This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V+
Length 12 Miles
Flow Range FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 2.33 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 01/12/2009 12:54 pm

River Description

The section can be divided into three distinct runs. 

The Cadilacs, a class 5 section. 

Richbar, a class 3 4 section.

The Cataracts, an impressive class 5+ section. 


The highway runs close to the river along this whole section so there are many potential locations for put in and take out.   There are however many other areas where it is awkward and difficult to get from the river back up to the road if you get in trouble.   Scout carefully from the many turnouts. 


Other Information Sources:  
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


FERC information:    License #1930
All of the documents for KR1 can be found using a wildcard search at

Change the years to 1992 to 1999, use a docket number of P-1930-*, and keep clicking 'Next Page' until you reach the titles of interest. The Final Environmental Assessment (FEA) for KR1 is at

Key ruling from FERC:

"We don't recommend any flow releases for whitewater boating enhancement because of potential conflicts with other recreational users and because the existing whitewater boating use in the Kern River No. 1 bypassed reach is low compared to other recreational activities in the project area, despite the fact that flows are frequently available for either the "suitable" or "optimum" boating conditions. We believe that the available data indicates the current flow conditions allow for a reasonable balance of all recreation uses and that existing whitewater boating use is not significantly limited or constrained by the projects present operation. We do, however, recommend that Edison's work with the FS and other interested groups to develop a plan to monitor recreation patterns in the bypassed reach for 5 years to evaluate the need for future flow augmentation."


Cataracts Video


Rapid Descriptions

Gauge: KE-16

Class - Mile - 0.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
This gauging station is just a short ways below Democrat Dam and measures flow in the river that is not diverted by the KR-1 powerhouse.


Gage Descriptions

Releases from Isabella reservoir are totally controlled by the Kern River Water Master and the Army Corp of Engineers.  Flows are used for irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley through out the spring, summer and sometimes into fall.   Because irrigation needs change by season and somewhat day to day, flows tend to be relatively stable each day. The KR1 powerhouse removes up to 420 cfs from the river, so flows in this section will be that much less than release from Isabella.

Since 2006 CDEC gauge info, is available in realtime for this reach.  The readings are in feet/stage rather than cfs.   The gauge is USGS  #111925, located on the left bank about .4 miles below Democrat Dam.
See Dreamflows for an estimate of flow in cfs.

If the gauges are down, you can estimate flows by subtracting 420 cfs from the total outflow from Isabella reservoir, provided by the Army Corp of Engineers, at Isabella info

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



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Sierra & Sequoia National Forest Management Plans (CA)

Theresa Simsiman

The U.S. Forest Service recently released the revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Forest Plans (DFP) for the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests. As part of this process, National Forests are required to identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Once a river is found eligible it is managed to protect the values that support their inclusion. To that end, American Whitewater has identified recreation as an outstandingly remarkable value on many iconic whitewater rivers within the Sierra and Sequoia National Forest and is advocating for their inclusion into the inventory of eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers. Dinkey Creek Photo by Daniel Lundberg

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AW Recommends California Rivers for Wild and Scenic

Megan Hooker

Last week, American Whitewater recommended that the U.S. Forest Service assess whether numerous whitewater rivers in California are eligible for Wild and Scenic status. The agency is currently revising Forest Plans for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests, and this process provides an opportunity to evaluate rivers for whether they are eligible for Wild and Scenic designation. If a river is found eligible through this process, the Forest Service protects the values that could make it worthy for Wild and Scenic designation, including its free-flowing characteristics. 

Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190016 01/12/09 n/a n/a