Submitted by: Michelle Hansen, Inventory Coordinator
Yosemite Valley is the most popular destination for park visitors and can feel less like wilderness and more like suburbia in the summer months. However, you can enjoy all the sights of Yosemite Valley at a leisurely pace and experience a different type of traffic when you raft the Merced River. By summer, the river has calmed from its rushing winter snow run-off pace and provides a slow-moving and sunny course to travel the length of the valley. You get a unique perspective of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, as well as sandy beaches for swimming and picnicking on the banks of the river.
Bring your own raft and put in at Stoneman Bridge in Curry Village for a three mile trip down the Merced River. Take-out at the Yellow Pine Campground provides parking to transport your raft back to Valley lodging or campgrounds. Don't own a raft? You can rent a raft from DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite at the Curry Village Recreation Center for a fee of $28.50 per adult and $23.50 per child which includes a four-person raft, personal flotation devices, paddles and a return shuttle trip to Curry Village. Rafting access usually begins in late May and can last through August, depending on water levels. The Curry Village Recreation Center is located at shuttle stop #13A.
Tips for the River
Prepare for a day in the sun with sunscreen, a sun hat and plenty of water. Wear water shoes for launching and wading, and don't forget to pack out all trash. Bring your camera with a waterproof case - you'll want to remember the spectacular views of Yosemite Valley from your ride on the river.