Kings River California Whitewater Rafting
Originating high in the mountains of central California near California’s Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park, the Kings River boasts the largest watershed of any river in the Sierra Nevada range. This California river is undammed and unspoiled. If you take a Kings River trip, your Whitewater Rafting trip will take you through some of the most scenic rivers in the West, and will provide for an excellent California whitewater rafting trip experience. The river is about 2 hours east of Fresno.
The Kings River flows into Kings Canyon near Sequoia National Park: a spectacular 8,000-foot (2,400 m) deep glacial valley. In the foothills, the water from the river is impounded at Pine Flat Dam. In the Central Valley, the river flows south of Fresno, California, where its water is diverted for agriculture.
The Kings River was named by Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga on one of the first expeditions by the Spanish to the Central Valley of California on January 6, 1805. The river was originally named Rio de los Santos Reyes (River of the Holy Kings) to honor the Biblical Magi. Jedediah Smith named it the Kimmel-che or Wimmel-che “after a tribe of Indians of that name who reside on it”.
Our campground and our unique tent-cabins help make your overnight adventures memorable. All Kings River whitewater raft trips stage out of our beautiful 5 acre base camp right on the river. Our camp features flush toilets, changing rooms, sinks, mirrors, and 1 rinse off shower. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the camp, and a sandy volleyball court is only 50 feet from the river. Horseshoes, individual barbecues, and sandy riverfront campsites are also available. Extra meals are available.
Class III Beginner and intermediate whitewater rafting
A big water river without the technical difficulty of the Tuolumne or Merced, in spring and early summer our Kings River Rafting Trips are suitable for both the adventurous first-timer and the advanced rafter. Later in the season (mid-June on), when the water level slows down, the Kings river is great for families and kids from 7 years old.
These rapids are each created by the presence of boulders or rocks in the middle of the river, or by the presence of a change in riverbed gradient, or by the river channel changing direction. Your guide will almost always explain to you the features of the rapid allowing you to feel confident, though quite excited, that you will successfully run it.
The Rafting Season
May through July, depending on snow melt
Because the King’s flow is controlled snow melt from the winter’s snow pack, and not a dam, this river’s flow depends on snow melt and air temperature (warm air melts the snow). Spring usually offers high water and fast currents and wetsuits are often required. Spring flowers such as the California Poppy and blue lupine cover the hills and the mountains, and the river banks are lush with oak trees. Summer finds the water levels at normal flow, the weather warmer, and the water temperature warm enough for swimming suits and shorts.