Merced River

Closest Rafting to Yosemite valley

Designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, the Merced offers world class whitewater right at the boundary of Yosemite National Park. The classic High Sierra waterfalls merge in Yosemite Valley, and just below the park boundary lies a beautiful and exciting section of class 3-4 whitewater. Our Merced River trips are an excellent way to experience the greater Yosemite Area, with easy access, beautiful scenery, excellent swimming, and adrenaline pumping rapids. Indeed, the Merced river offers one of the best whitewater rafting paddle-boat trips in California.

Merced Trip Options


We offer both Morning (8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) and Afternoon (1:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.) 1/2 day trips daily. These trips raft 11 miles of the Merced River and give you the rest of the day to cross off the many other activities we’re sure you have on your Yosemite vacation list.


Meet at 9:30 a.m, back by 5:00 p.m. Our full-day trips raft 16 miles of classic whitewater and include a delicious riverside deli lunch. We raft from Indian Flat to Railroad Flat, and include the exciting class 4 section of the lower Gorge.

Note: Later in the season, as water levels slowly drop, our 1/2 day trips move down into the Merced river Gorge, a fun and very scenic 5 mile section of river, offering family friendly rapids and excellent swimming. Trip ending times can vary with changing water levels

Merced Video

Why book with Zephyr?

  • Zephyr is the largest whitewater outfitter on the Merced river.  We raft more guests each season than all other outfitters combined.
  • More trip options.  We offer both morning and afternoon 1/2-day trips, PLUS one full-day trip every day.
  • TRIP PHOTO LINK: On most trips, our friends at Picture This Photography will take photos of you rafting during the day. CD’s of your photos are available to view and to purchase on site before you leave. You can also order your photos after you return home by clicking on the above link, inserting your trip date and guides name, and follow the ordering instructions.
  • Free use of wet-suits and paddle jackets.
  • For camping and lodging options before or after your river trip, see our Merced river trip detail page.

Meeting Spot

All Merced  trips meet at the ZEPHYR WHITEWATER MERCED RIVER PROPERTY, located at 6940 State Highway 140, Midpines, CA, 95345. Our property is eight miles from Mariposa, and just across Highway 140 from the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort.  We have a large secure parking area, and the Yosemite Bug Mountain Resort has a great restaurant just minutes from our property.  See our location on Google Maps.

PLEASE NOTE:  TRIPS DO NOT MEET AT OUR MAIN OFFICE IN COLUMBIA, CA.  If you simply Google “Zephyr Whitewater”, the directions will take you to Columbia, and you will miss your trip.  Please be sure to refer to our trip logistics pdf file in your reservation confirmation e-mail.

Here to Help

We’re here to help!

Our friendly office staff are ready to answer any questions and help you book your next adventure!