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Rio Grande 3-day

The total Rio Grande experience - the adventure of a lifetime. Three days in one of America's most breathtaking wilderness canyons, with world-class whitewater to boot. Not to mention eagles, falcons, ancient Indian petroglyphs, and hot springs.

Day 1 begins with a hike into the Middle Box, the most remote and rarely visited part of the canyon. We make wilderness camp below Ski Jump, the first rapid of the Taos Box, at the foot of a side canyon called the Cathedral which you can explore as the guides cook dinner.

Day 2 brings the white-knuckle whitewater of the Taos Box, broken by lunch on a small beach beside the river, in the heart of the canyon. That night we camp in the green meadows of the Orilla Verde recreation area, near developed campgrounds with running water and flush toilets.

On day 3 we catch our breath with a serene float through Orilla Verde before cranking up again for the exciting rapids of the Racecourse.


RECOMMENDED MINIMUM AGE: 12 (14 in high water, 16 in super-high water)

MEET: 8.45 a.m., Los Rios Boat House, 4003 State Hwy.68. Return to your vehicle approx 3 p.m. on Day 3.

SEASON: Variable. Usually April-July – sometimes later! Best in May and June. Check with us. Available 7 days a week.

PRICE: $495. No hidden extras! Does not include tax and federal user fee. Group discount available on some launches.

WE PROVIDE: All rafting and safety equipment including life-jacket and helmet; 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; dry bag for your personal items; transportation to and from meeting place; all meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day.

Mystery Tour

We need a minimum streamflow in order to raft the big rapids of the Taos Box. Because the water level is unpredictable -- it depends on snowpack, weather, and the irrigation practices of farmers upstream -- and can change at very short notice, it is our policy to book all trips through the Taos Box as a Mystery Tour.  That means we reserve the boat and guide for your party, and if the Box is runnable and suitable for your party, that's where we'll go. If not, you choose one of our other rafting adventures of equivalent duration (see FAQs below).


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

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.

Pack for Your Raft Trip      Meet Your Guides     Rio Grande Information



Will I be in an oar boat or a paddle boat? The most intense thrills are in a paddle boat, where participants power the boat following the guide's instructions. Most people prefer a paddle boat. 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. There is a surcharge for oar boats on the Rio Grande 3-day overnight.

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%.

Do I have to wear a helmet? Helmets are compulsory on Class 4 sections. If the Lower Gorge is at a Class 3 level, helmets are optional on day 3.

Can you run the Rio Grande 3-Day Overnight no matter what the water level is? No. We need a certain minimum streamflow to get a raft through the big rapids of the Taos Box. Because water levels on the Rio Grande are unpredictable and change at short notice, we book all trips through the Taos Box as a "Mystery Tour." We reserve a boat and guide for your party, and speak with you the day before the trip. If the Box is runnable and suitable for your group, we will do the Rio Grande 3-day Overnight. If not, we will move to the Chama or do a combination Middle Box Overnight / Lower Gorge.

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

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. 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? On the first night we camp in the wilderness. We bring a "groover," with a toilet seat and sanitary supplies, which is set up in a screened area for privacy. On the second night we camp near a developed campground, with toilet facilities.

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).


The Middle Box

La Junta Class 4
Garrapata Class 3
Horse Thief Shorty Class 3

The Taos Box

Ski Jump Class 3
Trash Class 3
Upchuck Class 3-
Yellowbank Class 3 (4+ in low water)
Lemonade Class 3
Dead Car Class 3 (4 in low water)
Power Line Falls Class 3+
The Rock Garden Class 4+
Boat Reamer Class 3+ (4 in high water)
Screaming Left Turn Class 3+
The Boulder Field
inc. the Gut and Corkscrew
Class 3 (4 in very high and very low water)
Enema Class 4
Sunset Class 3 (4 in high water)

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