California Whitewater Rafting Trips near San Francisco and Lake Tahoe
Mariah Wilderness Expeditions - Coordinated by Raft California
Half Day Merced River Whitewater Rafting Trip

california river rafting merced river with mariah wilderness expeditionsCONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION
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Departures: Daily, May-June, 8:30am-1:00pm or 2:00-6:30pm

Trip Difficulty: Beginner – Intermediate Class II-IV

Who Should Go: Novice & experienced, Ages 7-97, (Ages 7+ years at low water; Ages 12+ years at normal to high water)

Type of Raft: Paddle boat, 6 paddlers plus a professional guide

Price Range:

  • Saturday & Sunday: Adult $115 | Youth: $105
  • Midweek M-F: Adult $109 | Youth $99

Not Included: Gratuities

Available to Rent: Wetsuits if needed


We consider this river a solid intermediate run. Previous experience is recommended, though an adventurous first-timer in good condition will surely have a great time! The season is determined by the depth and melt of the High Sierra snow pack. The river offers beautiful scenery and lots of fun and thrills for a wonderful outdoor experience into the warmer early to mid-summer months. Plan to visit Yosemite following your exciting river adventure!

A BIT OF HISTOY:Even before the establishment of Yosemite National Park, tourists began to travel into the Merced Canyon and Yosemite Valley as early as 1855. The first roads were constructed into Yosemite Valley in the 1870s. The first was Coulterville Road, followed by Big Oak Flat Road, a trading route from Stockton to Merced Canyon. Environmental movements led by John Muir and Robert Underwood Johnson convinced the U.S. Congress to establish Yosemite National Park in 1890.With the creation of the national park tourism to the Valley and the Merced River increased significantly, leading to many other roads being built throughout the upper Merced River watershed. Other national forests protecting more of the Merced River upper basin followed, including Sierra National Forest and Stanislaus National Forest. So when you travel to the Merced River you will see many historical remnants of the early gold mining and early settlements. 

Call our office for the Merced River 1-Day Rafting Trip DIRECTIONS and PACKING LIST.

  • Trip Includes

    • 7-11 miles of river
    • Class III – IV whitewater rapids
    • Snacks on the river
    • River equipment (boats, paddles, life jackets)
    • 45 minutes from Yosemite Valley
    • Fun professional river guide
    • Day 1

      8:30 am  or 2:00 pm: Meet, greet, and sign in with your head guide.

      11:00-11:30 am: Launch your boats and begin river trip.

      12:00-12:30 pm: Picnic lunch on banks of the river.

      1:00 pm: Continue down river, enter a narrow canyon with more Class II rapids.

      1:00 pm or 6:00 pm: We arrive at our take-out, board our river vehicles, and drive you back to where your cars are, about a 30-minute drive.

      Your trip is either a morning trip 8:30am-1:00pm.or an afternoon trip 2:00-6:00pm. We meet you at Indian Flat Campground when you meet your river guides. We gather for the Trip Orientation, a thorough, 30-minute presentation given by your Head Guide. He/she will go over the safety features of the trip, and demonstrate paddle techniques. You will be introduced to your guides, launch your boats and begin rafting. The entire morning we have the opportunity to raft through lots of rapids. The Merced is intense and challenging from the start, with many Class III and IV rapids in the first few miles. At mile seven we reach Ned’s Gulch, a pure-fun Class IV rapid which begins with a series of standing waves, each coming toward you at an angle and building in size, and culminating in one big wave and a deep drop.

      Our Take-Out is a few miles further down at Briceburg, which is steeped in history from the gold mining days. You get into our vehicles and we drive you back to where your cars are.

    • View River Rapids Map

    The Evening Before Your Trip!

    Camping the night prior to your trip is not included. See “Area Information” under “Resources” above.

    For all of our Merced River trips we meet you at our Indian Flat Campground office just outside Yosemite Park on highway 140 and only 3 miles downriver from the small hamlet of El Portal. Indian Flat Campground offers camping, and motels are nearby. There are nice restaurants nearby where you may enjoy a lovely dinner.