Confluence of Middle and South Fork to Garnet Dike Campground

Length: 10 miles / 1 or 2 days, can run 8 extra miles of the Garnet run to save 8 miles of driving on dirt road.
Class: V (1+ portage)
Gradient: 100 ft/mile
Permits: none

Season: Summer end of runoff
Recommended Flows:
700 to 2000 cfs near Rodgers Crossing
3 hours one-way/ 90 mile drive plus a 1,360ft descent on the 3.6 mile Yucca Point Trail
Flow Information: estimate at Rodgers Crossing

All the photos are courtesy of Rosada Martin!

Garlic Falls Overview

This is classic class V Sierra whitewater with huge granite rocks, waterfalls and crystal clear water. The Kings was designated Wild and Scenic in 1987. If your comfortable on Cherry Creek you’ll probably have a great time kayaking or rafting out here. Portaging or lining a few rapids makes the river much easier class V. It takes some commitment to get to the river: the shuttle is long and then there is the 3.6 mile carry down to the river.

Alternate Put-in

There are rumors that the class V+ unportagable “Fear and Loathing” on the South Fork of the Kings became easier after the high water of ’97. “Floating” the South Fork would add another 5 miles of river. More importantly you could drive to the put-in and avoid the back-breaking carry. Looking at photos and hearing stories, ideal flows would be 700 to 800 cfs and there would be a fair amount of portaging for a 14 ft raft but that sounds way better then carrying.

There is also discussion of a put-in below “Fear and Loathing” by lowering boats down a cliff. This is a couple miles above the confluence.

Camping on the River

If you are going through the effort to get all the way out there think about spending a night on the river as the scenery is spectacular. There is an epic campsite at low water across from Rough Creek. This is a classic wilderness river experience. With so many substantial rapids it’s nice to split them over two-days and have some time to enjoy the beauty.

rafting gear at put-in for the Kings River Garlic Falls run
At Put-in after hiking Yucca Point trail.


Mile 0: Put-in

Put-in at the Confluence of the South Fork and Middle Fork of the Kings River. Enjoy a quick dip to cool off after dropping around 1200 feet on the Yucca Point Trail. Initially the river has some nice warm-up class IV.

Mile 2.5: Grizzly Rapid (V)

There is a lead in complex boulder garden above the big drop called Grizzly. There is a nice far right line.

raft running whitewater rapid on an Upper Kings River Garlic Falls rafting and kayaking trip
Exiting Grizzly
Mile 3.2: Warp 2 (V)

Warp 2 is an obvious horizon line just downstream of “the Wall” a drop next to a granite wall on river right. The main drop at Warp 2 is intimidating, there is a cheat on river left.

Rafting a falls on the Upper Kings River Garlic Falls rafting and kayaking trip
Cheating Warp 2
Mile 3.3: Cassidy Falls (V)

There are multiple “fun” lines for Cassidy Falls. This rapid starts with a boulder garden just downstream from Warp 2. The easiest in a raft is probably the river right channel.

paddlers scouting Cassidy Falls whitewater rapid on an Upper Kings River Garlic Falls rafting and kayaking trip
Cassidy Falls
Mile 3.9: That’s Dumb (V)

Another big drop that depending upon flows has a hole that is not worth running.

Mile 4.5: Rough Creek Waterfall and Rough Creek Falls (V)

This is one of the most spectacular spots on any river. Looking downstream is a fun third of a mile of class V boulder garden that ends where Garlic Falls hits the river. Camping with some creativity can be found on river left across from the falls.

Garlic Falls rapid in Kings Canyon on the Kings River Garlic Falls run
Garlic Falls in the Distance
Mile 4.8: Garlic Meadow Creek Waterfall and Garlic Falls IV+

This is still part of one of the most spectacular spots on any river. A lifetime could be spent at this spot.

Garlic Falls Waterfall and Rapid on an Upper Kings Rivre Rafting and Kayaking trip
Garlic Falls Waterfall and Rapid
Mile 6.5: Hand of God (IV+)

Hand of God is the last big rapid. Below here the river mellows out and is class II – III.

rafters scouting whitewater rapid on an Upper Kings Rivre Garlic Falls Rafting and Kayaking trip
Scouting Hand of God
Mile 10: Take-out Garnet Dike Campground

It is a bit of a carry up the hill. Some people prefer to continue down the Bonzai class III run on the Kings to an easier take-out and decrease the amount of driving.

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