Experience true Southwest wilderness by hiking or trail-running on Wheeler Peak, the tallest mountain in New Mexico, at 13,161 feet, or rafting the Rio Grande Gorge, 800-foot basalt cliffs spanned by the dramatic Gorge Bridge. The Taos Box stretch is a full day of intense Class III and IV whitewater in a narrow canyon teeming with eagles, coyotes, and mountain lions. Ask for head guide Cisco Guevara, a font of lore and a great storyteller. "The power of that river is intense," he says.
National Geographic Adventure, June/July 2008
"The Hidden Southwest 14 Secrets of the Southwest"
by Christopher Percy Collier
The classic three-day raft trip between El Vado and Abiquiu on the airbrushed Chama River (think multicolored sandstone canyons, old-growth ponderosa stands, and meadows blazing with purple asters) hardly needs an infomercial-style bonus offer. But act now and Taos-based Los Rios River Runners will arrange for an astronomer, archaeologist, gourmet chef, sommelier, local-lore storyteller, yoga instructor, or—new for 2008—herbalist to accompany its guests ($510; losriosriverrunners.com). Book your star of choice and float past perfect swimming holes, Class III rapids, 1,500-vermilion cliffs, and ancient dwellings, which have never heard the buzz of motors or cell phones. Each evening rafters soak up tutorials in stargazing, wine tasting, or the finer points of edible herbs.
National Geographic Adventure, March 2008
"Weekend Getaways: The New Summer Camp"
by Christopher Ketcham
The 31-mile (50-kilometer) Rio Chama is a late summer drought buster, springing to life with the flick of a dam release. Make sure the water's running, then push off below El Vado Lake with Los Rios River Runners ($325 for two days; www.losriosriverrunners.com). "This isn't the high desert of hard edges and cracked earth," says guide Liz Hagerty. "It's lush with tall grass, wildflowers, and ponderosa pines." Settle on a campsite inside the 50,300-acre (20,356-hectare) wilderness area and hike to fossilized dinosaur footprints and hot springs. Craving a rush? Run the last few Class IIIs in a single-person duckie.
Taos News, June 21, 2007
"Los Rios River Runners Honored" See this on video (video by TaosVIsion and Glen Pike)
Los Rios River Runners was honored last night at the Taos County Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet as Business of the Year.
Cisco Guevara, owner and founder, said, “We’re very honored to receive this award. It’s wonderful for Taos to acknowledge that the river-rafting business is on the forefront of what draws visitors to the area.”
He talked about how tourism industry tends to treat the river-rafting industry as the “unwanted step-child.”
“This award lends legitimacy to our industry. We do influence the tourism economy. We hope that by legitimizing the river-raft industry, there will be more understanding about the de-watering of the Río Grande and the unfairness of the Río Grande Compact. This compact was created in the 1930s and does not meet the needs of a modern society,” Guevara said. (view PDF of full article)
LEXUS Magazine, Quarter 1, 2007
"GREAT ADVENTURES: Three People Who've Traded Business for Pleasure"
Cisco Guevara starting running northern New Mexican rivers in inner tubes in 1967 with his buddies from high school. They took turns pulling each other out of the water, unconscious and near death. Though they emerged from the trips bloodied and bruised, they were also exhilarated. So they tried bigger inner tubes and got the same results. When the local Boy Scouts got wind of this, the leaders showed up at the high school with life jackets for them to wear, and proceeded to teach them how to canoe, kayak, and raft the rivers.
Shortly after high school, a commercial outfitter contacted Guevara and said, "Heard you know how to row the Box." This refers to riding the Taos Box section of the Rio Grande Gorge, famous for its rapids, in a raft with a pair of oars in the middle of it for steering. Guevara took a job with the outfitter as a guide, and then in 1978 started his own company, Los Rios River Runners.
Guevara's company employs 35 people and, for both the guides and the visitors, he believes it's more than just an adrenaline adventure: "When people have experienced the rush of white water and the awesome beauty of the gorge, their batteries have been recharged in a way that's really meaningful. There's a lot of thankfulness and connection between family members after a trip."
But it's really the allure of the place that keeps him on the river. "This is a unique ecosystem," Guevara explains, "and it's remote—there are no trails in and out of the canyon. It's only accessible by raft. By working on this river, I have a connection to a place that's extremely beautiful and scenic."
Guevara also devotes time to keeping the river this way. He's president of Rio Grande Restoration, which facilitates efforts to restore the river through education, lobbying, and hands-on physical work. His company donates raft trips to youth groups, with the belief that the teamwork they learn on a raft will make them better citizens, and that they'll learn about the delicate ecosystems of the outdoors and work to preserve them.
The Santa Fe New Mexican, October 16, 2006
"RIO GRANDE VOICES: Reading the Rapids"
When Guevara and a couple of partners started Los Rios River Runners Inc. in 1978, they had two boats. They worked seven days a week and ran 800 clients down the river. Today, he's the company's sole owner with 50 rafts, 75 small kayaks, plus a couple of vans and several old school buses for transporting clients. Still working seven days a week—often 14 hours a day—he and more than a dozen experienced guides took 8,000 people down the Rio Grande during this year's nine-month rafting season. In the off-season, many of his guides work as ski instructors and on ski patrol at the Taos Ski Valley. Guevara works on finishing a double-walled adobe home for his family in Des Montes. (view PDF of full article)