Big Water on the Kern River is some of the best rafting you will find in the US. It’s important to implement safety mechanisms though to ensure that the rafting stays fun and safe. With our winter on record pace towards the largest snowpack in decades, we’re pre-emptively activating our Big Water Protocol for the upcoming rafting season through July 15.
On the Lower Kern, we are raising the minimum age on our Class IV trips from 12 to 16 years old through July 15. These trips include our Two Day Lower Kern, Class IV Premium, and Class IV Half Day. For our Class III trips, we are raising the minimum age from 8 to 12 years old through July 15. This is in place until high water comes down, which will likely be before July 15.
Two Day Lower Kern: Now through July 15. Minimum age is 16 years.
Class IV Half Day: Now through July 15. Minimum age is 16 years.
Class IV Premium: Now through July 15. Minimum age is 16 years.
Class III Half Day: Now through July 15. Minimum age is 12 years.
On the Upper Kern, the minimum ages remain the same, but we will adjust where trips start and end. In some instances, this might mean shortening a full-day trip, and in that case, a partial refund will be issued.
Variables – this is important
It’s important to understand that there are variables that may cause us to cancel our Big Water Protocol or even extend it. Operating on snowpack and snowmelt means we don’t get a schedule of when or if high water will arrive or how long it will be here. In our most recent high water season, 2019, we saw the Upper Kern river fluctuate in and out of our high water threshold for May and June. On the Lower Kern that year, we ended our Big Water Protocol early as the water came down sooner than expected. This year they might increase capacity on Lake Isabella as well, which means we may not hit high water on the Lower Kern at all. Time will tell, but we feel it’s best to activate these protocols now rather than force the issue on our guests later.