Kern - 4) Lake Isabella to Sandy Flat (Dam Run)

Kern, California, US


4) Lake Isabella to Sandy Flat (Dam Run)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 7 Miles

Keysville view

Keysville view
Photo by Paul Martzen taken 08/16/07

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Kern Above Borel Powerhouse
dream-473 300 - 4000 cfs II-III 00h48m 304 cfs (running)

River Description

This section of the lower Kern is easier than the downstream Sandy Flat to Democrat section and equally scenic. The river flows past low granite cliffs in a narrow but deep bedrock channel. There are long sections of flatwater paddling, broken up by some class 2 rapids, but there are also several serious class 3 to 3+ rapids.

Unfortunately this section has much less dependable flows due to the powerhouse diversion. Additionally there are increased brush and tree hazards. The lower flows allow vegetation to grow further out into the streambed.

Other Information Sources:

Dreamflows guides:  Kern - Jungle Run

Kern River Festival
Kern River Alliance
Kern Valley River Council
Audubon, Kern River Preserve
Wild and Scenic Kern
Sequoia National Forest Kernville office phone # 760-376-3781
Sierra South store

Cassady & Calhoun, Martin, Alan Baty

Links to important documents:
Extension of Time for boating release agreement.
Objections of Kern Water Users to boating flows
New license doucument, Granted May 17, 2008
Army Corp objections to boating releases
Comments by American Whitewater and Sierra Club

The 2006 Order requires a minimum instream fish release ranging from 25 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 60 cfs, depending upon the time of year. However, because the original intake works of the Borel Project have been inundated by the storage in the Isabella Reservoir, the fish releases from Isabella Reservoir are under the control of the Corps and the Isabella Partners Hydro Project (FERC Project No. 8377), located at the base of the Isabella main dam. Therefore, these flow releases are made on behalf of the licensee by an agreement signed by the licensee and the Corps on April 23, 1999, as amended on September 1, 2006, and by Isabella Partners (IP) under the direction of the Corps.




StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-10-13 04:54:59

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.0Wallow Rock
2.5Dilly / NippopotamusIII
3.0Oscar's NightmareIII
6.0Sandy FlatAccess
7.0Hobo RapidIII

Rapid Descriptions

Sandy Flat

River Access

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