Rafting the Kings River

Difficulty: Class III
Length: 9.5 miles
Flows: 1000 cfs – 8000 cfs
Gradient: 35 ft/mi
Put-in: Garnet Dike Campground
Take-out: Kirch Flat Campground
Season: April – July

The Kings River is a great one day big water rafting trip in California. It’s high elevation snow pack allows it to be run (without and upstream dam) well into the summer and provides a big water runoff during the peak snow melt. This is one of the few rivers in California in which you can experience a Class III river and true big water.

You’ll put in near the Garnet Dike Campground and quickly run Banzai, the most difficult rapid. This Class III+ rapid has big holes at all flows. Other Class III rapids to note are Mule Rock, Fang Tooth, Sidewinder, and Ranch Rapid. You’ll probably want to take out about a mile past a concrete bridge at the Garnet Dike Campground on the right.

This is a great river for beginners and seasoned experts alike due to the big fun rapids, plentiful campgrounds, good river access, easy shuttles, and fun atmosphere.

If you’re interested in pictures and the perspective of an inflatable kayaker, check out cacreeks’s Main Kings River description.

Go to allaboutrivers.com for more information on the Kings River.

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Directions

To reach Kirch Flat Campground (take-out): Find the growing metropolis of Fresno in the Central Valley of California. From Fresno take Highway 180 east 18 miles to the town of Centerville. Hang a left on Trimmer Springs Road and follow it along Pine Flat Reservoir. After you pass the reservoir start looking for signs to Kirch Flat Campground.

To reach Garnet Dike Campground (put-in): From Kirch Flat Campground get yourself back on Trimmer Springs Road and head further up the river about ten miles to Garnet Dike Campground.

Outfitters

Kings River Expeditions

Mariah Wilderness Expeditions

Whitewater Voyages

Zephyr Whitewater

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Disclaimer: River descriptions and classifications may change due to natural events that may create new hazards or flows. C-W-R advises that any paddler that uses this site be additionally informed by seeking out local news and updates for changes on this river.

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