California Whitewater Rafting with WET River Trips


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Camping and Hotels near the Merced River

Most people rafting the Merced River stay either in Mariposa, Midpines or Yosemite National Park. Each area has its own appeal, and all are convenient to rafting as well as Yosemite. Since Yosemite is often crowded seven days a week during the summer months, many rafters opt to lodge elsewhere and drive to the park for day hikes and tours.

Lodging in Mariposa, Midpines, and Yosemite

Mariposa - Located at the junction of highways 140 and 49, this small town has plenty of hotels and accomodations ranging from inexpensive roadside motels to luxury vacation rentals. There are a multitude of shops, restaurants, and bars for evening entertainment.

Midpines - A short drive east on highway 140 takes you to a family-owned gas station, a shopping complex (where you can view your rafting trip photos), and the Yosemite Bug, the hostel preferred by most river guides. Blink and you'll miss it, but Midpines actually has a lot to offer.

Yosemite Bug - Midpines - This hostel attracts a crowd looking for a beer, burger, and an inexpensive place to stay. "The Bug" as it's called by kayakers and guides alike, is a great place to hang out, meet new people, and kick back after a day of rafting.

Yosemite National Park - Despite crowds and traffic, many rafters choose to stay in Yosemite simply for the splendor and the easy access to hiking trails and waterfalls. The Ahwahnee Hotel and the Yosemite Lodge are the most famous and luxurious places to stay, but camping and other accomodations are available. Make reservations well in advance because they fill up quickly!

Ahwahnee Hotel - Yosemite - Famous for hosting weddings and being booked months in advance, the Grand Ahwahnee lives up to its name and its reputation. Beautiful rooms, elegant dining, and spectacular views make it popular.

Camping - There are 13 campgrounds in Yosemite, all owned and operated by the park. Many are available up to five months in advance.

High Sierra Camps - Canvas tent cabins, hot showers, and magnificent views of the valley make these camps very difficult to reserve. To become one of the lucky campers, put your name into the lottery between October 15 and November 30.

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Disclaimer: River descriptions and classifications may change due to natural events that may create new hazards or flows. C-W-R advises that any paddler that uses this site be additionally informed by seeking out local news and updates for changes on this river.

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