Top 5 ways to beat the heat while camping at Kern River
Updated: Jan 18
Wondering how to maximize your next Kern River camp out, with the best ways to stay cool, fun water activities for cooling off and some really cool natural wonders to explore when temps heat up? We’ve got recommendations for you!
We’ve laid out some insider tips and insights on how to beat the heat on the Kern River. Take a look below and don’t forget to bookmark this article for your next Summer camping trip to the Kern River.
Best ways to stay cool while camping at Kern River
Summer temps at the Kern River can range from 90's to low 100's so you will want to be prepared for some time in the sun and time in the Forest at higher elevations when camping near the Kern River. Our top 5 ways to beat the heat include:
Participating in water activities
Exploring the Greenhorn Mountains
Visiting the Trail of 100 Giant sequoia tree
A day-trip to Big Meadow
Checking out Dome Rock
Water activities for cooling off, near Kern River?
There are many places to tuck in and wade or swim during lower water season on the Kern River, you probably already have your favorites. Here are some of our fav cooling off spots. Bring along a portable shade tent, sunscreen, lots of water for hydrating and remember to take breaks from the sun. If you forget to pack an essential, like a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), an inner tube or sunglasses, no worries, pop in our Camp Store, we probably have it!
Always remember to wear a life vest or PFD around bodies of water.
Lower water season typically means when the professional rafting outfitters have ended their rafting season for that section of the Kern River.
Kern River Trail: This 5 mile round trip, scenic hike follows the upper Kern portion of the Wild & Scenic Kern River with plenty of low water season pools for dipping and cooling off. Trailhead is north of Kernville at the Johnsondale Bridge.
Riverkern Beach: Known by locals as The Curve this riverside beach spot gets packed early, during lower water season, so plan to arrive before 10am! The Curve has a deeper pool for swimming and water play. Located just before the town of Riverkern on Sierra Way, just 2 1/2 miles north of Kernville. Kern River's Edge camping guests can use our Secret Trail to access this beach. During lower water season, many of our campers love to inner tube from The Curve to the bottom of our campground property - then repeat!
KR3: During lower water season Kern River 3 is a Southern California Edison hydro-electric power plant access area, where Kern River water gets pumped through the mountain and released here. Water temps are usually colder in this location! Located about 1.5 miles north of Kernville on Sierra Way. Follow the access road to the left, just before Camp Erwin Owen.
Lake Isabella: French Gulch Marina offers jet-ski, pontoon boat, kayak and stand up paddle board rentals. Pack water and snacks and explore the lake's smaller islands that emerge during various lake levels. This option is ideal when we are having a high water season on the Kern River.
Whitewater Rafting: When river flows allow, consider reserving a whitewater rafting tour.
Related Content: Check out all the fun things to do at Kern River
What are some quick, day-trips for exploring near the Kern River?
When it comes to beautiful scenery, fresh smelling pine and incense cedar forests and cooler temperatures, we recommend the following forest day-trips:
Greenhorn Mountains: Unal Trail is a locals favorite for hiking or mountain biking! Only a 20 minute drive from Kernville gets you into the Forest with ease. From Wofford Heights, turn up Evans Road. At the top of Evans Road/Hwy 155 turn left at the summit on to Rancheria Road, park near the Ranger Station and head up this 4.5 mile loop trail. Like to ride cyclo-cross? There are plenty of fire roads up here to explore such as Forest Highway 90 or Rancheria Road. Take snacks and water. We like to enjoy a beverage on the patio at the Greenhorn Grill in nearby Alta Sierra.
Trail of 100 Giants: Who needs Yosemite when you can touch, feel and smell a giant Sequoia without the big drive? Only 45 minutes north of Kernville, this is a must see and do natural wonder! Fill your tank, take water and snacks with you. Stop by the McNally's burger stand for a burger and shake on your way back to camp!
Big Meadow: There are 7 great trails to hike in the Big Meadow area. Take plenty of water and pack a picnic lunch. Beautiful trails, scenery, flowers, and cooler temps! This is a scenic drive with vistas and creeks along the way. About a 70 minute drive from Kernville.
Dome Rock: Massive granite boulder, beautiful vistas, excellent photo opportunities! Fill your tank, take water and snacks with you. Stop in at the Ponderosa Lodge for a burger along the way. About a 90 minute drive from Kernville.
If you need help finding any of these locations, reach out to us online or leave a comment below. We have a locally sourced map of the area that we sell in our Camp Store. Be sure to ask us about the map! Lightly laminated, gps coordinates, and lots of local beta.
Related Content: Is Kern River dangerous and can you swim in it?
Recreating responsibly includes packing trash bags to leave our wild spaces cleaner than you found them. There is a glass ban in the Sequoia National Forest, so remember to use plastic storage containers, ziploc bags, or bota bags for camping gear and kitchen supplies instead of glass. Practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you pack in. See more Kern River camping tips.
Related Content: Everything you should know about camping on the Kern River
Ready to go camping on the Kern River?
Then let’s go! At Kern River’s Edge, you’ll find spacious campsites, concierge firewood, ice deliveries, and the best cooling off spots on the Kern River. With over 40 camping sites to choose from and easy access to all types of activities — including fishing —, there’s something for everyone at the River’s Edge campsite.