Whitewater rafting vacations are a way to get off the beaten path and actively experience the rivers of the Sierra. Visitors to Yosemite can choose from a variety of half, 1, 2, and 3-day rafting trip options. Pick an excursion that best accommodates your group and travel itinerary.
Half and one-day trips are by far the most popular way people go rafting in California. A short day on the river on their way to the next destination is often all that people can fit into their busy vacation schedules. Half or single day trips can be a great way to experience rafting if your schedule demands it, but to fully breathe in a river you need to spend a night or two sleeping on its shore and exploring its beaches and side creeks. If you have the opportunity, consider doing a 2 or 3-day wilderness rafting adventure, this allows you, your family, and friends the extra time to slow down and taste everything a rafting vacation has to offer.
Sierra Mac offers several multi-day trip options. Many of our guests return annually for a 2 or 3 day adventure on the Class IV Intermediate-Advanced Main Tuolumne River. This 18 mile section of river has federal Wild & Scenic status and commercial trips are limited to just 20 persons per day per outfitter. Minimum age on the Tuolumne is 10 and its exciting and accessible rapids make it a great choice for groups and families. Rafting trips are a real recreation value and make planning easy. A night on a comfortable pad camped alongside a wild river sure beats most hotels. Delicious meals, prepared and served by our guides allow guests more time to relax and enjoy their time together.
If you’re looking for a more exciting and challenging multi-day adventure, consider one of our Combination Trips. Guests on these trips spend their first day on the seriously exciting 9-mile class V rapids of Cherry Creek (min. age: 15), and then continue for an additional 1 or 2 days on the 18-miles of the Main Tuolumne for a total of 27 river miles. California’s best whitewater rafting trip.
Summer vacation season can be crazy, everyone trying to get in their valuable leisure activities during the same window of time. Multi-day rafting trips are a great way to get off the summer treadmill and get the most out of your vacation. The guides call it “river time” and it sometimes can feel like the days last forever. The sights and smells of late afternoon and evening are magical. As the sun starts dropping, the canyon takes on a different character. Shadows form on the hills and on the water and the smells of dinner being prepared start to drift across camp. Water in the river and on side creeks is the warmest at this time after flowing over hot rocks all day; late afternoon swims are in order and maybe a hike or nap before mealtime. This is the perfect time to explore a little and to discover your own place on the river.
For our guides, this is a busy time. Unloading gear, setting up the camp kitchen, preparing appetizers, and helping to get people situated. Guests set up tents, chairs, hammocks and sleeping pads. Dinner is always a great event, a day of paddling excites appetites and our outdoor chefs always amaze with their cooking skills. After dessert, guests can migrate back to their tents or find a special spot to take in the evening. Starry nights on the Tuolumne are spectacular, and after a day of paddling the sound of the river at night lulls you into states of deep rest.
For overnight rafting trips pack light and compactly. Each person will receive a 3.8 cubic foot dry bag for storing his or her belongings. You’ll need your sleeping bag and pad, a ground tarp (this can double as a yoga mat). In spring and fall it is nice to have a tent, in summer many guests opt to sleep out under the stars. These items are also available for rent. Pack evening clothing appropriate to the season and bring a flashlight and your toothbrush. There is also room for a few optional personal items, we recommend leaving your mobile devices behind. Something to read, a personal water bottle, perhaps a journal and pen, fishing pole, or mask & snorkel. Extra beer, wine, soft drinks or other favorite evening libations (no glass except wine; we’ll pack these for you. SMRT provides some beer, wine and juice).
For questions about these or any of our half, 1, 2, and 3-day Yosemite rafting trip options, email Marty at Sierra Mac or call 209-591-8027.