About the trip
Our most popular full day trip on the Rio Grande. This Rio Grande Gorge rafting trip has it all and is perfect for the whole family! This full day adventure meets at either 8:30am or 9:30am and lasts for 5-6 hours. This trip also includes our signature hot chicken fajita lunch, riverside. You will park in the safe, secure parking lot at our Rio Grande Headquarters and your car will act as your locker while you are on the trip. Don't worry if you forgot your sunscreen, water shoes, hat or sunglasses. We have all of it and more for sale at very reasonable prices at our Headquarters.
- The most popular full day trip in New Mexico
- Spectacular whitewater for all ages
- Located just a short drive from our Headquarters
- Great swimming opportunities
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
There are excellent birding and wildlife viewing potential along with ancient Rio Grande style petroglyphs (rock art) and desert freshwater springs as well as the classic rapids of the Racecourse. The combination of these things makes this a fantastic full day adventure for families, first-time rafters, and groups.
We start at our headquarters where you’ll 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 will find safe secure parking, 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. This is the perfect place to start your adventure. Craft choices are dependent on water levels. The large majority of our guests like to participate and paddle along with the guide in the back of the boat giving paddling commands, however, you may also choose to sit back and let the guide do the work on an oar boat. And for the adrenaline junkies, ask about an inflatable kayak at no extra charge.
Floating the Rio Grande Gorge
After the short drive to the starting point in our vans, your river trip begins with a placid morning float through one of the most scenic parts of the canyon with great opportunities to see a variety of wildlife including mule deer, river otter, beaver and many different birds of prey. This section also affords us time to practice paddling techniques, swimming and simply enjoying the Rio Grande. 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 run the Class III rapids of the “Racecourse.” 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 2-3 rapids. Perfect for everyone from beginners to intermediate/experts. There is something for everyone to enjoy on this section. With rapids like the Maze, Albert’s Falls, The Narrows, and The Thunderdome make sure you are braced in and ready to get wet! Listen to your guides as they negotiate these rapids and don’t forget to ask them to surf when the water levels are lower.
Guides for the Rio Grande Gorge Full Day
Our guides are the best in the business, focusing on safety and guest service as a top priority. All are extremely knowledgeable about the area’s geology, ecology and history and just love being on the river. Our Guides have experience on rivers all over the country and across the globe, I know you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do. They will certainly help to make your day on the river the best possible.
Full Day Rio Grande rafting trips available EVERY DAY starting in March through September. When the river levels are lower, the adventurous may choose to do this trip in inflatable kayaks. Our minimum age at most water levels is 5, however, at the higher flows, that minimum age rises to 13. Book online or call us anytime, 1-800-983-7756, to reserve your space.
*Rio Grande Gorge full day whitewater rafting now available as a private trip! Visit our private trips page to learn more about custom adventures tailored to you.