Four Mile Rapid is a favorite among many Kern boaters, and for good reason. Whether in a raft or kayak, a clean run through Four Mile is often liked to a roller coaster ride.
Boaters enter Four Mile in the center of the rapid and cut left at the top. Running down the center in a raft is not an option as there are many rocks blocking the path. Be wary as you make your way left at the top – you will need to thread through some rocks at lower flows. As the river bends right, boaters make a sharp right turn to move back towards the center of the rapid. This is a crucial move, as there is not much time in the rapid once the river bends. The feature to be avoided is a large rock in the center-bottom of the rapid that pillows at low flows or turns into an enormous hole at higher flows. Ideally, boats will pass just to the right of this rock. Hitting the right side of the pillow is generally not a problem.
Note in the video below, the two boats in the video went on either side of the bottom rock. That video was filmed at around 1,200 CFS. Going left of the bottom rock is possible, but it is a riskier line. Try to stay right at the bottom.