Loma Prieta Paddlers (LPP) is a whitewater kayaking club, based in the South Bay and beyond.  If you are new to kayaking, new to the area or are just  looking for a group of fellow paddlers; check us out.

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The Club
LPP Hosted Races
Paddling Links
Quick Facts
Red Bud to Motel Hole 2.5 miles
Motel Hole to Suspension 6.5 miles
Suspension to Briceburg  xx miles
Class II to IV depending on flows and section of the river.  
400-1200 CFS=Lower flows. Class III+ whitewater.
1200-3000 CFS=Medium flows. Plenty of Class III & IV whitewater.
3000-6000 CFS= Medium- High flows. Challenging Class IV whitewater. Big waves and swift moving water.
Above 6000 CFS=High flows. Fast moving water, with powerful waves and rapids.
Approximately 180 miles from San Jose.  About 3.5 hours drive from San Jose with no traffic.
It takes about 20 minutes to drive between Briceburg and Indian Flat Campground
California Creekin' River Description
LPP Safety Management Plan
Merced River Website

Current Weather

Real-time flow information


Driving Directions

From San Jose to Briceburg it's 180 miles.  With no traffic it takes around 3.5 hours.  Our usual route is:
  • Hwy 101 south to Gilroy.  
  • 152 east through Los Banos
  • Hwy 59 North to Merced
  • Get on 99 S for one exit to Hwy 140 East
  • Stay on Hwy 140 through Mariposa and down the hill to Bricebrug.
The last gas and groceries are in Mariposa.  Cheaper gas is available as you're leaving Merced on Hwy 140.

You know you've reached Briceburg when Hwy 140 reaches the bottom of the canyon and the Merced River.  The highway crosses a bridge over Bear Creek and just before the bridge on your left is a stone building and a gravel road that goes down hill to gravel parking lots.  That's Briceburg!

The club usually stays at the Indian Flat Campground.  It's up Hwy 140 another 10 miles. The campground will be on your right immediately following the Cedar Lodge Motel.  

In the early spring people sometimes stay at the first come first serve BLM sites.  To reach them drive over the bridge at Briceburg and go downstream on the dirt road a mile or two. 

Click on the map for a larger version

Put-in & Take-out

Hwy 140 runs along the entire stretch of the river we run.  This makes the logistics and shuttle pretty easy.  In general, the further upstream you go the more difficult the rapids.  

Briceburg (A on the topo map). Briceburg is the point where Hwy 140 comes down canyon and hits the Merced river.  The highway crosses a bridge over Bear Creek and there is a small stone building on the river side of the road.  Take the short gravel driveway down the hill between the building and the highway to the gravel parking lot, that's Briceburg.  There are porta-potties, but no running water.

Suspension (B on the topo map).  Six miles upstream from Briceburg, suspension is the site of a former suspension bridge.  You can tell you've arrived when you see two large, two story, white wooden buildings across the river.  There is a wide shoulder on the river side of the road for parking and you'll see a short path leading down to a sand and rock beach.  There is nodrinking water or bathrooms at suspension.

Indian Flat Campground (D on the topo map). Four miles upstream from Suspension, just past the large Cedar Lodge Mote, you'll come to Indian Flat campground.  From the campground you can carry your boat across the highway and walk upstream maybe 20 yards and you'll see a small path that goes down to the river.  The alternate put-in is 200 yards up the Highway to a small picnic area.  There is parking here (no charge) and pit toilets.   Both of these put-ins are just upstream from the Motel Hole rapid.

Red Bud (E on the topo map).  A mile or so upstream along Hwy 140 from Indian Flat Campground you'll see a bridge crossing the Merced to your left.  Cross this bridge, do an immediate left and then left again to small gravel loop right next to the bridge.  The put-in is under the bridge and parking along the road just up from the gravel loop.  There are porta-potties here, but no running water.


Click on the topo map for a larger version

Where to Eat

If you're not in the mood to cook dinner at the campground there are just a few choices for dining out.  

Our favorite place for dinner is the Yosemite Bug Hostel.  It's a few miles up the hill on Hwy 140 from Briceburg.  We usually head straight up there for dinner after taking out and relax with a beer on their patio while we wait for the kitchen to be opened at 6:00.  The food and desserts are good, they have several good beers on tap, a great outdoor patio and occasionally live music.

The Cedar Lodge, right next door to the campground has a dining room and the Yosemite View Lodge, upstream on Hwy 140 five miles or so has two dining rooms, one fancier and one casual.  You can also head all the way up the hill into Mariposa.

Other than the small store at the Cedar Lodge there are no supplies to be purchased along the river.           

River Map