Bureau of Land Management National Park Service US Fish and Wildlife Service US Forest Service

Merced River, California

Managing Agency:

Bureau of Land Management, Mother Lode Field Office
National Park Service, Yosemite National Park
U.S. Forest Service, Sierra National Forest

Designated Reach:

November 2, 1987 and October 23, 1992. From its source (including Red Peak Fork, Merced Peak Fork, Triple Peak Fork, and Lyle Fork) in Yosemite National Park to a the normal maximum operating pool (water surface level) of Lake McClure (elevation 867 feet mean sea level). The South Fork from its source in Yosemite National Park to the confluence with the main stem.


Wild — 71.0 miles; Scenic — 16.0 miles; Recreational — 35.5 miles; Total — 122.5 miles.

Merced River

Merced River

From its source on the south side of Mt. Lyell at 13,114 feet, through a glacially carved canyon within Yosemite National Park, the river flows downstream to Lake McClure Reservoir. Including the South Fork, the Merced flows through exceptional scenery—glaciated peaks, lakes, alpine and subalpine meadows—in alternating pools and cascades. Wildflower displays are spectacular. The South Fork possesses one of the few remaining pristine Sierra fisheries with self-sustaining populations of rainbow, eastern brook, and brown trout. Archeology and wildlife are also noteworthy.