The Forks of the Kern is a classic class V section with outstanding scenery. It is a popular kayak run and also supports commercial rafting trips. Kayakers tend to do the run in a single day while the commercial companies stretch it into two or even three days to allow their customers to savor the experience.Getting There: Johnsondale Bridge is about 25 minutes north of Kernville and about one hour and 40 minutes from Bakersfield. If coming from the north it is faster to turn off of highway 99 at Earlimart to go through Ducor and California Hot Springs. Allow about one hour and 20 minutes from Earlimart. Sometimes people drive through Springville and up through the Tule River Canyon, but this is a slow drive due to the narrow, windy road. Allow an hour and a half just from Springville, not counting stops for gawking at the Tule canyon.
Take-out: Johnsondale bridge. topozone map, google map.
Put-in: Forks of the Kern trail. From Johnsondale bridge drive west about 4 miles then turn left and follow signs to the Forks trailhead. This road is closed in the winter and opens back up in the spring. The gate is about 3 miles past the junction, just past Camp Whitsett, near Dry Meadow Creek. Call the Kernville office at (760)-376-3781 to find out if the road is open or not. topozone map, google map.
Other Information Sources:
Sequoia Forest: Forks info
Forks of the Kern guidebook and map
Sequoia National Forest Kernville office phone # 760-376-3781Cacreeks.com
Cassady & Calhoun, Holbek & Stanley, Alan Baty
To limit boaters to 15 per day is CA gone nuts. The pure experience is insane. Fun is where everything is. For fun you should provide for the people at the rate of 1,000 per day.
12 years ago
by Paul Martzen
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Forks of the Kern -Westwall
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Take action today using our easy online form to protect National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act! A public comment period began on May 12th and ends July 10th for an April 26th Executive Order which directed Interior Secretary Zinke to conduct a review of all Presidential designations over the past 21 years. A number of Monuments being reviewed are of significant interest to paddlers and provide protections for cherished whitewater stretches, including Bears Ears (Lower San Juan River, UT), Grand Canyon-Parashant (Colorado River, Grand Canyon, AZ), Giant Sequoia National Monument (Tule River, CA), Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (East Branch of the Penobscot River, ME), Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (Rio Grande, Taos Boxes, NM) and many more.
After 3 years of discussion and negotiation with Southern California Edison and the US Forest Service the Kern River has several new online flow gauges on the Upper Kern River. These gauges will replace the cumbersome and antiquated flow phone that was part of the Kern River #3 license.
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