Lower Kern Overnight Rafting Trip

2 Day Class III-IV Rafting

Join us on the Lower Kern overnight rafting trip for some of the best rafting/camping trips around. On this trip you will experience the full length of the commercially raftable section of the Lower Kern below Lake Isabella Dam to the Democrat take out 30 miles downstream. Day 1 starts at our Rafting center located on the Upper Kern in Kernville, California. Here, we will outfit you with everything you need and load your overnight gear on a trailer to be hauled down to our lower camp, where it will be waiting for you when we arrive.

Jump Rock on the Lower KernDay 1 Rafting

The first day’s rapids are all class III, and offer a great opportunity to feel comfortable in the boat and as a team. You can always stop to have a little fun on Jump Rock! Enjoy lunch on the side of the river where we will provide you with a fantastic deli spread.


Depending on Water Levels we may have you take a swim test at the Kernville Town Park. This is a great place to see what it feels like to take a swim in the river. Listen to your guides and swim hard. Most people that take the swim test say the feel more comfortable afterwards.


After lunch and a bit further downstream you will float right up to our amazing camp on the Lower Kern. At camp your guides become the host, they will really show you the ropes on how to set up camp, and get comfortable. Feeling adventurous? Sleep under the stars, we provide you with top of the line paco pads to make your rest as comfortable as it can be.

Relax, while your guides prepare you a gourmet 4 course meal. If you have any special requests/needs please make sure and notify our staff at time of booking we are happy to accomodate. Sit down for dinner like a family, you know the food is good when everyone is full and there are no left overs on the plate.

Day 2

Sleep well, because tomorrow is going to be an action packed class IV day on the river. It is important that you developed a great team on day 1 because teamwork is required to navigate these rapids. The rapids you will encounter downstream include:

  • White Maidens – Class IV
  • Sun Down – Class IV
  • False Flush – Class IV
  • Royal Flush – Class VI (Portage)
  • Surprise – Class IV
  • Hairy Carey – Class IV
  • Horseshoe – Class IV
  • Eat Rocks and Bleed – Class IV
  • Pin-Ball – Class IV

“Arguably one of the best rafting trips in the country” – John Rea Guide and White Water enthusiast.

Trip Notes:

Lower Kern—Two-Day Trip


9:00 A.M. AT OUR CAMPGROUND, 15775 SIERRA WAY, just north of Kernville.

PHONE (760) 376-CAMP (2267). RESERVATIONS: 1-800-861-6553 OR (760) 376-6553.


From Southern or Northern California, take Hwy 99 to Bakersfield. Once in Bakersfield exit Hwy 178 East to Lake Isabella. At Lake Isabella, take the off ramp which reads “Highway 155-Kernville”. Turn left at the stop sign and travel around the lake (about 10 miles) to the stop sign and turn left onto Sierra Way. Travel north approximately 2.5 miles and look for our Campground at 15775 Sierra Way.

From Hwy 395, take Hwy 178 West. As you approach Lake Isabella from the East, look for the Kernville sign, turn right on Sierra Way and travel around the lake for approximately 13 miles and look for our Campground at 15775 Sierra Way; about 2.5 miles past the town of Kernville.

Just a few hours from Los Angeles, the Lower Kern is a superb rafting challenge. Our two-day trip originates below Lake Isabella and ends at Democrat Beach, a distance of about 20 miles. The river flows southwest through a gorge forested with willows, cottonwood, sycamore and alder. Our trip starts at a leisurely pace then quickens as the canyon steepens. The first day you will hone your paddling skills on class 3 rapids and then shoot straight into the class 4’s on the second day. Our Two-Day Trip is not only full of adventure & beautiful scenery but it also is a great time to bond through teamwork with your friends & family. Your experience will be a truly memorable time.


On the Rafts:

– Water (in 1 gallon containers)

– Wet bag for sunscreen, etc.

– Group water-proof bag for small carry-on items

– All necessary rafting equipment

In Camp

– Food and snacks

– Water

– 2 person Tents

– Foam sleeping pads

2 can of icy-cold soda and 2 can of icy-cold beer per person        

– Icy-cold juice, lemonade, or tea


For on the Rafts:

– Tennis shoes, wetsuit booties, or sandals with a heel strap

– Visor or sun hat

– Sunglasses with a retaining strap

– Suntan lotion or sunblock

– Lip Balm

– Swimsuit or shorts

– Water bottle

– Waterproof camera

– Personal medications

– Windbreaker, wool or fleece sweater, polyester shirt, or wetsuit in early Spring or Fall or if you get cold easily.

For in Camp:

– Dry clothes (shirt, shorts, shoes, etc)

– Light jacket or sweater

– Toiletries (we do not use any kind of soap or shampoo products in the river)

– Sleeping bag or blankets (a sheet is great for hot summer nights)

– Pillow

– Flashlight or headlamp

– BYOB. If you wish to responsibly indulge in alcoholic beverages you may bring a cooler containing some.



Please do not bring electronics, firearms, pets or valuables. Sun-sensitive persons should bring a hat and lightweight long-sleeve shirt.

On certain early season trips when water and weather conditions dictate, we may require all passengers to wear wetsuits. If needed, wetsuits can be rented at the Campground the morning of your trip.


The minimum age on our Lower Kern trips is ten years old (twelve years old during high water). This age limit is in place for the safety of your child, the safety of our other guests and our guides.


Alcohol can be transported with your personal items to camp and responsibly consumed after rafting.

If we believe a guest is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the beginning of the rafting day, they will not be allowed on the trip and will not be given a refund.


Guests sometimes ask whether gratuities are appropriate. If you enjoyed your trip, please feel free to leave a tip with your guide, the trip leader, or office/store personnel. Thanks!


On the first day, we will start by loading our overnight gear into a trailer that will be taken to camp while we are rafting. Then we will load up onto a bus and head to the river where we will hear the safety talk from the trip leader before shoving off. Before stopping for a riverside deli-style lunch we will learn how to be effective paddlers and practice our skills on some class 2 and 3 rapids. After lunch we run more of these rapids and hone our skills even more in preparation for the next day of class 4 rapids.

We usually arrive at camp around 3 or 4pm where the trailer full of our overnight gear, food, and tasty cold beverages. The guides will help orient you to camp and shortly after arriving they will make some snacks and cold beverages available. Happy Hour will be around 5:30 and we’ll serve freshly prepared hors d’oeuvres and icy-cold beverages.

Guides will serve a fabulous dinner around 6:30, dessert around 8:00 and if you’re up for it, provide some engaging entertainment around the campfire. You can relax and enjoy our quiet, riverside camp setting stocked with plenty of amenities to satisfy even a novice camper. At night you can let your eyes adapt to the darkness and enjoy more stars than you may have ever seen before.

Our second day begins with a fresh hearty breakfast. Then, we pack up personal gear, clean up camp, and by around 9:30 we are ready for another day of white-water. We start running class 4 rapids right away before getting to the class 5 Royal Flush rapid around which we must portage. We stop for another fabulous lunch and gear up for a series of Class IV rapids called “The Big Five”. The rapids come close together and we end our day navigating Pinball, an intricate, demanding rapid. At Democrat Beach our trip ends and our bus takes you back to Kernville.


Our guides are experienced, skilled whitewater boaters. Should the need arise they are trained to administer First Aid & Swift Water Rescue. They are knowledgeable about canyon ecology and natural history. Guides can also provide information on organizations that work to preserve and protect rivers and river canyons.


We furnish inflatable rafts, 12 to 16 feet in length. We provide accessory river equipment, life vests, first aid and safety supplies. Do not bring your own life vest. Ours are approved for rafting and we required that they be worn by guests. On most trips, the majority of passengers ride in paddle boats. A paddleboat is piloted by a guide, assisted by four to six passengers.


Safety helmets are available at no additional charge to guests joining us on any stretch of river that we run. Helmets are REQUIRED for our Class V trips and are strongly recommended on all stretches of the Kern, when rafting on water flows below 1,000 cubic feet per second. Clients expressly assume all risks associated with their refusal to use or properly use helmets or other safety equipment.


Our trips are conducted under permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service, Sequoia National Forest. Our permit is your assurance that Mountain & River Adventures is legally operating on the river. Our operations and facilities are operated on a nondiscriminatory basis.


Trip participants should understand that river trips involve known and unknown risks. Mountain & River Adventures assumes no responsibility for injuries, death or loss-damage to client’s property while on the river. All clients must sign a Participation Agreement, Release and Assumption of Risk expressly acknowledging these points. Mountain & River Adventures assumes no responsibility for vehicles and/or the contents of vehicles parked during the trip. Because of the risks associated with river trips, including personal injury, death, property loss or damage or financial loss in the event of trip cancellation, we urge all trip participants to supplement their own insurance with vacation insurance.


Our Kern River trips are fun, fast and challenging. To participate, you should be in good health. You may also need to perform certain physical activities. These include basic swimming; hiking in rugged or uneven terrain, climbing in or out of rafts and assisting in your rescue, if that becomes necessary. Please let us know when you return your Participant Agreement, if you have any health or dietary restrictions. We will gladly accommodate reasonable dietary restrictions with advanced notice.


It is sometimes necessary to cancel or modify a trip because of unusual circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, we cannot be responsible for paying expenses other than refunding all or part of the fees paid to Mountain & River Adventures. Determination of refunds (if any) will be made after reviewing trip details. Guides and other personnel employed by Mountain & River Adventures are not authorized to make or promise trip refunds or trip credits. Such determinations can only be made by company officers.


If you cancel, for any reason, less than 30 days prior to your trip date, you are not eligible for a refund or store credit. Written cancellation notice received by our office more than 30 days prior to the trip date will result in a refund of your deposit paid less a $15 per person processing fee. If you must cancel at the last minute, try to find a friend to take your place. Please read our Cancellation Policy that you received with your reservation confirmation.


We strongly recommend investing in this affordable coverage, which provides accident, illness, baggage, and trip cancellation protection. Contact your insurance agent for more information.