Rio Chama 3-day
Book an overnight rafting trip on the Rio Chama, one of America's most beautiful Wild and Scenic Rivers, and New Mexico’s most spectacular wilderness boating. The current carries us past cliffs towering up to 1500 feet, striped in vivid shades of pink, vermilion, and white. We make camp under immense old-growth ponderosa pines, in glorious meadows carpeted with wildflowers, or at the foot of a side canyon ideal for a short hike. The dawn mist shrouds the pink sandstone in a silver glow. You wake as if to the beginning of a new world.
Access to the canyon is severely restricted and many trips sell out. We recommend you book your Chama raft trip as early as you can.
Because numbers of rafters on the Chama are so limited, and there are very few launches each day, you are guaranteed a wilderness experience. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some of the animals that live in this gorgeous wilderness: deer, bears, elk, cougars, wild turkeys, and bald eagles. At night you'll hear the beavers slapping their tails, as the sweet murmur of the river lulls you to sleep.
The perfect family trip: The Chama is mostly a gentle float, punctuated by easy rapids which speed up near the trip's end. Three days on the Chama gives us time to stop at a historic homestead which was a hideaway for horse thieves, a hot spring, a ghost town, and fossilized dinosaur footprints.
Funyak it! We bring funyaks on all our Chama trips, so you can paddle the river's meandering curves and forgiving whitewater in your own miniature raft. Perfect for those who want to do more than just lie back, relax, and watch the scenery float by. No extra charge.
Fish it! The state record brown trout was caught on the Chama. Bring your gear, or arrange with us to provide it. A New Mexico State fishing license is not included in the cost of your trip and must be purchased. We can arrange this for you. One-day, five-day and one-year licenses are available. Children aged 11 and under fish free.
Design your own Chama raft trip: We can arrange a gourmet chef, a yoga instructor, a massage therapist, a meditation teacher, a herbalist/botanist, all kinds of musicians, a wine-tasting trip … Just ask us.
Comfort Camp Option!
If you prefer to experience the wilderness in maximum comfort, enjoy your own canvas walled outfitter tent with room to stand and walk around inside, floor rugs, hooks to hang your clothes, chairs and table, and elevated camp beds with freshly laundered sheets and pillows (see photo below). Valet service included: our guides will pitch your tent, carry your bags, and set up your own private toilet and personal wash stand. Your valet is there to tend to your comfort! Each unit accommodates up to four people. $250 per unit per day surcharge.
Here's what Sandy Cunningham of Uncharted Outposts, New Mexico's only Travel & Leisure magazine-recognized super-agent (2009-2012), says about our comfort camp: "I would wholeheartedly recommend Los Rios River Runners to all my clients. Their amazing luxury camps, expert guides, superb knowledge and attention to detail make for a once-in-a-lifetime River Safari experience in New Mexico. Cisco brings everything to life with his extraordinary storytelling and expert knowledge of the history, culture, flora and fauna of Northern New Mexico! Thank you for taking such amazing care with our Uncharted clients!"
WHITEWATER RATING: Class 3
RECOMMENDED MINIMUM AGE: 6. Younger children can leave the trip at lunchtime on the last day, before the larger rapids.
MEET: By arrangement. Ride with us from Taos, meet us halfway if you're coming from Santa Fe or points south, or stay close to the takeout at the Abiquiu Inn.
SEASON: Variable: usually April to late-June, and early-July to early September. Dam releases are more reliable on weekends, but often available on weekdays too. Check with us.
PRICE: 2-day: $349 adults, $289 children 12 and under. 3-day: $495 adults, $375 children 12 and under. No hidden extras! Does not include tax and federal user fee. Group discount available, extra discount for school and Scout groups.
WE PROVIDE: All rafting and safety equipment including life-jacket, and helmet if desired; waterproof jacket and pants; all camping equipment including freshly laundered sleeping bag, luxurious 1 ½-inch thick self-inflating sleeping pad and one four-person tent per couple or single guest; transportation to and from meeting place; all meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day.
CHAMA OVERNIGHT ADVENTURE: SAMPLE MENU
Day 1, lunch: chips and salsa, build-your-own sandwich deli-style buffet with a variety of breads, meats and fixings, fresh fruit, cookies, soft drinks and juice
Day 1, dinner: hors d'oeuvres; mixed grill of steak, chicken and fish, rice, steamed vegetables, salad, freshly baked cake, soft drinks and juice
Day 2, breakfast: omelets to order with choice of onions, ham, cheese, peppers, mushrooms, spinach; bacon or sausage; biscuits or tortillas; fresh fruit; orange juice, milk, tea and fresh-brewed coffee
Day 2, lunch: chips and salsa, chicken Caesar salad wraps, fresh fruit, cookies, soft drinks and juice
Day 2, dinner: hors d'oeuvres; shrimp stir fry with rice or noodles; salad; freshly baked cake, soft drinks and juice
Day 3, breakfast: pancakes with maple syrup; bacon and/or sausage; fresh fruit; yogurt; orange juice, milk, tea, and fresh-brewed coffee
Day 3, lunch: chips and salsa, italian smorgasbord, fresh fruit, cookies, soft drinks and juice
We are not licensed to serve alcoholic beverages. You are welcome to bring your own.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – CHAMA OVERNIGHT
Will I be in an oar boat or a paddle boat? We run mostly oar boats on the Chama. Lie back and relax, and let your guide do the work! And then, when you want to paddle, try out a funyak. If you really want a paddle raft, please let us know and we will arrange it.
Do I have to know how to swim? It is unlikely that you will fall out of the raft on the Chama. If you do, you will need to assist in your own rescue. Funyakers stand a much higher chance of taking an unscheduled dip. Risk is higher for non-swimmers.
Do I have to wear a helmet? Not in a raft. Helmets are compulsory for funyakers.
Can my child go if he/she is below the recommended minimum age? Yes. The recommended minimum age applies only to the last part of the trip (the one-day section). Younger children may be able to run those rapids, if they are adventurous and well-grown. Alternatively, we can arrange for them to leave the trip below Christ in the Desert monastery, in the care of a parent or adult guardian, and meet up with us again at the takeout.
What if the weather's bad? We don't cancel because of rain: usually it doesn't last long. Early season trips are subject to our weather policy: if the high temperature is predicted to be less than 50 degrees, we give you the option of cancelling at no cost to you. This decision will be made no later than the morning of the day before the trip.
Do you have flush toilets and showers at your campsites? No. We are camping in the wilderness, not at developed campgrounds. We bring a "groover," with a toilet seat and sanitary supplies, which is set up in a screened area for privacy.
Will I be cold at night? Not if you dress correctly. Polar fleece pants, top, and hat are recommended. The sleeping bags we provide are appropriate for the temperatures we’re most likely to encounter.
Does everyone camp together? The campsites we use have many separate spots for pitching tents. It's easy to find privacy.
Do we have to sit on logs or on the ground? No. The great thing about camping by raft is that we can bring all kinds of stuff to make us comfortable. We have folding armchairs, tables, four-burner stove, etc.
Do I need to let you know if I'm bringing wine and/or beer? Yes, please. That way we can make sure we have enough coolers to carry it.
What if I'm vegetarian? Just let us know, and we'll cater accordingly. Vegans too. We can also provide all organic food (an extra charge will apply).