Rafting the Rio Grande, New Mexico
The Rio Grande derives its whitewaters from the mighty peaks of San Juan in southern Colorado. With this prolific supply, the river offers one of the best whitewater rafting trips in the south west. Apart from the spine chilling rapids, it also contains diverse wildlife stock and superb fishing spots for anglers.
Rio Grande means “Big River” in Spanish and its rafting trips are broadly divided into two sections- the Taos Box and the Racecourse Run. The Rio Grande Gorge is an 800 foot deep valley and the historic landscapes are a treat to the eyes. A 17 mile trail across this abyss twists dangerously in a quick fashion that pumps adrenaline into the hearts of rafters. The Taos Box section is marked by abrupt drops and rapids such as Dead Car, Pinball, Buzz Saw, The Cleaver, Boat Reamer, Punk Rock and Sunset. For its picturesque beauty, abundant wildlife and a rich natural and cultural history, Tao Box section of the Rio Grande was accorded National Wild and Scenic status in 1968. Just above the Taos Box lies the Ute Mountain Run with milder streams amidst a wide lava rock plain. The Taos Box section is clogged with boulders and the stretch is recommended for experienced rafters.
The Racecourse Run trails across five miles and offers Class III action for adventurers. This section is more suited for families and larger groups than the Taos Box. The Racecourse Run is also the site for the Annual Mother’s Day celebrations and races organized by the Adobe Whitewater Club of New Mexico. The milder stretches offer a wonderful view to the wildlife of the Rio Grande Canyon. Birds like eagles, falcons, owls, geese and mergansers are a common sight here. It also features some gentler rapids which offer a nice break from simple floating.
The Rio Grande rafting seasons starts in mid- April and continues all the way to October. Mid April to June is the most popular time with adventurers as melting snow enlarges the river volume, making the whitewaters ideal for adventure sports.