White Water Rafting Go Here for Zephyr Whitewater's Yosemite Whitewater Special!!  You WILL love it!
Slow Rafting

This is the lazy, drift-rafting you can do on the valley floor.  Not much excitement here, but it's a nice diversion.  It's way too expensive, though, in my opinion.  To rent a raft they require two adults, and if you bring a child, the total is $38.00 for a 1-1/2 hour ride down the river.  Yes, you can stop along the way and have a picnic lunch and hang out, but still...

Adults $13.50 each
Children (over 50lbs.) $11.00 each 
(2001 prices)


THIS is real rafting!

Whitewater rafting is too much fun to describe, especially when you have experienced guides and schleps to do all the heavy lifting, cooking and cleaning.  When compared to the pale experience of floating down the lazy Merced River in the valley, white water rafting is one of the most incredible thrills you can imagine. WOW!!  It's something you will NEVER forget!! And, yes, there is a degree of risk, but no more so than driving the roads in and out of Yosemite Valley.  In my younger days I had a roommate who lived for whitewater.  I went with him many times, and frequently we had some REAL white, fast water.  I was scared only once and they let me portage. (walk around)   I fell out once and got caught in a tumbler, but I did what they teach you to do and came out of it fine. FUNNN!

If you have the time, try Kayaking!  It is SO much fun!!  Obviously, you should take lessons, but MAN is it fun!  Be careful, because once you get the hang of it, they'll have to pull you off the river kicking and screaming.  I was dating a woman once who had never been rafting, and I took her on one of my trips with Jeff.  To make a long story short, I guess she's still on the river, 'cause she got the bug and hooked up with the hard-core rafting crowd and, well, I'm married to someone else now.


This is a class 4 stretch of the Merced River which flows out of Yosemite Valley.


There are about 6 rivers between Fresno and Sacramento that are a blast to run.  The younger kids should avoid the Merced out of Yosemite.  It has some stretches that are narrow, hair-raising 3's and 4's.  The Kings is very wide and although can get fast and tricky, is most always navigable around the hairy spots.


The Kings River in mid-summer when the water level has lowered and it's not as fast.  But still very fun for smaller kids and those with a weak heart!


Fun on the Merced River!

Below is a series of shots taken during a lunch stop.  The food is astoundingly delicious!  With the excitement, exhilaration, wet clothes and big appetites, it's just a wonderful party of great people and breathtaking scenery.

Zephyr Whitewater put together a lunch that was incredible.  All-you-can-eat fresh fruit and sandwich buffet that was totally out of this world. They have their own vegetable garden!!! Also, the dinners have been written up in the food sections of the Modesto Bee and Fresno Bee newspapers!  A professional chef and past-owner of a catering company prepare all the wonderful meals.


Is that not the most mouth-watering spread you've ever seen?  Keep in mind, that what you see in this picture is fresh, garden ripened tomatoes, melons, grapes, onions and fruit ALL locally grown (San Joaquin Valley) and picked probably no earlier than 36 hours previous to this picture being taken.  Those vine-ripened tomatoes were grown in Zephyr's own vegetable garden and will bring tears to your eyes they're so good. Nectarines, peaches and melons are grown on farms less than 10 miles away (as the crows flies).


Smoked ham and turkey breast, salami, roast beef, different kinds of cheese, different breads, condiments as well as peanut-butter-and-jelly for quick energy...  Drinks on ice in the ice chest...



It's a feeding frenzy...


During lunch break you can take a short walk up the shore of the river, or doze...  enjoy the scenery...  get to know other rafters...


Towards the end of the day...


A wonderful time was had by all!


Your capable guides from Zephyr Whitewater!

All these companies have been in business a long time and know what they are doing:

Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions 209-532-6249 or in California 800 431-3636  These guys are excellent.  Click on the link for all you need to know about white water in California.  They run the Merced out of Yosemite and the Kings River east of Fresno, among others.

Kings River Expeditions 209-233-4881  As the name implies, they are experts on the Kings River, just south and east of Fresno.  I have run this river, and it is excellent.  Good for kids.  It'll give you a very good ride; it is very wide, and not particularly risky.  Has a few slow stretches, but runs fast, or at least quick most of the time.  It's a long drive from Fresno; you have to go all the way to the far end of Pine Flat Lake to the debarkation point, which is a long, long winding road along the shore of Pine Flat.

Mariah Wilderness Expeditions. 800-462-7424.  Merced, American,  Kings and Tuolumne Rivers.


(Many thanks to Zephyr Whitewater for the photos and the trip!)