This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV
Length 2.8 Miles
Gauge Kern Rel Lake Isabella
Flow Range 1500 - 4000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 month ago 3809 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 10/12/2012 12:24 am

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

Rapid Descriptions

Put in

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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

Portage at Dam

Class - N/A Mile - 0.2

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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

There is a big hole to avoid at the bottom.

Fairly Steep Rock Garden

Class - III+ Mile - 1.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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

Cottonwood Rapid

Class - II Mile - 2.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
2.5 Cottonwood Rapid Class II
2.6 small rapids with not much difficulty

Island Rapid

Class - II+ Mile - 2.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Small Rapid just before Rancheria Bridge

Comments

default user thumbnail
Kyle Rushing
|
6 years ago

http://youtu.be/eAKc9lpdids DAM

default user thumbnail
Kyle Rushing
|
6 years ago

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!

default user thumbnail
Kyle Rushing
|
6 years ago

http://youtu.be/_auxrcB8AD8

default user thumbnail
Kyle Rushing
|
6 years ago

http://youtu.be/7wLDYDW45yU

default user thumbnail
Kyle Rushing
|
6 years ago

Uploaded short Video Clip of Low Water Boy Scout Rapid Copy and paste The address into browser

Gage Descriptions

Estimate flow by subtracting 1200 cfs from the outflow of Isabella reservoir.   If the diversion canal is low or empty, then the flow could be the same or closer to the release from Isabella.

Permits

NA

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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2018-01-11 Low Fatality Other Read More

Alerts

News

user-avatar

Paul Martzen

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194868 04/27/09 Paul Martzen n/a
1201588 09/18/12 Paul Martzen Subdivided river section
1201611 10/11/12 Paul Martzen added rapids by KRushing
1201612 10/12/12 Paul Martzen embeded videos
1201613 10/12/12 Paul Martzen minor edits
1202992 01/05/14 Paul Martzen minor edits