Merced River Rafting Near Yosemite National Park
- Merced River rafting through pine forests and California poppies
- Exciting Class III-IV Yosemite rafting
- Delicious picnic lunch on a sandy riverside beach
- Cranberry, Ned’s Gulch, Split Rock & Corner Pocket rapids provide white-knuckling whitewater action
- Combine this rafting trip with a visit to Yosemite National Park
Monday through Thursday and select Friday & weekend dates, April - July
20% Discount for Groups of 12 or More! (call for details)
$8 per person per day federal, state and local access fees
Wetsuits required on all early-season trips
|River Rating||Minimum Age|
|Class III - IV||9 Yrs (16 during high water)|
Merced River Rafting near Yosemite National Park: Overview
Spring fever comes early on the Merced River located near historic Yosemite National Park in California. With the hillsides of California's Sierra Nevada gold-plated in orange California poppies and silvery alpine snows melting fast and furiously, the Merced River is a snapshot of reawakening Yosemite wilderness. With its expanse of burly pine forests, jutting rock and silky beaches, the Merced River runs through a sun-soaked California paradise. The Merced River guards the edge of Yosemite National Park, a spectacular place and a U.S. national park like none other. In April and May, the Class III-IV whitewater on the Merced is first class, the stuff of avid paddlers’ winter daydreams. For the rest of the whitewater season, the Merced churns with bold wave trains and slick chutes friendly to rafters of all levels. Rafters on the Merced should always consider combining their Merced River Rafting one day trip with a night at a local lodge and a day or two exploring adjacent Yosemite National Park for the perfect Sierra getaway.
Merced River Rafting near Yosemite: Itinerary at a Glance
- Our Merced River rafting trip starts out with a bang – at least one mile of constant Class III-IV whitewater, rollercoaster wave trains and heart pounding action
- Beyond the alternating clear pools and frothy whitewater, the surrounding scenery just outside of Yosemite is magnificent and the calm stretches of the Merced offer a chance to enjoy this picturesque canyon adorned with pine forests, colorful wildflowers, rocky ledges and sandy beaches
- Lunchtime is a delicious picnic on a sandy beach
- Back on the river, challenge Ned’s Gulch and Gauge Hole to provide some more Class III-IV whitewater thrills
- Shuttle from take-out to meeting location and return to civilization for the conclusion of our Merced River rafting trip
20% Discount for Groups of 12 or More!
Call 1.800.446.7238 or 1.209.736.2597
Show Mile By Mile Guide
Rafting the Merced River Near Yosemite:
Mile by Mile Guide
RIVER ACCESS. Put-in (start) of O.A.R.S. Merced River Whitewater Rafting trips. The Cedar Lodge, one of three Yosemite lodging accommodations located just outside the national park’s Arch Rock Entrance on Hwy 140 in El Portal, can be seen from this point on the Merced River.
SOUTH FORK MERCED. The South Fork of the Merced enters the river here. This is a splendid hike to consider either prior to or after your O.A.R.S. Merced River Rafting trip. There is an incredible display of spring wildflowers, providing a photographer’s dream. Expert kayakers frequently run the South Fork, a class V/V+ run.
NED'S GULCH (IV). There is a very small turn-out on Hwy 140 where onlookers can view boaters run this rapid. This is a ‘staircase’ rapid with the third drop being the largest. There is a large eddy at the end of the rapid. (An eddy is an area of usually calm water behind or downstream of an obstruction in the main current, such as a rock, where water flows counter to that of the main current.) There are easy, splashy Class II rapids for the next six miles.
Briceburg. Take out. Hot/cold drinks and a return shuttle to your vehicle await at the take-out of your O.A.R.S. Merced River rafting trip.* Hwy 140 leaves the river here, heading toward Mariposa. There is a bridge that crosses the river and continues downstream for the next five miles. There is also a dirt road that climbs up and out of the canyon leading toward Coulterville and Groveland. Driving this road is not advisable – it is very steep, narrow, often severely rutted and extremely remote.
SPLIT ROCK (IV) There is a very large boulder in the middle of the river.
CORNER POCKET (IV) The river makes a very sharp right turn, and most of the current pours into a very large hole against a rock wall.
Railroad Flat Campground. Take out. Hot/cold drinks and a return shuttle to your vehicle await at the take-out of your O.A.R.S. Merced River rafting trip.*
*O.A.R.S. sometimes varies its take-out (end) locations depending on the water level and whitewater rafting experience of its guests.
Information for this Mile by Mile guide was gathered from the books “California Whitewater” and “A Guide to the Best Whitewater in the State of California”, as well as from a variety of sources on the Internet.
|Destination River||Meeting Parking||Rapid||Point of Interest||Camp||Put-in||Take-out|
- Trip Reviews
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“In over 10 years of Rafting, we had some of the best water I've seen. Also, your guides were among the best we've ever had.”
Gerald E Melahn ~ West Dundee, IL
“Excellent Guide, Ryan. Told great stories, kept it entertaining, great lunch meal, we got to experience surfing, the 360 degree turn, got some education on how to read the water & the current Excellent! He made our trip fantastic and a great time!”
Jenny Yang ~ Lake Forest, CA
“Steve the guide was excellent. The ages of our group ranged from 9 to 72 years old and everyone had fun. The special attention to engage the children was especially nice.”
Deena Smith ~ San Diego, CA
“I have been on about 8 different river rafting trips and this was one of the best.”
William Krechowski ~ Merritt Island, FL
Merced River Rafting - 1 Day Trip Planner
Please complete one set of reservation forms per person no later than 30 days prior to your trip. If you have reserved your trip within 30 days of departure, please complete your forms immediately. Due to insurance requirements, you will also be required to sign a paper copy of our Liability Release Form on-site.
You can reference your email for the link or, log-in now to complete your forms.
Local Weather & Current Conditions
|Seasonal Average: 45 ° F|