Merced, S. Fork - 0.5) Gravelly Ford to Wawona

Merced, S. Fork, California, US


0.5) Gravelly Ford to Wawona (Headwaters)

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level

River Description

With the new Merced River plan adopted in 2015, boaters can register and get wilderness permits to run the SF Merced inside Yosemite National Park above Wawona. There should be several parking areas available for overnight parking.  Check with the park service for directions.  This sections from the headwaters of the South Fork Merced River is limited to 25 people per day.  Boating is not permited on the Wawona impoundment, a small diversion above the Swinging Bridge. 

Put in: From Wawona drive south through the park entrance station to Fish Camp. From Fish Camp, take the Jackson Rd to Big Sandy Campground and on to Fresno Dome.  From there take Sky Ranch Road to its end at the Chiquito Pass trailhead.  It will probably take at least an hour from Fish Camp.  Following the trail it is less than 2 miles to the river with a drop of about 900 feet.  The climb to Chiquito Pass is less than 100 feet elevation gain.

Permit Information

Contact Yosemite National Park to get a Wilderness permit and to register to boat this section of river.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-07-19 23:52:41


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
7.0Wawona ImpoundmentN/APortage

Rapid Descriptions

Wawona Impoundment (Class N/A, Mile 7.0)

Due to municipal water intake, the area above Swinging Bridge is closed to boaters and boats must be removed prior to reaching the water intake. Boaters are required to portage this section of river starting 100 yards upstream of the impoundment down to the Swinging Bridge.  The portage is easily done by following a trail along river right.

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Associated Projects

  • Yosemite Whitewater (CA)
    AW advocates for opportunities to enjoy the unique and spectacular rivers of Yosemite National Park.