Forks of the Kern

The most spectacular Class V trip in the country

your class v overnight kern river experience

Class V and Wilderness on the Forks of the Kern

Mile for mile, no stretch of whitewater in North America compares to the Forks of the Kern. This rafting trip features huge Class V drops and continuous Class IV whitewater framed by some of the most spectacular canyon scenery in the west. Our standard trip is 3-days, allowing for time to unwind, explore, and truly experience one of the most spectacular river canyons in the world. Space is limited and trips fill quickly, so please call or email to inquire about dates.

An inside look:

Forks of the Kern Photo Gallery

Photos from this rafting trip.

Quick Facts

Trip Meeting Place: 6602 Wofford Blvd, Wofford Heights, CA 93285.

Trip meeting time: Evening before your trip

Minimum Age: 16 years old.

Trip Cost

3-day: $1650

Private/Charter/Group: We specialize in putting together custom, charter, & private trips.  Please call or email for pricing & info – guests are surprised at how easy it is to put a group together.

Does not include 6% government and service fee

View cancellation policy

At a Glance

Three days exploring one of the most spectacular whitewater canyons in the world.

Rapids are Class III, IV & V.

Meals included are day 1 lunch – day 3 lunch. Including 3 course dinners.

There is a 2-mile hike to the put-in on day-1.

2023 Forks of the kern

“It’s either 80 rapids in quick succession or one really, really long one.” -National Geographic

About the Forks

The Forks of the Kern has some of the world’s most famous whitewater – but the trip is more than just rapids. The canyon that we travel through offers beautiful side-hikes to towering waterfalls, amazing views of the “Needles”, and spectacular camping spots along the banks of the river.

And it is done with Momentum’s signature style, attention to detail, and handcrafted quality. With comfortable and innovative wilderness camping, creative menus, personal service and hospitality, one of the most experienced (and friendly) guide staffs in the world, and with all the little details and touches we are known for. 

There is also a 2-day option for charter groups.

However, this is an extremely active high adventure trip. Participants need to be adventurous, physically fit, and be comfortable swimming in moving water. The trip is best suited for individuals with previous class IV paddling experience but it is not always required. We will do a phone screening prior to making the first deposit and participants will need to pass a class-V paddler’s test at the beginning of the trip. The tests are not competitive in any way. They are done to emphasize teamwork, confidence, and to help you judge your ability to tackle this incredible stretch of river.

Please reach out with any questions – this is one of the most spectacular trips in the world and we love showing it to people.

Join the Interest List

Joining the interest list will update you on the Forks season schedule. It is the best way to join our trips.

Forks of the Kern FAQs

By joining our Forks of the Kern interest list you are ensuring that you receive updates before any other outlet, including our social media and this website.

March 1st – First Glance: On March 1st, We send out our annual “First Glance” Forks of the Kern season update. This information includes the initial season outlook and our first estimate of possible launch dates. No reservations are accepted at this time. Read that email here.
Variable Timing – Second Email: Then next Forks of the Kern update email generally has confirmed dates and will allow you to schedule a time to be interviewed / phone screened by our General Manager to confirm a reservation. Read that email here.
Additional Emails: If our season allows dates to open up, we will send an update to subscribers.

It is important to know that you do not have to be on our interest list to book this trip. However, subscribers are far more likely to successfully make a reservation as they receive information before any other outlet.

Generally speaking, the reservation and the pre-trip process look like the following:

  1. Available trip launch dates are confirmed by us.
  2. You schedule a phone screening with our General Manager and once passed, you book the trip. (More on this below.)
  3. Trip details are sent to you.
  4. The evening before your trip launch we hold our pre-trip meeting at our Rafting Center. Your attendance is mandatory.
  5. We hold our Class V Paddler’s Test. (More on this below.)
  6. You pass the test and we drive to the put-in and launch the trip.

We phone screen to help ensure that participants are in good physical health and to minimize trip misconceptions. At the end of the call, if both you and our General Manager feel that you are a good fit for the trip, you will be given the option to make a reservation. Full payment is due at the time of booking. Our cancellation policy can be found here.

Please keep in mind, that trip participation is still contingent on you passing our Class V Paddlers Test, which is described below.

Our Class V Paddler’s Test is conducted either the evening before your trip launch or the morning of. It depends on daylight and Trip Leader preference. Either way, the test is the same. This evaluation is not considered hard for those in good physical health and is not based on strength, but on endurance. In full river gear (helmet, PFD, wetsuit) you will run a quarter-mile, jump into a Class II rapid, safely navigate it, and catch an eddy at the bottom of the rapid.

If you fail the Class V Paddlers test you will not be issued a refund or trip credit as we are unable to re-sell the space on such short notice. We will register you on a different trip launching the same day, most likely our Two Day Lower Kern.

The best time to go changes every season. Snowpack and runoff dictate when our window to run the Forks is open. For example, in our 2017 high water season we had all of our launches occur in August. In 2018 we ran our trips in early June, and in 2019 we had a July and early August window. We consider our scheduling conservative, so generally speaking, if we have a launch open and available to book, then we believe that date is in the ballpark of ‘best’ time of the season.

In addition to this, our permit allows us to go only on specific dates. These launch dates remain the same every year. April 21, 26. May 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26, 31. June 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30. July 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30. August 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, 29.

Forks of the Kern trips are intimate, with just 15 guests per launch.

Guides posing in front of the Needles rock formation on the Forks of the Kern

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