Top 5 Reasons to Go Rafting in New Mexico
Aaaah, rafting in New Mexico. There’s so many amazing reasons to do it. Though much of New Mexico is high desert, we have an incredible community of rafting and river enthusiasts, as well as the beautiful treasures that our rivers are to us. It’s quite a magical experience to boat through the scenery here in the high desert. Here’s five excellent reasons to try out rafting here in The Land Of Enchantment.
Reason #1: Come check out the new national monument! The Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument was decreed as such on March 25, 2013 by President Barack Obama. It’s comprised of 242,500 acres of public lands in Taos County, and The Rio Grande carves an 800 foot deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash. There’s excellent camping, fishing, and hiking to scout out while you’re rafting class I-IV rapids through the Rio Grande Gorge.
Reason #2: Astounding geology. The Rio Grande flows through the Taos Plateau, which holds cinder cones and shield volcanoes; sheet flows of basalt and towering Quartzite cliffs are easily viewed from the river. This is all through the Rio Grande Continental Rift, where the crust of the Earth ripped apart some 29 to 35 million years ago, triggering the volcanic activity that shaped the Plateau. In some places on the Rio Grande, one side of the river has rocks and formations that are literally millions of years older than those just across the river on the opposite bank!
Reason #3: The Rio Chama. This river has an amazing landscape to behold. Huge walls of multi-colored sandstone that tower to 1,500 feet above the river. Boating is limited to set number of boaters per day, to protect the river environment from overuse. The beauty of this area inspired many paintings by famous artist Georgia O’Keefe; she fell in love with it so that she spent her last years there.
Reason #4: Rich and diverse wildlife. Out on a raft, you get to see and experience the river in a much different way than most who are passing through. The river is home to so many different species of raptors, birds, mammals, and reptiles. Our Rio Grande Gorge is home to Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Night Herons, as well as the great Blue Herons. We also get to see Beaver, otter, and muskrats in the water. There are beautiful little 5 striped skink lizards on the rocks all over by the river and in the campgrounds, too. Just a few examples of our fauna residents.
Reason #5: Après rafting!!! It is so much fun to relax at one of the award-winning wineries or microbreweries here in Northern New Mexico after a great day of fun and sun on the river. Another good choice is one of the fantastic hot springs along the river, or at one of the fine resorts of New Mexico, Ojo Caliente. There’s so many delicious and relaxing ways to top off your rafting adventure.