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.

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Merced River Whitewater Photo Gallery


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The Merced In A Nutshell

Difficulty: Class IV-

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.

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Whitewater & Scenery

Whitewate & 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.

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River Flows

River FlowsThe 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.

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LogisticsCamping is mostly accessible by car, so you can go gourmet, have a dry change of clothes in the car, and bring the big family tent…

Keep reading about Merced River Logistics.

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Merced Video


Watch a Merced River video before you see it up close.

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Places to Eat, Places to Stay
& Things To Do

Places To EatPlaces To StayThings To Do

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Local Gear Shops

Local Gear ShopsBuy gear and other supplies for your whitewater trip on the Merced in Sonora or Online.

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