Dry Meadow Creek - to North Fork Kern

Dry Meadow Creek, California, US


to North Fork Kern (Teacups)

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 1.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 333 fpm

The Teacups as seen from above

The Teacups as seen from above
Photo by Scott Ostrem taken 06/15/01

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-11203580 20 - 400 cfs V 00h34m 24 cfs (running)

River Description

One of the most picturesque river reaches on earth.

Here's a report by Rocky Contos:

DRY MEADOW CREEK (Kern River): ~60 cfs May 17, 1997

Last Saturday I and four others did Dry Meadow Creek in the Kern drainage, led by Robert Dilman who had done it four other times this year. To get to the put-in, drive toward the Forks trailhead, but turn down the CAMP 4 dirt road after passing the creek on the paved road. At some times of the year this is locked by a gate and you have to hike down the dirt road about a mile. Put in just above the confluence of two sizeable streams. Last weekend each of these had maybe 30 cfs.

The entire run is only about 2 miles. In the upper stretch there were a lot of small rapids and some tree branches to scrape over, but it could all be done with one portage. One spot with a tree across the creek caused three of us to step out of our boats. After about a mile there is a sizeable drop of 6-8 ft at a left hand turn. Further on (maybe another half mile or so) there are two more sizable rapids. One is a series of 2-8 ft falls, the one in the middle has a right narrow channel that is ugly, and a wide left channel with a big rock halfway down. One in our group broached on this rock, and two others slammed into it on our left sides. Just below here is an unrunnable 2 ft wide slot with a 15 ft falls. A seal launch on the left at the falls is fun. Below this rapid there is another tight spot known as the "Bermuda Triangle" consisting of two technical drops, the first of which must be taken onthe left (the right channel is not possible). A little below the Bermuda Triange is the "Seven Teacups". This is the whole reason for the run. Seven clean falls of 6-20 ft separated by calm round short pools. It is an impressive place. After the first fall, which is a broken drop, all the water flows under the granite at a "natural bridge" so to speak. One must stabilize their kayak in the flowing water and get up onto the bridge to walk across. In the pool on the other side you can see where the water passes under from the light that shines through (the passage is only about a half foot under water). The second fall (12 ft) had a eddy on the creek-right just above that Robert went into and peeled out jumping into the pool on the left below the fall (in a Whip It). I went in the eddy, but couldn't peel out because my boat was too long (Wave Sport Extreme). After several frantic minutes, I ended up backing up to the lip of the falls and did a strong right sweep to get out. Pretty scary. Preston tried going in the eddy the opposite orientation but still couldn't line up correctly. Boof the third fall (15 ft) on the right. The fourth fall is the largest (20 ft) and through a very narrow slot. Aim to the right. I banged my elbow going through it. The fifth drop (15 ft) is run straight. The sixth (6 ft) has a hole below on the left that people have swam out of. A sneak route on the right is possible. The last drop is very clean everywhere (about 10 ft). Take out here on the left and portage the next 4-5 falls (between 6 and 50 ft). It takes about 20-30 minutes to portage. Some of us used some ropes to lower boats. The last sliding fall into the Kern is fun to run (about 15 ft). All in all, an enjoyable creek with some impressive drops that make great video. It felt good to get on some real water though.

Rocky Contos

On April 17, 1998, a paddler missed the mandatory-portage takeout at the end of the runnable part of the Teacups section. Corran Addison performed a heroic rescue. Read about it here!

Put-in at Noble Creek about 4400 feet elevation.
Confluence with Kern about 3900 feet elevation.

Other information sources:
Paddler Magazine
Photos at Dreamflows
Hydro Magazine

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2007-04-24 21:10:13

Rapid Descriptions

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