The Merced River is designated a Wild and Scenic River and is a popular recreation area along Highway 140. The main fork flows through steep river canyons from Yosemite National Park into Sierra National Forest. The South Fork flows from high in the Sierras, through Wawona, down into Hites Cove. This area is known for its spectacular early spring wildflower displays. Activities include camping, swimming, whitewater rafting, hiking, fishing, and picnicking. Provides excellent whitewater with Class III and IV rapids. Rafting season is usually from late April to August depending on river runoff. To get there, take Hwy 41 north from Fresno to Oakhurst. At Oakhurst take Hwy 49 west to Mariposa. At Mariposa, take Hwy 140 north to the Merced River. The Merced River is 1/2 hour drive from Mariposa. Note: Temporary bridges along the Ferguson rock slide on Hwy 140 limit vehicle length to 28 feet. No overnight camping or fires except in designated areas.