Merced River Rafting Trips

Intermediate Class III - IV

A long whitewater roller coaster ride near Yosemite. 2018 Season: April - May 28. more

Difficulty & Scenery
  • Intermediate Class IV
  • Huge, tall waves
  • Rugged Sierra foothills near Hwy 140

Who Should Go
  • Adventurous novice & veteran
  • People wanting easy Class IV
  • Usual min. age: 12

Trips Include
  • Pro guide & instruction
  • Equipment & shuttle
  • Fresh, delicious meals


Merced River Rafitng Outside Yosemite National Park

Select a Merced River Rafting Trip Option

1-Day Trips start at $164

Complete price list


THE RAPIDS: Exciting Class IV waves will make you yell with excitement

The Merced is the closest a river can come to being like an amusement park ride. Rolling waves and speedy currents characterize its rapids. There are very few rocks to avoid, just large hydraulics. Normally on 1-Day trips, we raft a 16-mile section of the upper Merced. This lively section starts off fast for the first six miles, slows down in the middle section, and speeds up again in the final miles. You'll find your time is spent laughing as you sail over waves that are almost cartoon-like in their height. This is definitely a favorite run of many whitewater enthusiasts.

USUAL MINIMUM AGE: 12 years of age


THE RIVER SCENERY: Clear waters flow through an open and grassy canyon

Protected by the federal government as a National Wild and Scenic River, the Merced has its headwaters in the heart of Yosemite. With such magical beginnings, it's no wonder the Merced is such a beauty. The river's broad, sweeping canyon is home to oak and pine trees and majestic grassy hills. In the spring, golden poppies, purple lupine and fragrant wild irises explode in color on the green hillsides. Near the river, a roadway follows the canyon line. At times during your trip, you'll hear the cheers of onlookers who have stopped to watch our raft navigate the clear blue waters.

RIVER LOCATION: 3.5 hours from San Francisco, 45 minutes from Yosemite Valley

Just ten minutes from Mariposa, a Merced River trip makes for an easy side trip when visiting Yosemite National Park. Traveling from Sacramento, it's a 150-mile trip. Nearby highways include Highway 140, 120, and 49. Explore other Yosemite whitewater rafting trip options.


The Merced is a free-flowing river. This means there are no upstream dams controlling its flow. So when the snow in the mountains begins to melt, the Merced begins to flow. Flows usually peak around early-June, and should become too low for rafting by mid-July.

* Season length and flows may vary. For this year's flow predictions and real-time water levels go to the River Flows page.

MEALS: Freshly prepared riverside feasts

Our lunch begins with tortilla chips, salsa, and fresh summer fruits. Our gourmet "build-your-own" sandwich bar includes all the fixings needed to assemble the perfect sandwich to your preference. We also provide a beverage, and cookies to finish it off.

If you have special dietary requirements, we encourage you to tell us at the time of your reservation. We will do our very best to accommodate your needs.

GUEST INVOLVEMENT: How You Participate in Getting Down the River

All-Outdoors usually runs paddle-rafts on the Merced River. In a paddle-raft, each guest and a professional guide have a paddle and navigate the river, working as a coordinated team. Merced trips are highly participatory so guests need to be ready and willing to paddle. In times of extreme high water, we may elect to use oar-paddle combination rafts (a professional guide steers the boat with oars while simultaneously calling commands to paddlers in the boat). All guests should be able to swim.

GROUP TRIPS: We Can Accommodate Groups as Large as 50 People

One of our specialties is creating fun and memorable whitewater rafting trips for small and large groups.

What Type of Group Trip are You Looking For?

Our reservation specialists can help you through every step of the planning process. To learn more about our group-specific discount plans and packages, visit our Group Rafting Trips page.

THE NEXT STEP: Explore 1-Day Option or Begin the Booking Process

To learn more about our Merced River rafting trips, explore our 1-Day trip options. If you want to start booking your trip now, you can call our office at (800)247-2387 during business hours or check for available space online .