Experience two of Yosemite National Park’s rivers for a thrilling whitewater rafting adventure. OARS California runs 1-day rafting trips on the Merced and 1- to 3-day trips on the Tuolumne near Yosemite National Park. Both the Merced River and Tuolumne River flow out of the park, offering class III and IV rapids.
Merced River Rafting near Yosemite
For a day trip, go with OARS down the Merced River, a fun, rollercoaster of rapids with a break for lunch.
Tuolumne River Rafting near Yosemite
For a multi-day trip, raft the Tuolumne, one of the best whitewater rafting experiences in the country, says Steve Markle, a spokesman for OARS. Only two commercial trips are allowed down the nearly continuous stretch of class IV rapids per day, making for a remote and pristine experience. Along the way, you’ll stop to do some hikes, explore an abandoned mine and play beach games.
“You are literally laughing like a kid bouncing through the rapids, and there are not many activities that evoke that kind of response,” Markle says. “Even if you fall out of the boat, it’s a story you’ll tell for the rest of your life.”
Depending on water flows, OARS has minimum age requirements for each trip.
Rafting Clothing List
Don’t miss the boat on what to bring on your summer rafting adventure. Here are some tips from Steve Markle of OARS for your day on the river.
These include a rain jacket and a warm top layer for cool mornings and cold river water.
Be sure to bring water sandals with a secure strap or an old pair of sneakers. Don’t bring flip-flops. Flip-flops will fall off and float down the river.
Quick-Dry Shorts and Shirt
Avoid wearing cotton clothing while rafting since it does not dry as fast as synthetic materials and can make you chilly.
Sunglasses with a Strap
Without a strap to keep your sunglasses attached to you, you should be ready to say goodbye to them. Even gentle rolling river waves can send your sunglasses into the river.
Hat with a Brim and Sunscreen
Don’t get burned while on the river.
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