Kern - Mouth of Canyon to Rancheria Road


Kern, California, US

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Mouth of Canyon to Rancheria Road (Rio Bravo / Boy Scout)

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 2.8 Miles
Avg. Gradient 51 fpm
Max Gradient 64 fpm

Rio Bravo slalom course


Rio Bravo slalom course
Photo of Mike Iseman by Bruce Johnson taken 06/08/85 @ low runnable level

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Kern Rel Lake Isabella
dream-105 1500 - 4000 cfs IV 01h10m 4255 cfs (too high)


River Description

The Kern is class 4 boulder slalom immediately below the mouth of the canyon and past the diversion dam.   The Rio Bravo Slalom races were held here every year in the 1970's and 1980's, as it was a wonderful race course.   The owner of the Rio Bravo ranched hoped to hold the Olympic competition here during the Los Angeles Olympics.  It would have been a tremendous boost to Kern river running.   However, the Los Angeles Olympic committee, or USA Olympics decided to drop kayak slalom that year in favor of syncronized swimming.  Subsequent Olympics reinstated kayak slalom and it has become a permanent Olympic sport.   The loss was a big disappointment at the time.

Now, the Rio Bravo power project diverts up to 1200 cfs out of the river bed.  FLows from Isabella will have to be quite a bit higher than that to provide good flows for boating. 

Put in:
There is a large parking area on the side of highway across from the PG&E powerplant at the mouth of the canyon.  Hike down the bluff on rough trails to the river.

Take out:
There is a river access parking area on the south west side of Rancheria  Road bridge.  Float under the bridge and immediately look for landing spots on river left. 

Mile by Mile Guide:
0 mile- To put in park at mouth of canyon there is a trail that leads down to river above the Dam. Paddle down towards dam crossing to river right take out on right bank and portage dam.
0-1 mile-Continuous rock garden that can get more difficult at higher flows Class III-IV
1.1   Boy Scout Rapid IV There is a big hole to avoid at the bottom
1.5 Fairly steep rock garden unnamed rapid III+  IV  Stay left as the water kind of splits into two channels but the one on river left is the obvious choice
1.7 The river splits into three channels you want to stay river right and the river will seem to turn as though it is going back up stream this will be the channel you will want to take.
1.9 Long steep unnamed rapid littered with boulders that will make for a challenging rapid at higher flows  IV
2.0 Power house Diversion water will enter back into river on the left just
2.1 Learning curve small rapid often used to teach new kayakers Class I-II
2.5 Cottonwood Rapid Class II
2.6 small rapids with not much difficulty
2.7 Island Rapid Class II-III the river slits into two sections around a small island before coming back together some surf waves and holes in here (Mt. Whitney Wave)
2.8 Small Rapid just before Rancheria Bridge
Can Take out at bridge or continue down river to take out of your choice

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-10-12 00:24:31

Editors


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put inN/APutin
0.2Portage at DamN/APortage Photo
0.3Rock GardenIII+
1.1Boy Scout RapidIVPhoto
1.5Fairly Steep Rock GardenIII+
1.7Channel SplitN/A
1.9Boulder RapidIV
2.0PowerhouseII
2.1Learning CurveII
2.5Cottonwood RapidII
2.7Island RapidII+
2.8Bridge RapidI

Rapid Descriptions

Put in (Class N/A)

There is a fisherman's trail from the parking area down to the river.



Portage at Dam (Class N/A, Mile 0.2)

Dam

Dam
Photo taken 11/04/12

Paddle across the small reservoir to the far side (river right) to portage the dam.  It is an easy walk around the dam.



Rock Garden (Class III+, Mile 0.3)

A continuous rock garden rapid starts immediately upon launching below the dam. The beginning of the rapid is the steepest and most congested.  This rapid can get more difficult at higher flows.  Class III-IV



Boy Scout Rapid (Class IV, Mile 1.1)

Boy Scout Rapid

Boy Scout Rapid
Photo taken 11/04/12

There is a big hole to avoid at the bottom.



Fairly Steep Rock Garden (Class III+, Mile 1.5)

The river bends to the left and picks up speed above an island.  Stay left as the water splits into two channels around this long island. The channel on river left is the obvious choice.  The rapid is a fairly steep rock garden.



Channel Split (Class N/A, Mile 1.7)

At the end of the long island above the river splits into three channels.  Two go straight downstream to the left.   However, you want to turn sharply back river right and the river will seem to turn as though it is going back up stream.  This small channel cuts between the bottom of the upper island and the top of the lower island.  It puts you on the right side of the lower island.  The left side channels are brushy and obstructed.



Boulder Rapid (Class IV, Mile 1.9)

Long, steep, unnamed rapid littered with boulders that will make for a challenging rapid at higher flows.  This rapid is steepest at the bottom.



Powerhouse (Class II, Mile 2.0)

The river bends to the right and enters an easy chute.  About 1/3 of the way through the rapid diversion water from the powerhouse will enter back into river from the left.



Learning Curve (Class II, Mile 2.1)

This is a  small rapid often used as a good teaching location for new kayakers.



Cottonwood Rapid (Class II, Mile 2.5)
2.5 Cottonwood Rapid Class II
2.6 small rapids with not much difficulty


Island Rapid (Class II+, Mile 2.7)
The river slits into two sections around a small island before coming back together.  There are some surf waves and holes in here, including the Mt. Whitney Wave.


Bridge Rapid (Class I, Mile 2.8)

Small Rapid just before Rancheria Bridge




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
November 3 2012 (1608 days ago)
krushing (154886)
http://youtu.be/eAKc9lpdids DAM
November 3 2012 (1608 days ago)
krushing (154886)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9-8UNjXXx0 Ran the Dam Portage;it is a fun Drop.Ran the run at
270cfs 0 diversion Fun!
September 23 2012 (1649 days ago)
krushing (154886)
http://youtu.be/_auxrcB8AD8
September 23 2012 (1649 days ago)
krushing (154886)
http://youtu.be/7wLDYDW45yU
September 23 2012 (1649 days ago)
krushing (154886)
Uploaded short Video Clip of Low Water Boy Scout Rapid Copy and paste The address into browser


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