Rafting, Boating, and Water Activities at Yosemite

First formed by the actions of mighty glaciers, Yosemite’s astonishing scenery is also the result of many millennia of the weathering actions of wind and water.

Today, rivers and lakes are some of the park’s biggest attractions, especially for swimmers and paddlers of canoes and kayaks. For thrilling white-water action, venture outside the park boundaries, especially along the mighty Merced River.

Wherever you go play in the water, remember to drink plenty of water and slap on the sunscreen. Wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and river sandals with good traction should also help make your experience an enjoyable one. Consider leaving your digital camera behind in your car or hotel room and buy a waterproof disposable camera instead.

Swimming and Paddling on the east end of Tenaya Lake. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

7 Top Ways to Get Wet in Yosemite

Stay cool in summer by swimming, rafting, fishing, tubing, and more in and around Yosemite. Read More...

Houseboat on California Lake

California Houseboating with Forever Resorts

Boat and stay on Lake Oroville, Lake Don Pedro, Lake Berryessa, and Trinity Lake. Read More...


California Rafting with Zephyr Whitewater

Half- and full-day guided whitewater rafting trips on the Merced River minutes from Yosemite. Read More...

Rafting on the Merced River. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Enjoy the Merced River in Yosemite National Park

The Merced River carves its own waterways through Yosemite National Park, and is great for rafting, kayaking, and wading. Read More...

Rafting the Tuolumne River on the western edge of Yosemite National Park. Photo by James Kaiser courtesy of O.A.R.S.

O.A.R.S Whitewater River Rafting Trips at Yosemite National Park

O.A.R.S California runs 1-day trips on the Merced and 1- to 3-day trips on the Tuolumne near Yosemite National Park Read More...

Polly Dome (left) and Medlicott Dome (center) bordering Tenaya Lake in Yosemite.

Paddle Tenaya Lake in Yosemite

Paddle across glistening Tenaya Lake off Tioga Road. Its azure waters are surrounded by lofty granite peaks, evergreen conifer trees, and rock outcroppings. Read More...

Rafting the Merced River with OARS. Courtesy photo

Raft the Merced & Tuolumne Rivers

Some of the most exciting rivers for whitewater rafting in California flow from the High Sierra in Yosemite National Park. Read More...


Rafting in Surrounding Regions of Yosemite

The most exciting white-water in the Sierra Nevada rushes outside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, a half-day’s drive south of Yosemite. Read More...