August 13, 2007

Tubing on the Kern River

We just got back from a four-day trip (without the Caboose) to the Upper Kern River. We stayed at a USFS campground called Hospital Flat. The campground was essentially just a wide spot in the road with some pit toilets and the most poison oak I've ever seen in one spot. In this first photo, the plants surrounding our tent are 16' tall poison oak bushes.

We went with our friends Todd, Jodie and their clan. The primary reason to stay at this campground was to ride the rapids on inner-tubes.

Andrew was a mad man, doing flips off a ten-foot boulder into the flowing river below. The kids spent hours running up the road and then floating over rapids and waterfalls. Those of us with less of a need for adventure were content to wade in the river while the trout swam between our legs.

If we were to go again, we would want to stay in site 35, which was far enough from the river to avoid hearing the screams, shrieks and roar of the river, but still close enough to get to the action. There was also a fire ring, stand-up barbecue and plenty of parking for the truck and Caboose. Most importantly - no poison oak! As on all our trips, food played a major role in our entertainment with chorizo, potatoes and eggs for breakfast, and an apple-berry cobbler in the dutch oven after the campfire.


dschmitz1 said...

Hello, what site at Hospital Flats did you stay in that had poison oak? I have reservation for site 16 and hope that there is not to much around that site.

Thank You

Dave S
dms1 at

Ed said...

Unfortunately, ALL of the sites along the river have poison oak... Ed

Stephen said...

This place sounds awesome! Were tubes provided for the river, or did you have to bring your own? I've been to rivers where they were provided.

Ed said...

It is strictly BYOT (Bring Your own Tube), but there are places in town that will sell you a tube and let you inflate it with their air compressor.

Anonymous said...

The Kern is lots of fun. The best area for tubing I think is at roads end just up from fairview campground. If you walk up from the camp ground about 3/4s of a mile you can get in the water easy and its a fun ride. No poison oak at fairview that ive seen.

Anonymous said...

Site 19 is the best for those who love fishing tubing or just enjoying a cold one. Have been going for to this campground for 30 plus years. Good family fun. Never any trouble or drama.