Guest Post: Swimming in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful places in California. I used to go as a child every year up until I was 14 and it was easily one of my favorite places to visit. I hadn’t gone since until 3 years ago when I went with my family to show them how beautiful and amazing Yosemite really is.


Photo Credit

My family and I stayed in the upper pines camp grounds which is conveniently located less than a 5 minutes walk from the Merced River. In fact, once we entered the river we were next to this beautiful bridge:

Although this area wasn’t the great to swim in, it provided a nice place to cool off. So when we were ready to start some real fun and swimming in the Merced we moved down another couple of minutes.

Now, one thing you need to know about the Merced is that it is a river that is formed entirely from the melting snow of the Yosemite peaks so it’s really cold.

For some it may be too cold, but my family found it extremely refreshing even though it was just in the Spring (it gets a lot warmer in the Summer).

In the river there are little minnows and some crayfish. When I was a little girl my family would actually go to the river to hunt them and have a nice dinner, but they have been overhunted and are a lot more rare in the rivers.

However, we were lucky enough to not see just one, but two. My 2 little boys had a blast trying to chase them down in the river. Even though the crayfish are faster swimmers they tend to swim in short bursts and then hide, but my boys were able to find them.

Eventually, I joined them in the water, and with the help of a milk jug cut with to let the water flow through we were able to catch one of the 2 crawdads. My sons played around with it until eventually getting bored and letting it go. They originally wanted me to cook it for them but I said no to preserve the already depleted crayfish population (and it’s actually illegal!).

After a quick lunch and putting some stuff away we decided to blow up our rafts and go down the Merced. As we floated down the river we would eat snacks, swim in the river, and look at the tons of trees and meadows in Yosemite. It is definitely one of the most relaxing things to do in Yosemite.

Most of the time we are able to just float down in the river without having to paddle, but sometimes we would break out the errors when we wanted to race (there were 2 rafts). Other times we go over such shallow rock beds we have to get out and drag the raft.

Although this part is really tiring I can definitely say it’s great exercise. After a few miles of rafting the river closes off to the public and people are not allowed past a certain point. Fortunately, we were already sufficiently tired and hungry.

We deflated the rafts, got on a bus, and took it back to our camp ground to call it a day.

Concluding The Day

Swimming at Yosemite is nice because there are a TON of different kinds of people from all over the world. There are people from all over the US, as well as from other countries such as Britain and France. My sons were able to meet a diverse set of people, but more importantly my family had a blast in Yosemite.

They were able to see the beautiful spot I had spent much of my childhood in and got to appreciate nature (which is quite rare!). If you’re ever in California and looking to spend some quality time with nature then I encourage you to check out Yosemite National Park.

About the Author

Laurie is a proud mother of 2 and home owner with a pool. Her 2 favorite hobbies include hiking and swimming. You can find her informative blog here