Merced River 1-day trips

Our most popular trip…close to Yosemite!

$166 to $191

About the Trip

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



Our Full Day Merced trips cover 16 miles of beautiful canyon and exciting Class 3-4 whitewater. The day starts at 9:30 AM with check in, orientation, and a bus ride up to our put in. After a safety talk and paddling practice, we’re on the river and ready for action! Our professional guides will lead you through fun and challenging rapids, and will prepare a delicious lunch for you on the side of the river half way through the trip. After we take out, our bus will bring you back to your cars where you can change clothes, look at photos, and share stories.

Minimum age: 9 -12 depending on water levels.

Merced 1-Day Trip Dates

Daily from April through mid-July and longer depending on snowpack.

Trips depart 7 days a week.

Merced 1-Day Pricing

Start DaysPrice
Group Price (12+)
  • Prices are per person and subject to an 8% Government access/service fee
  • 5% discount for groups of 6-11
  • Group rates apply for 12 or more, plus 1 free trip with 24 or more


  • Arrive 9:30 a.m. or before at our office in Midpines, CA. See logistics for directions
  • Park cars, assemble, hand in release forms or fill them out if you did not bring them already filled out
  • Board our bus for the scenic 30 minute ride to our launch area
  • Start rafting
  • Lunch around 1:00 on river
  • Start rafting again around 2:00, and continue on down into the Gorge below Briceburg
  • Around 3:30 we hit Corner Pocket and Split Rock rapid…plenty of excitement
  • Arrive at take-out around 4:00. Load up in bus for the 10 minute ride back to your cars.
  • NOTE: The 7 hour window for each trip includes car parking, bus shuttle, safety talks, on river lunch stop and other possible delays. Actual “on-water” time varies depending on how high or how low the water levels are at trip time.

What’s Included

  • Wetsuits/paddle jackets for spring trips
  • All river gear including helmets and life jackets
  • Full lunch served on river
  • Beverages at trip’s end
  • Parking and round trip bus shuttle to and from river.

On the River

Full-day trips include a deli-lunch served on the river. All trips include cold beverages prior to boarding our bus for the ride back to your cars.

Wet suits provided free of charge

As a service to our clients, Zephyr provides wet suits and paddle jackets free of charge. Wet suits are recommended on all trips through about mid June, depending on previous winter snowpack. The wet suits are designed for whitewater rafting, and are very comfortable. The suit is a full-length “farmer-john” style, with sleeveless tops. We also provide an optional nylon paddle jacket which can be worn over the suit when necessary. You are welcome to provide your own suit if you wish.

“What do I wear underneath my wet suit?” An important question that comes up often. We recommend wearing a thin nylon swim suit, or other non-bulky swim attire, underneath your wet suit.

On the river

  • Shorts/swim suit
  • Tennis shoes or river sandals (no flip flops please!)
  • Sunglasses with tie-on
  • Camera Note: There is a professional photographer that will be taking photos along the way, and these photos will be available for you to see and purchase if you desire when the trip is over.
  • Light Windbreaker/wool sweater (spring trips only)
  • T-shirt or long-sleeve shirt
  • Hat/Visor with tie-on. Note: On the Tuolumne and Merced rivers, you will be wearing a helmet, and you will need a baseball style hat that can be worn underneath the helmet. and still screen you from the sun.
  • Sunscreen
  • Wet suit if you have one. Ours are provided at no charge, and include a nylon paddle jacket.

Cool weather or high water items

  • PLEASE NOTE: Cotton clothing is not appropriate for cool/wet weather, as it does not insulate when wet
  • Polypro or wool long underwear
  • Wool or fleece/pants
  • Wool or polypro sweater/jacket
  • Wool hat/Wool gloves

Logistics, Directions & Accomodations

All 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 in Midpines.

  • Full day trips meet at 9:30 a.m.
  • Morning 1/2 day trips meet at 8:00 a.m.
  • Afternoon 1/2 day trips meet at 1:30 p.m.

Important note: if you are using GPS or Google Maps, please be sure to type in the town and zip code, and double-check that your directions are sending you to Midpines, CA and NOT Merced, CA.

Merced Meeting Place
Click to enlarge

Please note that the Highways in and around Yosemite can be confusing, and summer traffic can add driving time to the estimates below. It is important that you key into where you are staying, and are clear on your driving directions. It is your responsibility to get to our meeting location ON TIME. If you are late, you may miss your trip, and there are no refunds for missed trips!

From Yosemite Valley

Take the Highway 140 Exit out of Yosemite Valley heading west toward Mariposa and follow the Merced River downstream. Continue traveling west on Highway 140 towards Midpines. As you pass the turnoff for the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort on your right, begin looking for our signs on your left. Our driveway is on the left-hand side of the highway, on the outskirts of the town of Midpines. Driving time from the Yosemite Valley floor is about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

From Mariposa

Take Highway 140 toward Yosemite Valley, passing through the small town of Midpines. Stay on Highway 140, and about a mile past Midpines, begin looking for our signs on the right. Our driveway is on the right-hand side of the highway, next to the large Cal-Trans illuminated sign. Driving time from Mariposa is about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on traffic.

From the Groveland area

Proceed to Coulterville on Highway 49. From Coulterville, proceed south on Highway 49 to Mariposa.  Then, follow the “FROM MARIPOSA” directions above. Driving time from Groveland is about 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on traffic.

From Tenaya Lodge/Fish Camp

Take Highway 41 South to Oakhurst. From Oakhurst, take Highway 49 North to MARIPOSA (about 30 minutes), and follow the “FROM MARIPOSA” directions above. Driving time from Tenaya Lodge/Fish Camp is about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

From Mammoth/Mono Lake

Take TIOGA PASS (Highway 120) west towards Yosemite Valley. When you reach the junction with the North/South Highway 120, turn left (South) and head towards Yosemite Valley. Proceed through the tunnels, dropping into the Merced River canyon. You will come to the junction of Highway 140. Turn right on Highway 140, following the Merced River downstream. Continue traveling west on Highway 140 towards Midpines. As you pass the turnoff for the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort, begin looking for our signs. Our driveway is on the left-hand side of the highway, on the outskirts of the town of Midpines. Driving time from Mammoth/Mono Lake is about 4 hours to 4 hours and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

The closest accommodations to the Midpines/Mariposa area are:

If you plan on staying in the Oakhurst or Fishcamp areas:

For vacation home rentals inside Yosemite:

For lodging between Groveland and Yosemite:

  • Evergreen Lodge is located just north of Yosemite off Highway 120, and offers a rustic, historical stay in its recently remodeled cabins. The food is excellent and the ambiance relaxing. Very close to Hetch Hetchy reservoir.
  • Rush Creek Lodge provides a relaxed, yet sophisticated experience in a hillside woodland setting at the Highway 120 West entrance to Yosemite National Park.

Bed & Breakfast Inns:

Merced Camping Map
Click to enlarge


Spring/early Summer Rafting on the Merced River

The Merced river is a Wild and Scenic, Free-Flowing River. There are no dams upstream, so our water levels fluctuate throughout the season (and day to day). Please contact us if you have any questions about what water levels will look like for your trip!