Class-V thrills on the Upper Kern River. The Thunder Run is our one day Class IV and V rafting trip. Guests must be in excellent physical condition and have previous rafting experience.

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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 pass our paddler evaluation test to join this trip. There are no refunds or credits for failing. If you are in excellent physical condition and have prior rafting experience, then you will very likely pass.

2. Group safety: For safety considerations, we require a trip size of 12 and the appropriate water flows to run the Thunder Run. If your group is less than 12, please call our office and we will book the trip for you. If another party doesn’t book and we fail to reach the minimum trip size, then we will move you to our Full Day Upper Kern.

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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