Merced, California, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||40 fpm|
|Max Gradient||63 fpm|
|MERCED R A POHONO BRIDGE NR YOSEMITE CA|
|usgs-11266500||400 - 2400 cfs||III-IV||11h00m||761 cfs (running)|
|Range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow paddlers by providing a comment or report.|
Yosemite Valley is one of the most beautiful places to boat, but it is even a bit nicer when you
can do a bit of surfing in view of El Capitan or Bridalveil Falls. In the upstream
valley float trip to El Cap Meadows, one can relax and just stare up at the cliffs.
Below El Cap, boaters get to enjoy one of the most fun sections on the entire Merced
The run starts off meandering through El Capitan Meadow, then gradually picks up some gradient. Much of the distance contains long class 2 and class 3 rapids, but at the very end are several class 4 rapids. Most of the rapids tend to be quite long and busy, yet fairly easy. It is very different than most of the rapids on the main Merced below El Portal.
If you boat all the way to the highway 120/ 140 junction there is one last rapid that is probably class 5, but most boaters on this section will take out a ways before that rapid. The road is near to the river over most of the distance so boaters may take out at any point. Scout carefully and choose the access points that look the best to you.
When accessing the river or stopping along the way, do your best to stay on the rocks, gravel or sand, so you don't trample the streamside vegetation.
Hassles: At present park rules prohibit boating on this section, even though
it is an extremely nice section of river for boating. See this link;
Yosemite Water Activities - for
park rules on when and where you can boat. Since it is such a nice section,
whitewater boaters should lobby the park to make it legal to boat here. We do
not know how strict enforcement may be, but in the past, boating this section was fairly common.
Yosemite search and rescue holds annual whitewater training on this section
in the spring.
Other Information Sources:
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Water Activities
Merced & SF Merced Planning Process:
The Merced River Plan process is still accepting public comments. Boaters should write comments about which sections of the river and tributaries that they like to boat on and want to boat on. Describe what the experience is like and how it fits into your appreciation and understanding of Yosemite.
Merced River Plan- Public scoping open! till Feb 4, 2010
Merced & South Fork Merced River Draft Outstandingly Remarkable Values Report (1.3 MB, PDF file)
Comment forms [772 kb PDF]
Submit comments electronically to the Yosemite National Park Service planning team at
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||El Capitan Meadow Bridge||N/A|
There is quite a bit of parking in this area. The river is flat for almost a mile providing plenty of opportunity to enjoy the tremendous views. Elevation is 3955 feet.
The first rapid is the longest of the whole run, dropping 30 feet over 1/3 of a mile.
My recollection is that there is a good set of rapids running under this bridge. The gauge is located at this bridge also.
The last one or two rapids are much bigger and out of character with the rest of the run. Most boaters will want to take out before these rapids. Scout this area carefully before you launch on the river. I remember thinking the final rapid was class 5, but there may have been logs in it as well. Seems like the second to last rapid was class 4. These memories are from boating them in a long pointy boat, so judge accordingly.
No CommentsUsers can submit comments.
Merced River Plan Suggestions Needed by Feb 4, 2010
January 19, 2010
ACTION ALERT–Help to open Yosemite to boating!
February 8, 2013
Paddling in Yosemite–Comments Due April 18th
April 2, 2013