Merced River Trail

California

Merced River Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Mariposa
Length: 13.1 miles
Trail end points: Briceburg Visitor Center on Central Yosemite Hwy./SR 140 (Briceburg) and Golden Chain Hwy/SR 49 bridge (Bagby)
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6132424
Trail activities: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Register for Free with TrailLink Today!

View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
Share your trail photos
Save Your Favorite Trails
Find New Trails Near You
Leave reviews for trails
Submit new trails to our site
Register Now

Merced River Trail Description

The Merced River Trail is an ungroomed, mostly dirt trail that follows the unshaded banks of the Merced River within the Merced River Recreation Area. Ideal for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking, the trail offers many stunning overlooks and great natural scenery.

Approximately half of the route, once the Yosemite Valley Railroad grade, is shared with infrequent automobile traffic from the Briceburg Visitor Center to the Railroad Flat Campground. To the west, the trail is limited to non-motorized traffic. Two other campgrounds—Willow Placer and McCabe Flat—are accessible from the shared trail and road.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Merced River Trail is available at the Briceburg Visitor Center. Daily parking is free, but a camping fee of $10 per night applies at any of the three campgrounds. Restrooms are available at the campgrounds.

To reach the Briceburg Visitor Center from Merced, travel east on State Route 140 for approximately 36 miles to the town of Mariposa, then travel 12 miles north on SR 140 to Briceburg. The visitor center will be on the left.

Merced River Trail Reviews

05/28/2016 Unshaded - Yes; limited.
Tons of sticker bushes - 5 varieties.
Challenging - Meh; Mostly flat with small inclines.
Watch for gopher/varmint holes.

Was easy to find on the Briceburg side. This trail was enjoyable, mostly. Bring your non-cloth hiking boots/shoes or wind up with "Bullet Ant" shoes.

The best part? The "rock fairy" a nice gentleman named Eric. Was very informative about geology.

Next trip is hike upstream, raft down stream.

Went looking for this trail from the Bagby end but nothing!! I went off of the directions given in this website. The directions say that If you're driving south on Hwy 49 you will see Pinetree Rd and then continue onto French Rd.

I never saw either one. There are no street signs for Pinetree Rd or French Rd off of Hwy 49. I drove the area twice. Others bicyclists looking for the same trail had difficulty as well. If somebody could assist I would really appreciate it. I'd like to find this trail....Thanks.

What a fun ride. The scenery is beautiful all throughout the bike ride. We started out at the Briceburg entrance and rode in 11 miles til the soil got really sandy and it was tough to ride. Great workout and lots of challenges mountain biking over rocks. Did had to get off the bikes and walk them over some rocks but it was part of the fun experience. Will definitely do it again and recommend it to anyone who likes beautiful scenery, a good workout and a challenge.

Accordion

Unattended trail loose shale rock and sand, trail is hard to follow at the bagby end. bagby toward Brisburg first 3 miles a lot of picking up your bike and carry, very dry area no shade it`s more of a cows trail. Brisburg end a little better the waterfall is nice about midways on trail, a few down trees to cross, not a summer ride.

We just came back (4/20/13) from a Spring trip to see wildflowers.We took 140 to Briceburg where we crossed a quaint bridge to the other side of the river.

We drove downstream along the former railway about 5 miles to Railroad Flat where we camped in our van RV. The dirt road to the BLM campground is good ($10, first come first server- no reservations). At Railroad Flat is a gate, letting walkers and cyclists through. We had mountain bikes and could ride down another 2-3 miles before rock slides across the old rail bed made us ditch our bikes.

We hiked downstream to the confluence of the North Fork and a mile or two up that fork. We saw plenty of wildflowers though we found out we were about 2 weeks late.

The Merced River was a little high from spring melt in the mountains. A little later, lots of whitewater rafting trips float down the river.

Intrepid hikers could cross the North Fork )site of former trestle) and continue down stream to Bagby for about 16 miles total.

The next day we drove up to Hite's Cove Trail and enjoyed another lovely hike, this one more rugged.

Merced River Trail is great for hiking and mountain bikes. The old RR grade continues to El Portal though it is washed out in many places.

March 21-April 21 is best time to visit before it gets too hot and dry.

The south end of the trail is nearly impassable. The banks have washed out and covered the trail with loose scree. The only remnant of the trail is a 6 inch wide single track with a severe drop off to the river bed. We are reasonably accomplished mountain bikers but only made it 2 miles up the trail before turning around. "Mountain Biking Norther California's Best 100 Trails" by Fragnoli and Stuart listed the trail as "Easy". I guess that was a few high water years ago.

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Yosemite Valley Trails

California - 7.5 miles

Nestled within Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley's seven square miles contain probably more scenic beauty per acre than can be found anywhere in...

West Side Rails (Tuolumne City to North Fork/ Tuolumne River)

California - 5.5 miles

Tucked away in the sparsely populated Tuolumne County, this portion of the Stanislaus National Forest's Westside Rails is a hidden treasure, combining...

West Side Rails (Hull Creek to Clavey River)

California - 9 miles

If you're looking for quiet solidarity amid the beautiful, rugged scenery of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this trail is for you. The Hull Creek...

Accordion

Black Rascal Creek Bikeway

California - 4.5 miles

The Black Rascal Creek Bikeway follows the course of the small waterway through residential neighborhoods on the north side of Merced. The trail...

Bear Creek Bikeway

California - 3.6 miles

The Bear Creek Bikeway parallels scenic Bear Creek just north of downtown Merced. The path grants access to the zoo at Applegate Park and amenities...

Sugar Pine Railway - Strawberry Branch

California - 5.04 miles

For more than 50 years in the early 1900s, the Sugar Pine Railway operated steam trains to haul logs along the Stanislaus River for the Standard...

Vernon McCullough Fresno River Trail

California - 3.4 miles

The Vernon McCullough Fresno River Trail runs along the dry river in Madera, offering a recreation and transportation amenity for the city's residents...

Lewis S. Eaton Trail

California - 5.9 miles

The Lewis S. Eaton Trail is the backbone of the growing trail network central to the planned 22-mile San Joaquin River Parkway. The main trail...

Lakes Basin Path

California - 5.2 miles

The Lakes Basin Path is a stunningly gorgeous trail that stretches from downtown Mammoth Lakes to a series of lakes to the community's south....

Sugar Pine Trail

California - 4 miles

Community support has been integral to the creation of the Sugar Pine Trail and Clovis Old Town Trail, two adjoining rail-trails that link the...

Dry Creek Trail (Modesto)

California - 6 miles

The paved Dry Creek Trail begins near downtown Modesto and meanders east through a series of neighborhood parks along Dry Creek. The pathway features...

Dry Creek Trail (Clovis)

California - 2.5 miles

The Dry Creek Trail is a mostly level, shady trail that follows its namesake creek in Clovis. The western trailhead connects with the Clovis Old Town...

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews
OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!
OR