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Merced River

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Yosemite, Merced
Class I - IV+
2-3 days
Apri to July


The Merced River is a river of contrasts. Gentle through Yosemite and rough through the fierce canyons farther south, there's something in the river for beginners and daredevils both, as well as the rafter who likes a little relaxation between intense whitewater hits.

The Merced River is birthed by a waterfall and runs over at least one impassable cascade through the course of its length. This certainly keeps the river mad, wild and exciting throughout large stretches of the river. It also keeps it fresh and clear even in the quiet segments. This is one of California's mellow trout fishing rivers, popular with anglers.

However, it's the white caps on the river's churn that draw the rafters. You can expect almost constant rapids from Red Bud to Briceburg and Briceburg to Bagby; one of these stretches - the Quarter Mile Rapid - is tough and scary enough to make the average Class IV rapid runner consider a portage. Not every rapid is so terrifying - the northern stretch of the river, from Red Bug to Briceburg, has a little more in the way of "take a little breather" Class II and III rapids.

Tour Companies

  • Near Yosemite / Kings Canyon / Sequoia
  • Rafting
  • 800-431-3636

Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions The best of California whitewater rafting is what you will find at Zephyr Whitewater. Since 1973, we have offered exceptional California whitewater trips on the Kings, Tuolumne, Merced, and American rivers, all near Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks. Our California whitewater rafting trips are great for families, for the first-timer rafter, and for the advanced thrill seeker.

Class I - IV+
2-3 days
Apri to July
Nearest Town
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