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Kayaking and Canoeing the Merced River

Paddling in Yosemite can be easily characterized with just one word—spectacular!

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Merced River is the most popular place for paddling in Yosemite Valley. As the current guides your canoe and kayak down the river, the stunning views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls will open on your way.

Most of the river within Yosemite Valley is available for kayakers, and its straight and quiet stretches are ideal for a slow, relaxed pace. Though some of its sections have more intense currents and rocky shallows that may be challenging even for experienced paddlers. It is important to remember that whenever you kayak in Yosemite, you are required to wear a life vest.

The best months for kayaking on the Merced River are between May and September, but in some years the river can go low by mid-August.

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