LA - Kern River Camping and Rafting

  • Thu, June 13, 2019
  • Sun, June 16, 2019
  • Headquarters Campground
  • 1


Registration is closed

Come join Great Outdoors as we enjoy a long weekend in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. With the hot summer days approaching, imagine yourself cooling off in the river, white water rafting, or relaxing along the shore. We have reserved shaded river-side campsites at Headquarters Campground, located about 10 miles from Kernville. In Kernville, you can grab a meal, shop for groceries, or visit the shops downtown.

This year, California has received large amounts of snow on the Sierras, and it's all going to come down the Kern as it melts. In speaking with our whitewater outfitters, they are expecting a PERFECT year for rafting... one of the best in a long time! Perfect flows expected, and the water has time to warm up in Lake Isabella, giving the lower Kern River its 65-70 temperature. The full day trip is about 6 hours from start to finish (about 3.5 hours on the water) with numerous class III & IV rapids, and includes a big, hearty lunch halfway through. We should be back by 4 pm. 

In addition, located about 45 min north of the campground is the Trail of 100 Giants – part of the southernmost giant sequoia groves, with an easy and relaxing trail that winds through towering redwoods. While in the area, another 30 minutes up the road is the moderately challenging, but gorgeous Watchtower Hike. You may also consider going to Peppermint Falls where the creek has carved “tea cups” from the granite, creating small swimming holes, before cascading over the rock face into the valley below, pictured below.

We’ll have our traditional potluck on Friday evening, so bring a main or a side dish that showcases your camping culinary genius. Great Outdoors will provide the desserts.

Amenities include vault toilets and drinking water. There are no showers available, so bring your solar shower. Sorry, there are no trailers or RV's allowed on this trip. 

Activities include:

  • A 1 day optional white water rafting trip on the lower Kern River (24 spots available). This is a full day rafting trip, with class II-IV rapids. Lunch is included, as well as all rafting gear.  Make sure to sign up early and secure your spot.
  • Relaxing along the Kern River or using your own flotation device (use caution if getting in the river - the flows can be fast).
  • Fishing – the Kern River is renowned for its trout fishing.
  • Hiking.

Picture from previous Great Outdoors Kern River rafting trip

Getting there:

The campground is called Headquarters campground, located about 4 miles north of the town of Kernville on Mountain Highway 99. GPS 35.796304, -118.449922. Click here for a Google Map. 

Other notes:

Please be sure to bring your own plates, bowls, eating utensils, etc. Consider using something reusable to reduce waste. We'll have a couple of wash basins for dishes. Dont forget your 10 essentials. Bring a camp chair, hat, sunscreen, a bundle or 2 of firewood, hiking boots. 



  • Arrive after 2 pm
  • 6 pm – Meet & Greet
  • Evening campfire activities – games


  • 7 am – Rafters must be ready to leave to check in
  • Those not rafting – activities on your own
  • About 6:30 pm - Potluck (if you're rafting, keep it simple) - Desserts will be provided by Great Outdoors.


  • 8:30 am - Breakfast provided by Great Outdoors – pancakes, scrambled eggs, fruit, coffee.
  • Activities – hiking, relaxing
  • Dinner on your own


  • Pack up and be ready to leave by 11 am.

Questions - contact one of our Trip Leaders:

Wes -  or Steve -

Cancellation policy: Camping fee refunds will be given only if you cancel registration prior to May 31st. If you signed up and paid for the optional rafting, you will receive a partial refund until May 5th ($127), and no refunds after May 6th.

    © 1981 - 2023 CALIFORNIA GREAT OUTDOORS, all-volunteer not-for-profit organization dedicated to the enjoyment of the outdoors. All rights reserved. Privacy policy