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Lower Gorge - Full Day

Spend a full day on the river in the spectacular Rio Grande Gorge, with walls rising to 1,500 feet. The morning is the gentle Orilla Verde section, flanked by green meadows. It's mellow and peaceful, the perfect introduction to the gorgeous Rio Grande Gorge. After a riverside lunch, we head into the rollercoaster Class 3 rapids of the Racecourse.

An excellent trip for those who want to experience the thrill of whitewater, but ease gradually into it. After a morning getting comfortable with the paddle in your hand, you'll feel ready to tackle the Narrows, Eye of the Needle, Sleeping Beauty, and the finishing thrill of Souse Hole. 

Funyak it! Try paddling your own inflatable one-person or two-person miniature raft, accompanied by a guide. Also known as duckies, funyaks are stable and easy to maneuver. You will get a comprehensive lesson at the beginning of the trip, and have the morning to practice in the easy waters of the Orilla Verde before your skills are demanded by the more exciting rapids of the Racecourse. No extra charge.


WHITEWATER RATING: Class 3 (4 in super-high water)

RECOMMENDED MINIMUM AGE: 6 (12 in high water, 16 in super-high water)

MEET: 9.30 a.m., Rio Grande Gorge Visitors Center (Hwy 68 in Pilar, between mile markers 28 and 29 - do not put this into GPS, it will take you 30 miles in the wrong direction!). Return to your vehicle approx. 3.30 p.m.

SEASON: March to November. (Los Rios rafts earlier and later than any other company.) High water usually late May/early June. Low water has steep, bouldery drops and is more technically challenging. Available 7 days a week.

PRICE: $95 adults, $75 children 12 and under. 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 if desired/required, waterproof jacket and pants, transportation to and from meeting place, generous deli-style buffet lunch. Wetsuit rental $10. Neoprene booties rental $5.

Pack for Your Raft Trip      Meet Your Guides     Rio Grande Information

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – LOWER GORGE

Will I be in an oar boat or a paddle boat? Most people prefer a paddle boat, where participants power the boat following the guide's instructions. You will be in a paddle boat unless you request an oar boat, where the guide is in full control of the boat and you can choose to paddle or just hang on. Oar boats are not available in low water.

Do I have to know how to swim? We prefer participants to be able to swim, especially in high water. Risk is higher for non-swimmers. You must be able to assist in your own rescue in the event you fall out of the boat.

Am I going to fall out of the boat? It’s possible. 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%.

Can you run the Lower Gorge no matter what the water level is? Yes.

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, and may require people to be more agile. You won't see giant boat-flipping waves crashing over your head; they're gone. The rocks that made those waves and holes are now sticking out of the water. We have to paddle around them, squeeze between them, bounce off of them, often through tight slots and steep drops. It's a lot of fun, especially for kids. Also the water is warmer, and more inviting for a swim at the end of the run. Many people like low water better than high water.

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

Should I funyak it? If you're an adventurous sort, funyaking ramps up the adrenalin level considerably. It's the perfect starter trip for those who want to paddle genuine rapids: the mellow Orilla Verde section in the morning gives you practice before you head into the Racecourse after lunch. We funyak at levels below 800 cfs.

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.

 

MAJOR RAPIDS OF THE LOWER GORGE (THE RACECOURSE):

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)

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Pack for Your Raft Trip      Meet Your Guides     Rio Grande Information