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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

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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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 minimum age is 13 and participants should weight at least 90 pounds.

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Rock Climbing And Rafting Full Day

Our rock climbing trips near Taos NM take place in the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge just above the Wild and Scenic Rio Grande. The Dead Cholla Wall is an established rock climbing area featuring over two-dozen climbing routes just below the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge. No experience is necessary for this trip and is available to all abilities, and levels of fitness.  Minimum age is 12 years old.  The trip also includes our famous Fajita Lunch and a float through Orilla Verde!

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Middle Taos Box Inflatable Kayaking Trip

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 a beautiful trail in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area. The kayaks and gear are packed down by the group in lightweight backpacks 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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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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Razorblades Full Day

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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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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