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Rio Chama River

The Rio Chama, a major tributary of the Rio Grande, in Northern New Mexico, flows through a multi-colored sandstone canyon whose walls grow to 1,500 feet. The river runs through areas that are designated as wilderness or as wilderness study areas. Towering cliffs, heavily wooded side canyons, and historical sites offer an outstanding wild river backdrop for the angler or float boater, who can enjoy two or three day trips on Class II rapids on the entire 31-mile segment.

Rio Chama River RaftingCo-managed by BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, the Rio Chama, designated ‘Wild and Scenic’® by Congress in 1988, offers the perfect family weekend, with something for everyone, paddling, trout fishing, hiking, exploring dinosaur tracks, simply relaxing in the shade, or stretching out in the warm sun of the New Mexico wilderness, the Rio Chama winds quietly through pinon pine forests and desert scenery. A unique blend of wilderness and living history, the Rio Chama flows serenely by the adobe buildings of the monastery, Church of the Desert, and then slips quietly back into its wild canyons. The scenery is classic, these are the landscapes made popular by the artist Georgia O’Keeffe. The warm climate and easy pace make this a perfect trip for families or beginner kayakers.

Rio ChamaThe Rio Chama is an easy float trip in full or multi-day rafting formats. This Jewel of the desert meanders through spectacular southwestern landscapes and serene wilderness as she courses her way south to join her sister the Rio Grande. The Rio Chama is run in either full day (approx 5 hrs) or multi-day formats (2&3 day). Full day trips run the river as it comes out of the wilderness section of the canyon and passes into a basin filled with grand wide open vistas and mild class II rapids. Multi-day trips start up near the town of Chama, NM and floats through 33 miles of heavily forest river canyon with stunning soaring sandstone walls highlighted in the pastels of desert color. Multi-day float trips are our guides favorites and the reason we started outfitting in the first place, taking a few days to explore this river canyon is truly worth the time and an excellent family experience that you will remember for a lifetime. New Mexico River Adventures supplies all the necessary equipment and meals for a multi-day float trip for your group or family to be truly comfortable.

The Trips

Rio Chama Live Well Retreat

New Mexico River Adventures latest trip is a gorgeous 3-day wellness retreat including meditation, yoga, top-tier food, and scenic views on the Rio Chama.

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Rio Chama 3 Day

This is the signature multi-day rafting trip in New Mexico. Due to regularly scheduled releases from El Vado Resevior, we are able to enjoy this incredible canyon and three day rafting trip, most weeks from April through August. We raft 33 mile section of river outside of the the alpine town of Tierra Amarilla, NM. The trip consists of a float through the stunning and colorful sandstone and limestone walls of this amazing canyon and finishing up near the renowned artist village of Abiquiu. The upper reaches of the river are well known for gorgeous pine trees lining the banks of the river and spectacular views of the desert cliffs that border this area and that are so famous in many different artists works, such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams.

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Rio Chama 2 Day Rafting Trip

Bring the entire family and join us on the Rio Chama for the most scenic multiple day river trip in New Mexico. We begin the 21 mile river trip outside of the the alpine town of Chama, NM and float down into a stunning and colorful sandstone and limestone canyon finishing up near the renouned artist village of Abiquiu. The upper reaches of the river are well known for gorgeous pine trees lining the banks of the river and spectacular views of the desert cliffs that border this area and that are so famous in many different artists works, such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Red, yellow and purple color bands are painted across the desert as the river flows past towering sandstone cliffs. This stretch of river hides many treasures within the high reaching walls like hot springs, homesteads, ancient Indian ruins, and dinosaur tracks perfectly preserved in Jurassic era mud to name a few.

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Rio Chama Full Day

The Rio Chama has a wonderful single day section as the river emerges from the canyon. This wide valley has spectacular views of the desert cliffs that border this areas and that are so famous in many different artists works, such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams. The Rio Chama has a few moderate Class II and III rapids so is perfect for all ages and abilities. Day trips can be run in oar boats, paddle boats, and inflatable kayaks. Minimum age for this trip is 5 and we meet at Bode's General store at 9 a.m.

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Rio Chama Gourmet Wine Pairing with Chef Rocky Durham and Vivac Winery

Our Original Specialty Trip and longest running.  This trip has been life changing for some and always the thrill of the season for most guides.  Our good friends at Vivac Winery and the very funny and talented Chef Rocky Durham combine their talents to provide and amazing trip in one of the Southwest's most pristine and beautiful canyons.  Each night we will experience a gourmet 4-course meal prepared by Celebrity Chef Rocky Durham of Santa Fe. The dinners will be paired with the award winning wines of Vivac Winery, New Mexico's most acclaimed vintner.  This trip usually has a waiting list so please don't wait to reserve your spot for this years trip.

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Beers and Cheers on the Chama with Bosque Brewing Co.

New Mexico River Adventures is thrilled to have Bosque Brewing Company join us for our annual River and Brews trip down the Rio Chama!  Join us for this 3-day adventure with our friends from Bosque Brewery, one of New Mexico’s finest breweries. The fine folks at Bosque will be with us for this 3-day journey and help to transform your riverside campsite into one of the finest taprooms in the world.  This is one of our most popular trips and New Mexico River Adventures is the first company to offer such a fun and unique experience.  Don't hesitate, grab some friends and sign up for one of the most memorable adventures of the entire season.  Beer and River Lovers Unite!

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A Cultural History Of The Rio Chama With Dr. Tim Maxwell

Join Us and our good friends at Southwest Seminars for 3-days and 2-nights rafting the Rio Chama led by Dr. Tim Maxwell as we learn about the native history of the river and its valleys that served as a natural corridor from north to south for millennia.  Dr. Maxwell will share knowledge of the native peoples, history, and the agricultural field systems of the Rio Chama. He is Director Emeritus, New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies and conducted extensive mapping of Chama River cultural sites and the agricultural field systems of the Rio Chama.   The trip will take us through the 33 mile Wild and Scenic Rio Chama Canyon with our world class guides taking care of every detail of this amazing adventure.

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Rio Chama SUP 3 Day

This is the signature multi-day rafting trip in New Mexico. Due to regularly scheduled releases from El Vado Resevior, we are able to enjoy this incredible canyon and three day rafting trip, most weeks from April through August. We raft 33 mile section of river outside of the the alpine town of Tierra Amarilla, NM. The trip consists of a float through the stunning and colorful sandstone and limestone walls of this amazing canyon and finishing up near the renowned artist village of Abiquiu. The upper reaches of the river are well known for gorgeous pine trees lining the banks of the river and spectacular views of the desert cliffs that border this area and that are so famous in many different artists works, such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams.

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Book Now
CALL US AT 1.800.983.7756 TO RESERVE THIS TRIP

Rio Chama SUP 2 Day

Bring the entire family and join us on the Rio Chama for the most scenic multiple day river trip in New Mexico. We begin the 21 mile river trip outside of the the alpine town of Chama, NM and float down into a stunning and colorful sandstone and limestone canyon finishing up near the renouned artist village of Abiquiu. The upper reaches of the river are well known for gorgeous pine trees lining the banks of the river and spectacular views of the desert cliffs that border this area and that are so famous in many different artists works, such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Red, yellow and purple color bands are painted across the desert as the river flows past towering sandstone cliffs. This stretch of river hides many treasures within the high reaching walls like hot springs, homesteads, ancient Indian ruins, and dinosaur tracks perfectly preserved in Jurassic era mud to name a few.

View Details
Book Now
CALL US AT 1.800.983.7756 TO RESERVE THIS TRIP