The best of the best: Class-V thrills on the Upper Kern River. The Thunder Run is our half day Class III, IV and V rafting trip. This trip has a minimum age of 16 years old and requires you to be in excellent physical shape.

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Class-V Considerations

Class-V river trips require meticulous planning. Please review the following two items regarding this trip.

1. Your health: You must be in excellent physical condition to join this trip. To help ensure this we require you to pass our Paddler Evaluation Test, which is a test we perform in whitewater, prior to reaching the Class V portion of the trip. If you are in excellent physical condition, you shouldn’t have any issue passing this test, which involves the following: Swimming underneath the raft and pulling each other in. Swimming a Class II+ rapid and then pulling each other back into the raft. If you fail the test, you will not be offered a credit or refund, however, you may raft on all of the Class IV sections of the trip.

2. Group safety: For safety considerations, we need the appropriate water flows to run the Thunder Run. This window is small. Too low and we can’t run. Too high and it’s out as well. We can make guesses as to when this window will open up, but if the weather gets hot or very cold the water flows will respond quickly, potentially changing your trip as late as the day of your launch. If this occurs, we will run the Class IV section of the Upper Kern, which is the same trip as our Half Day Upper Kern. The difference in fare price will be refunded to your credit card.

Trip Itinerary

Arrive at our Rafting Center at 8:30AM. Check-in with our Rafting Center staff and meet the guides. Once everyone from the trip has arrived and has checked-in, your Lead Guide will begin the orientation talk with what to expect for the day, as well as hand out and fit helmets and lifejackets. Once suited up, you’ll load onto our shuttle bus and we’ll drive you to the put-in.

At put-in, the Lead Guide will conduct the Paddler Evaluation. Generally speaking, this involves a Class-III swim, swimming underneath the raft, a Self Rescue, and an Assisted Rescue. Once completed, the trip is underway.

We’ll start with Class-IV whitewater in the morning and around 12:30 break for lunch. After lunch we’ll drop into the Class-V portion of the trip, taking on classic drops such as Sock ‘Em Dog, Fender Bender, The Flume, Squashed Paddler and more. At the conclusion of the trip, we’ll load back up on the bus and head back to our Rafting Center, arriving between 3PM – 5:30PM.

Upper Kern river map

Top Five FAQs Related to this Trip

Click here to see additional common questions

How many people are in each raft?

Depending on group size and which rafts we use, we fit between 4 and 6 guests in each paddle raft. As often as we can, we try to keep groups together in the same raft too.

What’s the minimum age for this trip?

The Thunder Run has a minimum age of 16 years old.

Will wetsuits be required?

The Upper Kern is a runoff, snowmelt river. The water may be chilly, as well as the outside air temperature. Most Thunder Runs require wetsuits unless they are late in the season. If wetsuits are required, then we provide them free of charge.

My friends booked this trip. How do I join their party?

Individual reservations made outside of a group reservation are linked together through the online waiver. When you complete the waiver, there is a field labeled “Group Organizer”. Simply write down groups name, and we will know that you are a member of that party

How likely is it that my trip will meet the 12 person minimum?

We do our best to filter other groups onto launch dates that already have reservations on them. However, other parties are still able to book alternate dates if they please. If it appears that a Thunder Run won’t reach the 12 person minimum, then we will be in touch a week before the trip is set to launch alerting you of the possible itinerary change.

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