Half-day and full-day Merced River rafting trips are suitable for beginner to advanced paddlers.
The Merced river tumbles and twists out of Yosemite Valley, gradually mellowing into a raftable whitewater river just 4 miles below the town of El Portal. It is here that our trips begin. Offering abundant whitewater confined by a narrow corridor, this river is a must for the rafting enthusiast. Indeed, our Merced River rafting trips offer one of the best white water paddle-boat trips in California. Your head guide will meet you the morning of your trip at the Indian Flat Campground location.
Looking for a place to camp before or after your rafting trip on the Merced? Campsites in Yosemite can be hard to find in summer months, but there are a few first-come first-served campgrounds in the area around the river. Our Merced River Camping Guide blog post has more details.
MERCED RIVER RAFTING TRIP DIRECTIONS & MEETING TIMES
Full-day trips meet at 10:00 a.m. and end around 5:00 p.m.
Morning 1/2-day trips meet at 8:30 a.m. and end around 1:00 p.m.
Afternoon 1/2-day trips meet at 2:00 p.m. and end around 6:30 p.m.
2017 NOTE: California received a lot of snow over the winter and water levels on all California rivers will be very high and exciting during Spring runoff (early May through late June). Minimum age for Merced rafting trips during this time will be increased to 12 years old for 1/2 day trips, and 14 for full-day trips. Everyone must be able to swim, be in good physical condition, and be prepared for an exciting ride. Families with younger kids should wait until late June through August to raft. We are excited that Merced trips will have good water through the end of August!
All Trips meet at the MERCED RIVER OFFICE, located next to Indian Flat RV Park and Campground on the Highway 140 approximately 8 miles west of Yosemite Park’s Arch Rock Entrance. The address is 9988 Highway 140, El Portal, CA 95318. Indian Flat is 300 yards east of Cedar Lodge, a well-known first class lodge with restaurant. PLEASE BE ON TIME.
Please note that the Highways in and around Yosemite can be confusing, and summer traffic can add driving time to the estimates below. It is important that you key into where you are staying, and are clear on your driving directions. It is your responsibility to get to Indian Flat RV Park ON TIME. If you are late, you will miss your trip and sorry, but there are no refunds for missed trips!
From Yosemite: Take the Highway 140 exit out of Yosemite Valley heading west toward Mariposa and follow the Merced river downstream. After about 45 minutes, you will pass the YOSEMITE VIEW LODGE. Continue through the small town of El Portal (still following the river downstream). Go another 4 miles or so, and you will see our office on the left hand side of the Highway directly next to Indian Flat RV Park. If you see CEDAR LODGE, you have gone 300 yards too far! Driving time from the Yosemite Valley floor is about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on traffic.
From Mariposa: Take Highway 140 toward Yosemite Valley, passing through the town of Midpines, continuing down into the Merced river canyon. Continue up canyon, following the river, all the way to Cedar Lodge. We are 300 yards past Cedar Lodge. Driving time from Mariposa is about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on traffic. Caution: Highway 140 also exits WEST toward San Francisco on the south side of Mariposa. Make sure you take the 140 EAST towards Yosemite from the north side of Mariposa.
Full-day Merced River rafting trips include a deli-lunch served on the river. Half-day trips do not include lunch. All trips include cold beverages prior to boarding our bus for the ride back to your cars.
WHAT TO BRING
- Tennis shoes or river sandals (no flip flops please!)
- Sunglasses with tie-on
- Camera (see above) Note: There is a professional photographer that will be taking photos along the way, and these photos will be available for you to see and purchase if you desire when the trip is over.
- Light Windbreaker/wool sweater (spring trips only)
- T-shirt or long-sleeve shirt
- Hat/Visor with tie-on. Note: On the Tuolumne and Merced rafting trips, you will be wearing a helmet, and you will need a baseball style hat that can be worn underneath the helmet. and still screen you from the sun.
- Wetsuit if you have one. Ours are provided at no charge and include a nylon paddle jacket.
Cool weather or high water items
- Polypro or wool long underwear
- Wool or pile pants
- Wool or polypro sweater/jacket
- Wool hat/Wool gloves
For further information on any of our rafting trips, call Marty at 209.591.8027