Double Racecourse full-day

Our most popular raft trip, expanded into a full-day low-water adventure. At high water (which doesn't happen every year, and when it does it doesn't last long), the Racecourse has giant boat-flipping waves and boat-eating holes. At low water the rocks that make those waves and holes are sticking up out of the water, and we have to paddle around them, squeeze between them, and bounce off of them. It's a different kind of adventure, more technical and more physical, and a different kind of fun. The Double Racecourse full-day gives you two different kinds of fun: raft and funyak.  In the morning, you'll run the rapids in a raft, as part of a precision team learning the tricky maneuvers required to navigate the many rapids of the Racecourse. After a delicious lunch riverside, you'll return to the put-in and get into your funyak. A funyak is a miniature inflatable raft that you paddle with a double-ended kayak-style paddle. We have single and double funyaks; you choose (photos above). Your guide gives you a comprehensive lesson at the beginning of the trip, and accompanies you down the Racecourse in his/her own boat, showing you the lines through the rapids and giving you help and advice whenever you need it. Since you've already run these rapids in a raft, they'll be somewhat familiar. You'll be amazed at how proficient you've become by the end of your paddling adventure down Class 3 whitewater! 

You can also do the Double Racecourse in a raft twice, if you prefer.


RECOMMENDED MINIMUM AGE: 14, or 12 in a double funyak with a capable adult

MEET: 9.30 a.m., Rio Grande Gorge Visitors Center (Hwy 68 in Pilar, between mile markers 28 and 29). Return to your vehicle 3.30-4 p.m.

SEASON: March to November. (Los Rios rafts earlier and later than any other company.) High water usually late May/early June. Available 7 days a week.

PRICE: $105. 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, helmet, waterproof jacket and pants, transportation to and from meeting place, hearty deli-style lunch. Wetsuit rental $10. Neoprene booties rental $5.

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Can I do the Double Racecourse if I've never paddled before?  Yes. You do need to be fairly well coordinated, in good physical condition, and have a good sense of adventure.

Will I fall out of the boat? It’s possible that you might fall out of the raft. We try to avoid it. Good paddling will help keep you in the boat. The average number of people who take an unscheduled swim is probably well below 10%. Though funyaks are surprisingly stable and easy to maneuver, funyakers are more likely to end up in the river. Please allow it as a possibility when you make the decision to funyak.

Do I have to know how to swim? We prefer participants to be able to swim. Risk is higher for non-swimmers, because they are more likely to panic in the event of an unplanned swim. You must be able to assist in your own rescue in the event you fall out of the boat. 

Do I have to wear a helmet? Helmets are optional in a raft on the Racecourse except at river levels above 3000 cfs (Class 4), when they are mandatory. Helmets are always mandatory for funyaks.

Can you run the Double Racecourse no matter what the water level is? We run the Double Racecourse at 800 cfs and below. By definition, if the water level is too low to run the Taos Box, we will be running the Double Racecourse.

Doesn't the whitewater rating go down in low water? No. The rating is a measure of difficulty, not water. Some rapids are trickier at low water levels.

Is low water boating boring? Not at all. It's not the wet and wild rollercoaster you see on TV – it's more like a wet bumper-car ride. Low-water boating is more technical and more active. Also the water is warmer! Many people prefer low water boating.

Do you really think I can do this? Funyaking the Racecourse is a challenge. Some paddling experience (rafting, canoeing, kayaking) is desirable. If you've never paddled before, consider the Lower Gorge full-day in a funyak: the mellow Orilla Verde section in the morning will give you practice before you meet the Class 3 rapids of the Racecourse.

Can my child go if he/she is below the recommended minimum age? Maybe. It's a recommendation, not a rule. If your child is well-grown, adventurous, and a good swimmer, we will consider it. Please phone to discuss it with us.

What if the weather's bad? We don't cancel because of rain: usually it doesn't last long, and let's face it you're going to get wet anyway! Early- and late-season trips are subject to our weather policy: if the predicted high temperature is less than 50 degrees, we give you the option of cancelling at no charge to you. It helps if you can be flexible within a few days so we can choose the most suitable day for boating. The decision is made the day before the trip.

What exactly does lunch consist of? As soon as we hit the beach, we provide chips and salsa and drinks (sodas, juice, and water) while the guides prepare a fresh sandwich buffet. Typically we have two or three choices of bread (whole wheat, rye, sourdough, etc.); sliced meats (roast beef, turkey, ham); sliced cheese (cheddar and mozzarella); fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, and avocados; and condiments such as mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, green chile, salt and pepper. Have more than one sandwich if you like! This is followed by freshly sliced fruit such as pineapple or melon and cookies.


The Maze Class 3
Albert Falls Class 3
Eye of the Needle Class 3 (2 in high water)
The Narrows Class 3 (4 in high water)
Dead Foot Falls Class 2+
No Name Rapid Class 2+
Big Rock Class 3+ (4 in high water)
Sleeping Beauty Class 3
Souse Hole Class 3 (4 in high water)


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