If you’ve never tried rafting before, the Merced River is an excellent place to test the waters, and there are many outfitters at many points along the river to choose from. There are two main locations for river rafting – in Yosemite Valley where the ride is smoother, and outside the park on the Merced River from Redbud to Lake McClure where the runs can be Level 2 to 4 depending on the water conditions and time of year. This is a seasonal activity in spring and early summer only.
Outside the park, the Merced River from El Portal to Briceburg offers a beautiful trip down a canyon that is protected as the Merced Wild and Scenic River. Tumbling from the spectacular Yosemite Valley, the Merced River beckons the outdoor lover each spring, while its continuous whitewater challenges even the veteran rafter. Let nature refresh your soul with an explosion of redbud and poppies that color the rugged canyon. It`s no wonder Congress extended the Merced’s Wild & Scenic River protection to include the entire whitewater run in 1990. The Merced is an excellent choice for those who would like to combine their rafting adventure with a visit to the park. At peak snowmelt, the Merced runs high and fast, making the trip a class IV run. Later in the season when the river drops a bit, it become a class III run and then a I later in the year. Wetsuits may be required.
RIVER RAFTING SAFETY RULES
• Rafting is not recommended for non-swimmers.
• Life jackets and helmets should be worn at all times.
• Rafting is unsafe for small children and babies.
• Alcoholic beverages are prohibited on the river.
• Do not tie rafts together.
• Do not enter roped off areas on river banks. The roped off sections protect sensitive nature areas.