Whitewater Rafting on the Merced River

Merced River rafting features first-class early season whitewater just outside Yosemite National Park, through a picturesque canyon adorned with pine forests, colorful wildflowers, rocky ledges and sandy beaches.

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. 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.

O.A.R.S. Whitewater Rafting offers a rafting trip on the Merced.

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Latitude: 37.6735628 Longitude: -119.8336315 Elevation: 1634 ft

Typical Class of Water

Class III-IV

Best Seasons for Experiencing

The Merced River’s free-flowing waters, dependent solely on snow melt, keep its season short and sweet. Commercial whitewater rafting trips on the Merced River run from April through June or early-July only. Typically, the hillsides are filled with wildflowers in April and May - well worth the trip!

Access Points

--From the San Francisco Bay Area: Take I-580 east to I-205, then head east on Hwy 120 to Hwy 99. Go south on Hwy 99 to Merced, then follow Hwy 140 east through Mariposa for 22 miles (from intersection of Hwy 49 and 140) to Cedar Lodge. O.A.R.S. commercial whitewater rafting trips meet at the “Sand Pit,” 1.4 miles past Cedar Lodge. --From Southern California: Take Hwy 99 north to Merced, then Hwy 140 east through Mariposa to the “Sand Pit.” -- From Yosemite or El Portal: The Sand Pit is 3.3 miles southwest of the Shell gas station on Hwy 140 in El Portal.

ADA Accessibility Notes

Persons with various disabilities are welcome on O.A.R.S. commercial whitewater rafting trips, pending a discussion of any special requirements.

Pet Friendly Notes

By all means bring your dogs to the river! However, pets are not allowed on commercial whitewater rafting trips and dogs must remain on paved road/walk ways in Yosemite National Park.

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