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Rio Grande River

The Rio Grande in the United States, known as the Río Bravo (or, more formally, the Río Bravo del Norte) in Mexico, is a river, 1,885 miles (3,034 km) long, and the fourth longest river system in the United States. The river has, since 1848, marked the boundary between Mexico and the United States Rio del Norte was the most common name for the upper Rio Grande (roughly, within the present-day borders of New Mexico) from Spanish colonial times to the end of the Mexican period in the mid-19th century. The use of the modern English name Rio Grande began with the early American settlers in south Texas. By the late 19th century, the name Rio Grande for the entire river, from Colorado to the sea, had become standard in the United States.

The Rio Grande was designated as one of the American Heritage Rivers in 1997. The Rio Grande rises in the east Rio Grande National Forest in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is formed by the joining of several streams, just east of the continental divide. From there, it flows through the San Luis Valley, then south into New Mexico. Millions of years ago, theRio Grande ended at the bottom of the Rio Grande Rift in Lake Cabeza de Vaca. But about one million years ago the stream was “captured” and began to flow east. The geology that created the 1,800-mile long Rio Grande River, was a millions-of-years-ago rift, or crack, between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the ranges to the west. Volcanic activity filled the crack with lava. About 3 million years ago, water draining from the San Juan Mountains of Colorado began carving the river that dissects New Mexico and, eventually, the west and southwest boundary of Texas and the Texas-Mexico border, before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Rio Grande rises in high mountains and flows for much of its length at high elevation. In New Mexico, the river flows through the Rio Grande Rift from one sediment-filled basin to another, cutting canyons between the basins and supporting a fragile bosque ecosystem in its floodplain. But before that runoff settles down to a placid river, it rumbles through far northern New Mexico. The Rio Grande flows out of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains in Colorado from its headwaters in the San Juan Mountains, and journeys 1,900 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. It passes through 800-foot chasms of the Rio Grande Gorge, a wild and remote area of northern New Mexico. In 1968, the Rio Grande and Red River were among the first eight rivers Congress designated into the National Wild and Scenic River System to protect outstanding resources values.

Class II to Class V rapids exist in nine different segments encompassing the Upper Rio Grande Gorge and Lower Rio Grande Gorge. Join us for a Rio Grande rafting adventure this summer!

The Trips

Intermediate Whitewater Kayak Instruction

After you have taken our Beginner Whitewater Kayak Instruction course, your next step is our Intermediate course.  You will master existing skills and build additional skills, all tailored to your individual goals and desires.  This course can be structured as a 1, 2, or 3 day format, and we can explore both the Rio Grande and Rio Chama.

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24 Hours On The Rio Grande

Are you interested in an overnight river trip, but not willing to give up two entire days of your vacation? We have just the trip for you! You'll meet us at our headquarters at 2p.m. and we will float the scenic Orilla Verde Section of the Rio Grande with an opportunity to catch the gorgeous evening light on the river that most do not have the pleasure of experiencing. As we settle into our riverside camp, you might opt for an evening hike while we prepare you a meal that will impress your taste buds and leave you ready for stories around the fire. The morning will begin with a hearty breakfast that will fill you up for the day of rapids ahead on the popular class III Racecourse section.We will stop mid way for lunch and swimming and finish up in time to have you back at our headquarters at 2 p.m. We encourage the adventurous folks to consider doing this trip in an inflatable kayak as long as water levels permit.

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Advanced Whitewater Kayaking

This course is all about dialing in, to perfection, the skills that will allow you to move on to the more difficult whitewater. The advanced courses are tailored to the individual. Our instructors will exploit any and all weaknesses in your skills and coach you on how to improve them.

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Half Day SUP

Standup paddling or SUP originated in the Hawaiian Islands and is fast becoming the paddle sport of choice not only on the coast but on rivers and lakes throughout the southwest. SUP offers amazing fitness, balance and coordination in a non-intimidating, fun manor appealing to all ages. New Mexico River Adventures is the first and only full service SUP outfitter in the state of New Mexico offering rentals, lessons and guided tours on the many pristine rivers and lakes in the great state of New Mexico.

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Private or Custom Whitewater Kayak Instruction

If you are looking for one-on-one instruction to the sport of New Mexico whitewater kayaking, or want to work on specific skills at any level, our Private/Custom Whitewater Kayak Instruction is for you!  You will receive individual attention with expert guidance from our staff.  Sign up today!

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Rio Grande Gorge Full Day

The Lower Gorge of the Rio Grande is a broad canyon with lush riparian habitat along the banks of the Rio. A fantastic full day adventure for families, first time rafters and groups. The first half of the day is beautiful float through the Orilla Verde section of the Rio Grande with incredible scenery, gorgeous riverside lunch stops and ample opportunity to work on your paddling in preparation for the exciting whitewater of the Racecourse to come in the afternoon. The Rio Grande Gorge full day trip meets at our headquarters at 8:30 a.m. daily and the minimum age during most of the year is 5 years old.

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The Racecourse

This is the most popular rafting trip in New Mexico. This is the perfect trip for first timers or those whitewater enthusiasts who only have a limited amount of time available. It is class II-III(IV at high water) and absolutely perfect for everyone. When the water levels are especially high, we do raise the minimum age as this section grows into an extremely fun and continuous section of class III and IV whitewater. Truly a great trip and its located a mere 1 mile away from our headquarters. If you're looking for memorable addition to your vacation in Northern New Mexico, stop by our headquarters or reserve your space for this wonderful whitewater rafting experience.

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Wedding Raft Trips in New Mexico

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Orilla Verde Float

This is the perfect trip for everyone in the entire family or those who just feel like a lazy float down the river. The Orilla Verde section meanders through a beautiful section of the canyon offering incredible bird watching opportunities as well as regular sightings of river otters playing along the river bank.

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Taos Box Full Day

This is possibly the greatest full day rafting trip in the country. Nowhere else can you find the same quality whitewater in such a remote and pristine canyon with incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. The "Box" flows through the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge some 800 feet deep. The layout of this run is absolutely perfect as the beginning is relatively calm with plenty of opportunity to work on your paddling techniques and feel comfortable working together as a team to negotiate the many rapids ahead. In the final five miles of this trip, the gradient increases and the rapids become more intense and come in much quicker succession. The Taos Box trip meets at our headquarters at 8 a.m. and the minnimum age is 13 and participants should weight nearly 100 pounds.

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La Junta Rafting

This trip is a rare scenic float through one of the most remote, pristine and little traveled sections of the Rio Grande. Only accessible by the 1 mile long hike down the La Junta trail in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area. The boats and gear are packed down by mules to our put-in at the confluence with the Rio Grande and the Red River. The whitewater on this section is calm with one class III rapid.

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Sunset Gourmet Float

Looking for something different this summer? Do you crave quiet and scenic floats through desert river canyons? How about gourmet meals waiting for you along the side of the river as the sun sets? This is a spectacular twist to the normal half day river trip. Great for all types of groups including families, friends and couples a like.

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Razorblades

New Mexico River Adventures is very proud to be the only outfitter in New Mexico to offer trips through the extremely remote, difficult and pristine Razorblades section of the Rio Grande. The setting is the Upper Rio Grande Gorge with no road access requiring us to hike into and out of the river. All of this effort is more than paid off with the opportunity to experience this seldom scene section of river with unsurpassed class IV+ whitewater and incredible beauty. This trip is not for the timid, if you've seen the Taos Box and you're looking for a great day and a real expedition, please join us for this amazing trip!

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Whitewater and Wine Tasting Day Trip

Your day will start off with NM Wine Tours picking you up from your hotel, home or where ever.Traveling North to New Mexico River Rafting's headquarters, where we drop you off to begin your half day river rafting adventure on the Racecourse.Upon arrival at New Mexico River Rafting's headquarters, you will meet your guides for the day who will outfit you with all the gear necessary for the day on the river. At the headquarters, you'll find clean restrooms, changing rooms, shaded picnic tables on our patio rooms and any last minute items you might have forgotten including sunscreen, water shoes, hats and much more.After your half day river adventure NM Wine Tours will pick you up at the rafting headquarters.We do give you a little time to change and freshen up.Then off we go for a wonderful experience of wine tasting at some of New Mexico's wonderful wineries.

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Ultimate Whitewater 2-Day

This trip combines the Razorblades and Taos Box sections of the Rio Grande. This is an excellent trip for those looking for a bit more in an overnight trip. Day one includes the same instructional portion as the "Razorblades" day trip but after we hike out of the Gorge for the day we camp on the rim of the gorge with the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains as our backdrop under the stars of the New Mexico skies. The following day takes through the world famous Taos Box section, one of the greatest days of whitewater rafting in the country.

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