» Merced River
Bird’s Eye View
The mighty Merced River is famous both for its proximity to Yosemite National Park and for its big wave trains, exciting roadside whitewater, and long spring season. Tourists on the way to Yosemite stop and watch as rafts and kayaks navigate rapids such as Ned’s Gulch, Devil’s Tooth, Nightmare Island, and Guage Hole.
The Merced In A Nutshell
Gradient: 34 ft/mi
Length: 29 miles total
Season: April – July
Sections: Redbud to Briceburg (15 miles); Briceburg to Bagby (14 miles).
Who should go: Intermediate kayakers; adventurous first-time rafters; people on a vacation to Yosemite.
Whitewater & Scenery
With fun roller coaster-like rapids and technical boulder slaloms flowing through poppy and lupin-covered foothills, the Merced is a classic California springtime run. Many people compare rafting on the Merced River to a Disneyland ride without the crowds.
Read more about Merced River Whitewater.
The journey of the Merced River begins as it crashes over Nevada and Vernal Falls ad makes its way into the Yosemite Valley (luckily, we don’t have to raft that section). The Merced is 112 miles long and flows freely until it reaches the New Exchequer dam in Lake McClure.
Learn more about Merced River Flows.