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The following whitewater rafting information should answer your logistical questions concerning your Merced river whitewater rafting trip. If you still have questions after reviewing this material, please feel free to call our office.
Meeting Time & Place
NOTE: Starting in 2019, our meeting location for all Merced River trips has changed. We no longer meet at Indian Flat RV Park. All trips now 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.
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.
Morning 1/2-day trips: meet at 8:00 a.m sharp!
Afternoon 1/2-day trips: meet at 1:30 p.m sharp!
Full-Day trips: meet at 9:30 a.m. sharp!
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.
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.
Full-day trips include a deli-lunch served on the river. Half-day trips do not include lunch. All trips include cold beverages prior to boarding our bus for the ride back to your cars.
As a service to our clients, Zephyr provides wet-suits and paddle jackets free of charge. Wetsuits are recommended on all trips through about mid June, depending on previous winter snowpack. The wetsuits 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 to Bring
On the river
- Shorts/swim suit
- Tennis shoes or river sandals (no flip flops please!)
- Sunglasses with tie-on
- Camera (see above) 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.
- Wetsuit if you have one. Ours are provided at no charge, and include a nylon paddle jacket.
Cool weather or high water items
- Polypro or wool long underwear
- Wool or pile pants
- Wool or polypro sweater/jacket
- Wool hat/Wool gloves
The closest accommodations to Mariposa are:
- Yosemite Bug Hostel – A unique low-cost hostel with camping, dorm type rooms, private rooms, and a great restaurant, located just across Highway 140 from our meeting spot. Located in Midpines, only 8 miles from Mariposa on the way to Yosemite. (866) 826-7108
- AutoCamp Yosemite Only 5 minutes from our meeting spot, offering “glamping” in cabins and Airstream trailers. (888) 405-7553
- Mariposa Lodge – (209) 966-3607
- Mother Lode Lodge – (209) 966-2521
- Miners Inn Motel – (209) 742-7777
- Quality Inn Yosemite Valley Gateway – (209) 966-4344
- Best Western Yosemite Way Station – (209) 966-7545 (800) 321-5261
- Yosemite Motels – a series of 6 great motels in the Yosemite area.
- Cedar Lodge – (209) 379-2612 (800) 321-5261
- Yosemite View Lodge – (209) 379-2681 (800) 321-5261
- Yosemite Valley – (801) 559-5000
If you plan on staying in the Oakhurst or Fishcamp areas:
- Narrow Gauge Inn in Fishcamp, charming and great food. For reservations, call (888) 644-9050.
- Tenaya Lodge, also in Fishcamp, is a wonderful resort hotel with great restaurants and both indoor and outdoor pools.
- Chateau du Sureau is a 5 star, 5 diamond inn near Oakhurst.
- Hounds Tooth Inn is an excellent Bed and Breakfast near Oakhurst and the Southern entrance to Yosemite.
- Homestead Cottages offers rest and relaxation near Oakhurst.
- Sierra Mountain Lodge is located in Ahwahnee, just 10 minutes from Oakhurst.
- Yosemite Southgate Hotel and Suites is located in the heart of Oakhurst.
For vacation home rentals inside Yosemite:
- Yosemite Vacation Homes is an excellent link.
- Yosemite Scenic Wonders provides cabin, home, and condominium rentals inside historic Yosemite.
- Redwoods in Yosemite offers year-round vacation home rentals.
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
- Indian Peak Ranch Mountain Top Hideaway is an excellent choice just south of Mariposa on 122 beautiful acres.
- Little Valley Inn also in Mariposa is close to restaurants and services.
- Indian Flat Campground
- Yosemite – a list of campgrounds inside Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Valley is 40 minutes from our meeting spot.
Breakfast the morning of the trip is your responsibility. There are many good restaurants in the Mariposa area.
One-Day and 1/2 day Trip Logistics
Your head guide will meet you the morning of your trip at our staging area, located at 6940 Hwy 140, Midpines, CA 95345
- 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.
Please make sure you know how long it will take you to get to our meeting location from where you are coming from. If you are not there on time, you will keep others waiting, and you may miss your trip. There are NO REFUNDS or CREDITS for missed trips. If you are unsure about your driving times, please call our office. PLEASE DO NOT USE GPS.
We are frequently asked whether it is appropriate to tip guides. While our guides are well compensated for their skills, if you feel your trip was exceptional, or that your guide or guides went out of their way to make the quality of your experience a notch above the norm, tipping is a nice way of saying thank you.