Our Kern River Story
It all began on the Kern River, late one winter evening around a smoky campfire. Three friends, dreaming big and longing to turn their love of the outdoors into a business partnership, created a plan.
That campfire inspiration became Mountain & River Adventures, affectionately known as MRA to guests, staff and the local community. Our doors opened on April 1, 1989, and the one partner who steadied the course has never looked back. After weathering the storm of “start up” operations for the first three years, John Stallone has turned what started out back in 1988 as Soaring Eagle Mountain Biking into one of the most diverse river companies in the west, Mountain & River Adventures.
With only three boats, a handful of guides and an old yellow van to shuttle customers, the dream began. Relying on three years experience as a guide for another outfitter here on the Kern, plus years as an Outdoor Leader for the Leisure Connection program at a university, John was able to successfully navigate the ebb and flow of administrative work and ultimately pursue his true passion, time spent on the water and trails.
In 1995 Mountain & River Adventures expanded its operation by offering camping and meals, which include a more full-service adventure menu, to guests. John’s dream, sketched out on the back of a dinner napkin, was coming to fruition, but not without a lot of blood, sweat and tears as he oversaw the grueling work it took to carve out 33 campsites on 15 acres of boulders and scrub brush. That dinner napkin design included a private raft put-in, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, an outdoor dining area, Bull Run Pavilion, Bud’s Grove, and what is now regarded as “the best” campground restroom on the Kern River. Our Bull Run Pavilion, a sculpted boulder amphitheater, has become a fun venue for camp movies and live music, while Bud’s Grove has evolved into a “favorite for local’s” wedding location.
Another expansion in 2006 opened up the entire stretch of the Kern River to MRA. Once known for our excellence as a Powerhouse run company, MRA now offers our customers outstanding river trips on any segment of the Kern River you could dream of paddling. Fast forward to today and MRA is truly a full-service, outdoor adventure outfitter with strong stewardship ethics and community priorities.