his hand. He is a true River Master. We documented this exciting training with a GoPro and posted some fun videos on our YouTube channel.

SoCal river guides for the 2013 Kern River whitewater rafting season. Photo by: Dean Martin

SoCal river guides for the 2013 Kern River whitewater rafting season. Photo by: Dean Martin

SoCal is the best choice for Kern River Rafting in Southern California. We are only 2.5 hours from Los Angeles and only 1 hour from Bakersfield. Reserve your trip online today to experience an exciting whitewater rapids adventure with your friends or family. Our guides at SoCal Rafting are ready to take you down the Mighty Kern River!!