Historic Rio Bravo Ranch

The RER Rafting Center is located on the Historic Rio Bravo Ranch. The Ranch was founded in 1861 by the Solomon Jewett family. The ranch is one of the earliest in the region with a deep history and breath taking scenery.

Today, Rio Bravo Ranch is owned by the Nickel family who farm citrus, almonds, walnuts and olives on the valley floor. This amazing Ranch is nestled at the base of the scenic Kern River Canyon and includes rolling hills and valleys. The Kern River cuts straight through the ranch land and provides some of the most incredible views of the Central Valley.

The Nickel Family granted RER exclusive use of their land for our private raft launch and take out locations back in 2005. Since then we have enjoyed the quiet peaceful location that the amazing ranch has to offer. Taking a tour with us also gives you exclusive access to the Rio Bravo Ranch scenery that the public rarely gets to see.


In the mid 1700’s, explorer Francisco Garces, led by Indian guides, discovered a shorter route between Sonora, Mexico and Monterey, California. Part of the trail followed Cottonwood Creek Canyon down to an Indian Rancheria near the crossing of the Kern River. The route was already well traveled when Solomon Jewett and his two sons, Solomon Jr. and Philip, built a home near the river crossing, raising sheep in the small valley. The old trail passed through the Jewett’s sheep ranch, where many travelers stopped to visit and rest. The Mexican settlers called the Kern River “Rio Bravo,” so the Jewett property became known as “Rio Bravo Ranch.” Settling on this land in 1861, the Jewett family was among the earliest settlers in Bakersfield, making the ranch one of the oldest in the region.

Today evidence of the Indian settlers still remains in pictographs and mortar holes on rocks at our Raft Launch site.