The Kern River is located in California and begins in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where it is fed by snowmelt from Mount Whitney. It is classified in three sections: the Upper Kern, Lake Isabella, and the Lower Kern. It is an important river because of the water it provides for irrigation in fields farther down its track. It is a popular river for fishing, boating, whitewater rafting and kayaking, and river boarding especially in Kern Canyon. The Kern River is home to California’s state fish the California Golden Trout. It is also known as the “raging” Kern or “killer” Kern due to its swift running current.

Camping Kern River has something to offer campers of all skill levels from just relaxing by the shore of the river to whitewater rafting, mountain biking and hiking. The Upper Kern river is where most of your whitewater rafting and hiking Kern River camping sites are located. You can find several rafting outfitters located in Kernsville to plan a day trip. You might want to read “The Complete Whitewater Rafter” before your trip. The book is endorsed by professional rafters and should prepare you if you’ve never been on a whitewater adventure. Frandy Campground is a Kern River camping site right on the river and they offer rafting and kayaking. They are conveniently located near Kernsville so if you want to get away from water activities you can tour their western style downtown area with shops and restaurants. It is also near a Silver City ghost town. Make sure you pack the appropriate camping wardrobe if you plan on participating in water activities. And, if you’re camping Kern River in a tent, you might consider a portable heating unit like the Coleman SportCat PerfecTemp Catalytic Heater. High mountain camping can get chilly at night, even during the summer, and the Coleman SportCat will work for 14 hours and maintain a nice warm temperature in your tent.

Lake Isabella is an 11,000 surface acre reservoir and is in the central part of the Kern River. Kern River camping sites near Lake Isabella offer the best in fishing, boating and jet skiing activities. There are eight campgrounds around Lake Isabella offering a variety in Kern River camping sites. You need to check carefully if you are looking at a camping site here. Most sites have water and flush toilets while some don’t. The Hungry Gulch Campground is one of the Kern River camping sites that offer water and flush toilets as well as hookups for RV trailers. They are an easy ten minute walk to the Kern River and you can also hike to the top of Isabella Peak which is under three miles from the campground. Lake Isabella has fireworks on the 4th of July and Isabella Peak is a great place to watch them.

Coleman SportCat PerfecTemp Catalytic Heater

A great way to stay warm in adverse conditions.

Note: Always be careful with heaters. This one says it’s safe for inside of tents, but you always want to be cautious when heating enclosed areas.

Kern River camping on the Lower Kern River is a more laid back, sedate experience. The Lower Kern River has plenty of trout fishing and hiking and the river is lazy enough here for floating. Sandy Flat Campground, operated by California Land Management, offers Kern River camping sites for tent camping and trailer camping. The only downside is there are no electric hookups so it is more primitive camping. There is plenty of water for drinking or cleaning but no showers. However if you’re camping Kern River and want to do some fishing or relaxing this camping site is for you. The closest town is ten miles away so you’re away from the hustle and bustle of civilization.

If you’re looking for the adventure of whitewater rafting, hiking or mountain biking or just relaxing in the great outdoors a Kern River camping trip might be just the escape you’re looking for. With a variety of Kern River camping sites to select from you can find just the right one to fit your vacation needs.

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