Brush Creek into the Kern


Stretch: Below Helipad into North Fork Kern
Difficulty: class IV+ with several portages, class V without
Distance: 1.6 miles, 1 short day
Flows: kayaks 100 - 250 cfs, IK minimum 80
Gauge: judge by Kern flow measured at Kernville (by Army Corps)
Gradient: 362 fpm average (360 366)
Put-in: Sherman Pass road near Helipad, 4320'
Take-out: either above or below Kern confluence, 3740'
Shuttle: 2 miles (6 minutes) one-way
Maps: USFS Sequoia NF, AAA Sequoia Region
Season: spring, from snowmelt
Agency: USFS
Notes: © 1996 Kevin Moe,

Brush Creek flows into the North Fork Kern on river left just above the rocky drop called, oddly enough, Brush Creek rapid. It is a short run with very high gradient, and no portages in the steep first mile. After that come a few 20' falls that are a blast to run. It's a must do if you are in the area. Amazingly, a strong class IV boater can handle the run with no problem.

Chris Shackleton, who maintains Dreamflows, created this webpage showing over half a dozen great photos of kayakers on Brush Creek.

See the Holbek/Stanley book 3rd edition for shuttle directions and more information.


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