Merced River Rafting

Merced River Rafting Trips | White Water Rafting California

Closest rafting to Yosemite!

Location: Mariposa, CA

Season: April-July

Level: Class IV Beginner-Intermediate

Min Age: 7-10 years old (depending on the water levels)

Duration: 1 day and half day trip options

Swimming skills required

The Merced River tumbles and twists out of Yosemite Valley, gradually mellowing into a raft-able whitewater river outside the Park. No dams lie above this section of whitewater, and during spring and early summer as the snowpack in the Sierra melts, the Merced comes to life.

The Merced’s proximity to Yosemite makes it a popular choice for visitors looking for a half-day or 1-day Class IV rafting trip on their way to the Park. The Merced’s spring and early summer rafting season coincides with peak waterfall viewing season in Yosemite. It’s also located close enough to the Central Valley (just 1 hour from Merced) to draw visitors from throughout California. Your head guide will meet you the morning of your trip at the Merced Rafting meeting spot, located about 11 miles east of Mariposa, California, and about a 1.5-hour drive west from Yosemite Valley. Minimum age is 10 years old in the spring and lowers to age 7 in summer as the water drops. Participants will be provided with maps, detailed directions, and meeting times.

In the spring, the Merced is defined by abundant wildflowers and Class IV whitewater confined in a narrow corridor, creating a series of thrilling, sparkling rapids and wave trains that make this river a must for any rafting enthusiast. Indeed, our Merced River rafting trips offer one of the best whitewater trips in California. Guides and crews work in unison to negotiate the waves and share in the excitement. Rapids like Percolator Hole, Ned’s Gulch, and the infamous Split Rock keep everyone focused on the fun. Later in the season, the Merced slows to a more moderate level making it ideal for families and more timid paddlers.

Our Merced Rafting trips are operated by a trusted, associated rafting company.

Merced River 1-Day Rafting Trip

Trips meet at 9:30am sharp at the Merced River Rafting meeting spot in Midpines, located 11 miles east of Mariposa, on CA State Hwy 140. After a 30-minute bus ride to put-in, guests are ready to embark on a full day of class IV+ paddling. The action starts immediately with an exciting series of hydraulics and rapids. The river picks up some volume as it merges with the South Fork, propelling rafts into legendary Ned’s Gulch rapid. About halfway downstream, we’ll eddy out to enjoy a delicious riverside lunch prepared by our guides and pause to take in the wonder of the Merced’s steep, oak-studded canyon. The afternoon offers a little time to catch your breath before entering into some of the wildest rapids of the day, climaxing with the double thrills of Split Rock and Corner Pocket. Guests usually arrive back at their vehicles between 4:30 and 5pm.

Trip Highlights

  • Perfect for the experienced paddler, as well as first-time rafters
  • Several Class IV+ rapids, including Percolator Hole, Ned’s Gulch, Split Rock, & Corner Pocket
  • Great guides: skilled and ready to provide a safe and fun outdoor adventure
  • Amazing spring wildflower display in a steep canyon
  • A full day of fun, relaxation, and excitement in a beautiful river canyon

 

 

Merced River Half-Day Rafting Trip

Limited for time? Merced half-day trips fit into any travel schedule. Half-day trips meet at the Merced Rafting meeting spot in Midpines. Half-day trips depart twice daily: Morning trips meet at 8:30am, and afternoon half-day trips meet at 2pm. After a 30-minute bus ride to put-in and a paddling orientation, guests embark the rolling rapids of the Merced. The action starts immediately with an exciting series of hydraulics and rapids climaxing at Ned’s Gulch Rapids. Lunch is not included on half-day trips. Main season half-day trips cover 11 river miles. In late season as the snowmelt recedes, the Merced mellows a bit. Late season half-day trips begin at Briceburg, a short drive from our meeting spot. The river and air get warmer, and we get to linger a bit more at some of the Merced’s famous swimming holes. These late season trips cover 5.5 miles and are perfect for families and those seeking a milder adventure.

Trip Highlights

  • Perfect for the experienced paddler, as well as first-time rafters
  • Morning and Afternoon trip options available
  • Main season: Class IV+ Ned’s Gulch rapid – a guaranteed adrenaline rush
  • Late season: Milder rapids, warmer water and air temperature, perfect for swimming.
  • Great guides: skilled and ready to provide a safe and fun outdoor adventure
  • Amazing spring wildflower display in a steep canyon
  • Relaxation and excitement in a beautiful river canyon
ABOUT RAFT CALIFORNIA

With over 25 years of running the highest quality rafting trips and river tours, Raft California invites you to join us on one of our spectacular rafting adventures!

We have whitewater rafting trips on over 12 rivers in Northern California, Oregon, and into Nevada! Rivers include the South Fork American, Middle Fork American, North Fork American, North Yuba, Truckee, Tuolumne, Kaweah and more!.

CONTACT US!
Raft California
6500 State Highway 49
Lotus, CA 95651-9764
(530) 626-7385
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