Merced River Rafting, Fishing, Camping and More

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Updated 6/28/2020

The main fork of the great Merced River flows through Yosemite Valley, making it a scenic destination for sight-seeing, swimming, fishing, river rafting, and picnicking during the summer season. The Merced River is also a popular choice for day hiking in the wintertime due to its low elevation and easy accessibility. 



The mellow waters of the Merced River create a relaxing environment for a day fishing the local catch. Fishing is allowed along the main fork from late April through mid-November under the following conditions:

  • For all species, only fish over 12 inches or larger may be caught. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 
  • The daily fishing limit is 0 rainbow trout and 5 brown trout per day, and a possession limit of 10 brown trout. Catch and release is encouraged at all times due to conservation concerns. 
  • Visitors to Yosemite aged 16 years and above must carry a valid California fishing license, which are available at the Mountain Shop at Curry Village and the Wawona Store in Wawona. 

Check out the current fishing regulations at and

River Rafting

There are two main areas for river rafting along the Merced River: in Yosemite Valley where the waters are calmer and more beginner-friendly, and outside the park where the waters can be more intense depending on the water conditions and time of year. 

Within the park, rafting is a fantastic way to leisurely view some of Yosemite’s most famous sights including El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls. Be sure to have a waterproof camera ready for endless photo opportunities. 

While many rafting tours are available, one can easily bring their own rafting supplies. Many of our homes provide these items, so feel free to ask while making your reservation. 

Camping and Lodging 

If you’re looking for traditional camping accommodations, overnight camping sites are available along the north side of Merced River’s main fork. These sites feature toilets, barbecues, and areas for picnicking. 


To experience the magic of log cabin homes suitable for groups of all sizes, consider staying with Scenic Wonders. Our 125 cabin homes and condominiums are located throughout Yosemite West, Wawona, Bass Lake and Fish Camp, providing convenient access to Merced River and Yosemite’s other must-see sites. Check out our properties or give us a call at 1-888-YOSEMITE (1-888-967-3648) to learn more. 

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