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 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.
The Merced River 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 becomes a class III run and then an I later in the year.