contact us

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

Racecourse Half Day

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.

Book Now

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.

Book Now

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.

Book Now

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.

Book Now

Taos Box Overnight

Our premier overnight trip in the Rio Grande Gorge. This trip combines the incredible whitewater and scenery of the Taos Box with the Lower Gorge sections of the Rio Grande for a total of nearly 30 miles of Wild and Scenic River. Sleep out under the stars and enjoy award winning riverside cuisine while experiencing the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge and some of the best whitewater in the southwest!

Book Now

Rock Climbing with New Mexico River Adventures

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 ages, abilities and levels of fitness.

Book Now

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!

Book Now

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.

Book Now