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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

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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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!

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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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Rio Grande Gorge 2-Day

The Lower Gorge of the Rio Grande is a broad canyon with lush riparian habitat along the banks of the Rio. A fantastic two day adventure for families, first time rafters and groups. This trip covers it all with one day of rafting and one day of kayaking through the beautiful Rio Grande Gorge section of the Rio Grande.  This is a great overnight option at lower water levels and can be enjoyed by the entire family!

Ultimate Whitewater 2-Day

This trip combines the Razorblades and Taos Box sections of the Rio Grande. This is an excellent trip for those looking for a bit more in an overnight trip. Day one includes the same instructional portion as the "Razorblades" day trip but after we hike out of the Gorge for the day we camp on the rim of the gorge with the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains as our backdrop under the stars of the New Mexico skies. The following day takes through the world famous Taos Box section, one of the greatest days of whitewater rafting in the country.

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Wild and Scenic 2 Day Adventure

This Rio Grande 2-Day adventure is a popular overnight option during our lower water seasons for those looking for a bit more adventure! We start at our Headquarters where you'll meet your guides who will load all of your overnight gear into our vehicles and outfit you with all the gear necessary for the river. This combines the Middle Taos Box and our Rio Grande Gorge sections for the perfect 2 day adventure.

ACA Level 2-4 Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Certification Workshop

Are you a whitewater professional looking to instruct Swiftwater Rescue Technician courses to your river crew or other professionals.  The ACA has a long history of leading the industry in the best instructional guidelines for all aspects of river running and safety.  This five day course is for experienced boaters and rescuers who want to become Swift Water Rescue Instructors. Instructor candidates will be assessed on Teaching Ability, Rescue Ability, Technical Knowledge and Group Management throughout this course for a final certification level.

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