Yosemite Whitewater Rafting

A comparison of three California rivers closest to Yosemite National Park


A visit to California isn't complete without experiencing Yosemite National Park and the glories of the High Sierra. Everyone knows about Yosemite's famous waterfalls, but the area is also home to some of California's best whitewater rivers. The Merced River flows right through the park before becoming a whitewater run further downstream, and the Tuolumne and Cherry Creek are two of the state's most spectacular rafting trips. All three rivers are within a 3.5 hour drive of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Merced River

Merced River Rafting

Location:
35 miles west off Yosemite
Valley off Hwy 140

Level of Difficulty
Intermediate Class III-IV

Trip Options
1-Day Trips
(April - July)

Usual Minimum Age
12 years old

More about the Merced

The Merced River flows through the Park in cascading waterfalls before gathering strength to create memorable roller-coaster-like Class III-IV rapids downstream.

Complete Merced
River Rafting Details

Tuolumne River

Tuolumne River Rafting

Location:
40 miles west of Yosemite
Valley off Hwy 120

Level of Difficulty
Int. - Advanced Class IV+

Trip Options
1-Day, 2-Day and 3-Day Trips
(April - September)

Usual Minimum Age
13 years old

More about the Tuolumne

The Tuolumne River showcases what's best about rafting near Yosemite Valley: a beautiful Sierra Foothill canyon and challenging Class IV+ whitewater.

Complete Tuolumne
River Rafting Details

Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek Rafting

Location:
40 miles west of Yosemite
Valley off Hwy 120

Level of Difficulty
Advanced Class V

Trip Options
1-Day Trips, Multiday Combos
(July - September)

Usual Minimum Age
17 years old

More about Cherry Creek

Class V rafting right outside Yosemite National Park - many say that no other commercial river trip in the United States is more challenging than Cherry Creek.

Complete Cherry
Creek Rafting Details

Also see:

If you need help deciding which Yosemite whitewater rafting trip is most appropriate for you or your group, don't hesitate to contact us at (800) 247-2387.

NEXT STEP: Check Availability

Option One: Find out right away


  • Call (800) 247-2387 and find out NOW if your trip is available.
  • Office Hours:
    Mon - Fri: 9am - 6pm
    Sat - Sun: 9am - 2pm

Option Two: Find out in a day


  • Fill out our Space Availability Form and we will respond in one business day or less.
  • Daytime response can be less than an hour!