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Merced River – Yosemite National Park

Experience Yosemite’s Wild & Scenic River

Located just outside the entrance to Yosemite National Park, the spectacular Wild and Scenic Merced river tumbles and twists out of the spectacular Yosemite Valley offering an exhilarating river rafting trip down big rapids filled with huge wave-trains and hydraulics. The Merced river rafting trip is a must for the adventurous beginner as well as veteran whitewater enthusiasts. Many of us believe that the Merced river offers one of the best whitewater rafting paddle-boat trips in California.

What is the Merced River like?

The Merced is a free flowing river and during the peak snow melt rafting the Merced is an exhilarating experience with large standing waves and powerful hydraulics. At peak snow melt, the Merced runs high and fast, making this Yosemite white water rafting trip a class IV run. Later in the season when the river drops a bit, it become a class III white water rafting run, which is ideal for a fun day of river rafting near Yosemite National Park. At lower flows the Merced River offers a technical and challenging ride while still providing plenty of whitewater action.

The scenery is gorgeous with nature refreshing your soul with an explosion of redbud and poppies that color the rugged canyon. It’s no wonder Congress extended the Merced’s Wild & Scenic River protection to include the entire Merced River rafting run.

Nightmare Island, Percolator and Ned’s Gulch are just a few rapids that are sure to get your heart pounding in the morning. A delicious deli- style lunch buffet is served about halfway through the day. In the afternoon you tackle Split Rock, Corner Pocket and many other awesome rapids. Our trip ends at Railroad Flat take-out site where we serve cold refreshments.

When is the best time to go rafting on the Merced River?

The Merced River rafting is a Spring trip fed by snowmelt and is free flowing. The rafting season on the Merced River typically starts early April and may run until the end of June. Everything on the Merced River, from water levels to length of season, depends on the winter snow pack and rate of snowmelt during the spring season. It’s best to call us for current conditions and availability. We are anticipating a regular season on the Merced this year. Trip length is dependent on water level.

Where is the Merced River located and where do we meet for the trip?

Our starting point for the Yosemite rafting adventure is just minutes from the entrance to Yosemite National Park. The Merced is an excellent choice for those wanting to experience Yosemite rafting, especially for those who like to combine their Merced River rafting adventure with a visit to Yosemite National Park.

Our trip meets promptly at 10 AM. Our meeting place is 6923 Highway 140, Midpines, CA 95345 just 9.8 miles east of Mariposa on Highway 140 and just prior to the Yosemite Bug Resort.

The adventure begins with a scenic shuttle ride with the trip leader and guides to our launching point. Here you will get geared up, receive the safety talk and paddling instructions before the journey begins. Relax and swap stories on the shuttle ride back to your cars where we arrive between 4-5 PM. This is a free flowing river so please be aware that a variety of factors including water levels may cause a trip to end earlier or later than planned. Please take this into consideration when making your travel plans.

Want to stay a while? Check out the Yosemite Bug for lodging and dining options located right outside the Park.