About the trip
This is our premier overnight rafting trip in the Rio Grande Gorge.
This trip meets at our private, Rio Grande Headquarters which is conveniently located 1 hour north of Santa Fe and 30 min. south of Taos. Our fully stocked Headquarters and Outfitters Shop is in the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge right across the street from the river, less than 1 mile from the finishing point of the most popular trips and offers safe, secure parking in our private parking lot.
For directions to our Rio Grande Headquarters click here!
Do I need to know how to swim?
It is recommended but not mandatory that all our guests know how to swim. All guests are given Type V, US Coast Guard approved flotation devices (lifejackets) that are designed to float you on your back, nice and high in the water. For all our class 3 and above sections on the Rio Grande, you will also be issued a helmet.
What do I need to wear?
We have packing lists for you to review for each of our different trip types. Remember that the weather changes dramatically throughout the New Mexico rafting season. It can be significantly colder during March-May we encourage our guests to always be prepared.
What if it’s my first time, do I need experience?
There is no experience required for any of our river trips. However, we encourage experience for our more difficult, Taos Box and Razorblades trips. Please feel free to call us with any concerns or questions about appropriate trips for your group.
WHAT TO EXPECT
It combines the Lower Taos Box with the Lower Gorge sections of the Rio Grande for a total of nearly 30 miles of Wild and Scenic River. Nowhere else can you find the same quality whitewater in such a remote and pristine canyon with incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.
The Taos Box
The “Taos Box” overnight rafting trip begins just outside of Taos at the historic John Dunn Bridge, at the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Arroyo Hondo. Passing through the Rio Grande Gorge, below 800 ft basalt cliffs, this section of the Rio Grande know as the “Box” offers some of the most amazing whitewater and scenery in the southwest. The layout of this run is well suited for these types of adventures as the beginning is relatively calm with plenty of opportunities to work on your paddling techniques, where the group can develop a good team dynamic that will be needed 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. Brace yourself in and paddle hard through these steep and visually stunning rapids! You are almost guaranteed to spot Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep leaping across boulders below the cliffs or enjoying a drink from the river as well as river otter and a large variety of birds of prey as you float through this spectacular canyon. Explore the inner gorge and experience quality Class IV whitewater rapids like; Power Line Falls, The Rock Garden, The mile-long Rio Bravo section.
The Taos Box Overnight Camp
Tonight’s camp is in the depths of the canyon in the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge under the stars of the New Mexico skies. Sit back in one of our camp chairs and take in the sunset as the colors of the canyon walls change right before your eyes. Enjoy a cold drink as the guides pass around appetizers and prepare a gorgeous dinner and dessert. There will be ample photo and hiking opportunities directly from camp.
In the morning you’ll wake up to a hot cup of coffee and a beautiful breakfast before loading up the rafts and continuing downstream. We will then start a nice scenic float the Orilla Verde Recreation Area and the historic village of Pilar. Somewhere in this stretch, we’ll stop on the side of the river for a nice lunch put together by your guides. After lunch, we head downstream and finish to the trip through the famous whitewater of the Racecourse section of the Rio Grande. The Lower Gorge of the Rio Grande is a broad canyon with lush riparian habitat along the banks of the Rio. As we enter the “Racecourse” section the geology radically changes as we pass onto the Rio Grande fault line, one of the largest intercontinental fault lines in North America.
But let’s not forget the WHITEWATER! The Racecourse is 6 miles of action-packed class 3 rapids. After the grand finale of Souse Hole rapid (class 3-4), you will soon reach the finishing point which is only one mile from our Headquarters where we will change into dry clothes and enjoy the photos of your trip.
The trip may be run in reverse order due to BLM launch schedule. If you’re interested in a longer Rio Grande trip, please inquire about adding the Bosque section to this itinerary and turning it into a 3-day trip. The minimum age for this trip is 13 years old.