Last updated on 7/17/23

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. Our winter is officially the largest snowpack in California History, so we’ve activated our Big Water Protocol for trip safety.

Lower Kern

On the Lower Kern, we are raising the minimum age on our Class IV trips from 12 to 16 years old through the entire season. These trips include our Two Day Lower Kern, Class IV Premium, and Class IV Half Day. For our Class III Half Day, we are raising the minimum age from 8 to 12 years old and will adjust where this trip runs to keep it in Class III territory. This is in place until high water comes down, which we’re are projecting to last the entire season.

Upper Kern

7/17/23 Update: We are past our high water peak on the Upper Kern and have canceled our Big Water Protocol for our Upper Kern rafting trips. The original protocol is listed below.

For our Class IV trips 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. For our Kernville Rapid Run, the minimum age has been raised to 10 years old until July 15.

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. Time will tell what this season ends up looking like, but adapting to what Mother Nature brings is important.

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