Merced River - Camp, Swim, and Whitewater near Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park
Merced River, California, USA,Yosemite Valley,California
37.74178, -119.58331
Address: Merced River, California, USA
GPS: 37°44'30.4"N 119°34'59.9"W
Maps | Directions
State: California

Rivers Streams Pet Friendly National Park

Camp, Swim, and Whitewater

The main fork of Merced River at Yosemite National Park is a perfect place to fish, swim, raft, and even pan for gold.

The river circles around the center of Yosemite Valley, and almost every point on the river has views of the most breathtaking parts of the park, from Yosemite Falls to Glacier Point.

Merced River is one of the few places in Yosemite that offer whitewater river rafting. The rapids go from Redbud to Briceburg and range from levels 2 to 4. It's a class IV run at peak snow melt, but it does get lower and slower as the season goes on. There are also several pullouts along the river canyon where people can get their own flotation devices and float the river themselves, although it's not recommended until late June, when the river has slowed down a bit.

It's also around this time that many people choose to go swimming in the river. The main fork is the ideal place for this. There are several places to camp along the river, such as Dirt Flat, Dry Gulch, McCabe Flat, Willow Placer, Railroad Flat, and more.

Fishing is also a favorite activity of those who come to the Merced River, but there are a few more conditions on fishing than usual. Catch and release is strongly encouraged, and only fish larger than 12 inches can be taken from the river.

942 Edited by smbrady17

For more information, visit:

Add Reference URL

Link to another great resource

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

Directions

From Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park

  1. Head northeast on Northside Dr toward Lower Yosemite Fall Trail
    Toll road
    (0.5 mi)
  2. Turn right onto Sentinel Drive
    Toll road
    (0.3 mi)
  3. Turn left onto Southside Dr
    Toll road
    (0.4 mi)
or

A favorite spot to swim in Yosemite Valley off RT 140. Continue east on RT 140 and swim in the Merced River at the sandy bars between Clark's Bridge and Sentinel Beach near Housekeeping Camp beach. Courtesy of SwimmingHoles.org

to add photos & videos and suggest edits

Guest Review/Comments

/5
Edit Review Delete Review
Reply Cancel
Merced River 2 added by smbrady17 Merced River 2 added by smbrady17
Merced River courtesy of Ken Lund Merced River courtesy of Ken Lund↗

Other Swimming Holes and Whitewater Rapids Nearby

Add Location

Devil's Bathtub

Yosemite Valley, California

0.8 miles NE

Devil's Bathtub is one of those destinations that's a little more off the beaten path of Yosemite tourists. It's just above the Majestic Yosemite (AKA Ahwanhee Hotel). Earlier in the...

Swim

swim Swimming Hole

Mirror Lake

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park

1.9 miles E

Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake situated in a secluded corner of the beautiful Yosemite Valley. The lake sits at the base of Half Dome and allows a different perspective of the famous monolith....

Backpack, Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

backpack Backpacking Trail

0.7 mi

Lukens Lake

Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

7.7 miles N

Lukens Lake is a small lake in the White Wolf area of Yosemite National Park. The hike is a short, 1.6 mile walk through a forest to the secluded lake surrounded by trees and a small...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

5.5 mi

Ostrander Lake

Wawona, California

8.3 miles S

Ostrander Lake is a long, 11.4 mile hike just behind Sentinel Dome. Unlike most of Yosemite's summer hikes, the trail to Ostrander Lake is open during the winter for people to ski through....

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

1.2-1.6 mi

May Lake

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park

8.8 miles NE

May lake is a relatively small lake that rests at the base of Mt. Hoffman in Yosemite National Park. One of the park's most scenic lakes, May lake not only gets up close and personal with...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

Tenaya Lake

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park

9.1 miles NE

Tenaya Lake is one of the most visited destinations in Yosemite National Park. The lake is easily accessed by Highway 120/Tioga Pass road which runs along the north shore of the lake. On the east...

Canoe, Hike, Kayak, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

canoe Canoeing Area

kayak Kayaking Area

0.9-3.2 mi

Cathedral Lakes

Wawona, California

11.2 miles NE

One of the busiest trails in the Tuloumne Meadows area, the hike to Cathedral Lakes is a gorgeous 7 mile walk to the perfect place to rest and recuperate. While there are several High Sierra...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

Elizabeth Lake

Wawona, California

13.6 miles NE

Elizabeth Lake is a gorgeous lake tucked underneath the High Sierras in Yosemite. It's about a 4.8 mile hike to reach it, with an elevation gain of 1000 feet. Even though it's not super long,...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

Glen Aulin

Glen Aulin, California

14.6 miles NE

This trail is a popular route to take in the Yosemite High Country because it is a good introductory hike into the backcountry. At the end of the hike there are several waterfalls as well as a...

Backpack, Camp, Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

backpack Backpacking Trail

0.8-4.1 mi

Dog Lake and Lembert Dome

Yosemite Valley, CA

16.8 miles NE

The hike to Dog Lake is often paired with the hike to Lembert Dome, because the two are so close in proximity. Each hike by itself is 2.8 miles round trip, but Lembert Dome has an elevation gain of...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

Hite Cove Trail

El Portal, California

17.7 miles W

This hike is popular among wildflower enthusiasts. Located in Yosemite National Park, Hite Cove trail is one of the areas that blooms earliest for wildflowers. While areas in the high country...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

4.0 mi

Mono Pass

Yosemite Valley, CA

20.3 miles NE

At an elevation of 10,600 feet, the hike through Mono Pass is an 8 mile journey that takes you across the High Sierras, through several meadows, and stops at a few different lakes along the...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

1.8 mi

Gaylor Lakes

Yosemite Valley, CA

20.8 miles NE

Gaylor Lakes is one of Yosemite's most underrated hikes. It's a 2 mile trail with views the entire way. At various points along the trail, you can see Dana Meadows and the mountains...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

Briceburg Recreation Area

Midpines, California

24.1 miles SW

Camp, Kayak, and Swim near Midpines, California

Camp, Kayak, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

camp Campsite

kayak Kayaking Area

Gods Bath

Phoenix Lake-Cedar Ridge, CA, California

30.6 miles NW

God's Bath swimming hole in the Clavey River is a beautiful and popular location to take a dive in. However, the hike to get there is about one mile of rock climbing. The trailhead begins on...

Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

Hot Creek

Mammoth Lakes, California

40.8 miles E

CLOSED. Entering the water is now prohibited at this location. This note came in 2008:"I noticed your report of swimming in Hot Creek near Bishop, Calif. I was there in 2006 and it was closed to...

Swim

swim Swimming Hole

Mono Hot Springs

Lakeshore, California

42.3 miles SE

Natural hot springs along side of river, swimming places in river. Next to a National Forest campground. With a bit of walking, you can get to more private swimming areas too. There is also a...

Hot Springs, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hot springs Hot Spring

Salinas Area

Lakeshore, California

42.3 miles SE

Multiple swimming holes and jumping places north and south of Salinas off RT 101. For details, see DIRECTIONS below.

Swim

swim Swimming Hole

Smith River Area

Lakeshore, California

42.3 miles SE

East of Crescent City, which is on the extreme northern coast of California, among the giant redwoods are lots of swimming holes in the Middle Fork and South Fork of the...

Swim

swim Swimming Hole

Standish Hickey Area

Lakeshore, California

42.3 miles SE

Standish-Hickey is an inland river canyon that runs along Highway 101 just 180 miles from San Fransisco. It's home to a two-mile stretch of the south fork on Eel River, where many...

Backpack, Camp, Hike, Kayak, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

kayak Kayaking Area

backpack Backpacking Trail

More Similar Arenas Near Merced River:

Swimming Holes Whitewater Rapids Things to Do

Nearby Campsites

Add Location 5.7 mi

Ten Lakes

Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

11.5 miles N

A 6.4 mile hike will lead you to three of the Ten Lakes at Ten Lakes Basin. There are three possible trails to take to see this phenomenon. The shortest begins at Yosemite Creek. The other two...

Backpack, Camp, Hike

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

backpack Backpacking Trail

Crane Flat

Big Oak Flat, Yosemite National Park

11.8 miles W

Crane Flat Campground is a meadow and forest between Tuolumne and Merced Groves of Giant Sequoias. The campground is 30 minutes outside Yosemite Valley, has restrooms and picnic...

Backpack, Camp, Hike, Snowshoe

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

snowshoe Snowshoe Trail

backpack Backpacking Trail

6.0 mi

Glen Aulin

Wawona, California

14.6 miles NE

This is an 11 mile hike along the Tuolumne River to Glen Aulin. There is a view to take in at every turn on this hike, whether it's the Tuolumne River, Tuolumne Fall, Soda Springs,...

Backpack, Camp, Hike

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

backpack Backpacking Trail

Glen Aulin

Glen Aulin, California

14.6 miles NE

This trail is a popular route to take in the Yosemite High Country because it is a good introductory hike into the backcountry. At the end of the hike there are several waterfalls as well as a...

Backpack, Camp, Hike, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

backpack Backpacking Trail

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne County, California

16.0 miles NE

A beautiful alpine meadow found in the upper Sierra Nevada Mountains. Open during the summer, this meadow offers excellent views of nearby granite domes and mountains. There is a roadway through...

Camp, Hike

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

4.0 mi

Saddlebag Lake

Lee Vining, California

23.0 miles NE

A man-made lake found in the Inyo forest, resting at about 10,008 feet above sea level, Saddlebag Lake is located just outside the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite National Park. This lake has some of...

Camp, Canoe, Hike

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

canoe Canoeing Area

Briceburg Recreation Area

Midpines, California

24.1 miles SW

Camp, Kayak, and Swim near Midpines, California

Camp, Kayak, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

camp Campsite

kayak Kayaking Area

Crystal Lake

Mammoth Lakes, California

32.7 miles E

Unlike many hikes in the Sierra's, Crystal lake can be done as a day hike and as the perfect way to get away for a bit. As hikers make their way to the lake, they will see the monolith Crystal...

Camp, Hike

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

Standish Hickey Area

Lakeshore, California

42.3 miles SE

Standish-Hickey is an inland river canyon that runs along Highway 101 just 180 miles from San Fransisco. It's home to a two-mile stretch of the south fork on Eel River, where many...

Backpack, Camp, Hike, Kayak, Swim

swim Swimming Hole

hike Hiking Trail

camp Campsite

kayak Kayaking Area

backpack Backpacking Trail

Wild Willy's Hot Spring

Mammoth Lakes, California

44.8 miles E

Wild Willy's Hot Springs, also known as Crowley Hot Springs, is a spring located in Long Valley. Long Valley is home to one of the highest concentrations of geothermal surface water in...

Camp, Hot Springs

camp Campsite

hot springs Hot Spring

More Campsites Near Merced River:

Campsites

Embed Arena

Where do you plan to embed this code?

<script src="https://www.freearenas.com/embed/a90521227"></script>

Copy
×
loading...

Add an Arena

Just some quick info about this location to get started...

New Collection

Update Review

/5

Edit Your Experience

Log Your Visit to This Location

We've logged that you went. Is there anything else you want to add?

Thank you for your review/comment

We've recorded your comments. Is there anything else you want to add?

By recording your visit on FreeArenas.com, you'll have a collection of all the great places you've been and provide valuable information for yourself and others in the future.

Have you been to this location?

/5
Cancel

Donate to the Cause

We're trying to get people off their couches and off their phones to responsibly enjoy the great outdoors. It takes a lot of work to populate, curate, develop, and market our website and mobile application. Even the smallest contribution can go a long ways towards helping this all happen faster and better. Thank you!