Taos Box Rafting Adventure

The best whitewater rafting in New Mexico! Our full-day trip rafting the world-famous Taos Box is the ultimate whitewater adventure, with 17 miles of intense, challenging rapids crashing through the most awe-inspiring part of the Rio Grande Gorge.

Many days on the Taos Box sell out early. Book as soon as possible!

The Taos Box is a remote chasm of rugged basalt cliffs plunging 800 feet down to the Rio Grande. This spectacular wilderness was declared by Congress one of the nation's first Wild & Scenic Rivers. Populated by bighorn sheep, river otters, elk, beavers, and mountain lions, it's alive with the cries of ravens, falcons, and eagles. And the echoing roar of world-class whitewater.

With 60 rapids, of which 13 are rated Class 3 and above, the Taos Box is the ultimate whitewater thrill. You don't need to be a top athlete or even have previous whitewater rafting experience  – but you do need to be in good physical condition and have a good sense of adventure. This is not a trip for small children or the faint of heart!

WHITEWATER RATING: Class 4 plus

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

MEET: 9:00 a.m., Los Rios Adventure Center, 1033 Paseo del Pueblo Sur(across the street from Five Star Burger).  Return to your vehicle between 3 and 5 p.m.

SEASON: Variable: can start as early as March. Usually best in May and June. Usually too low to run by mid-July – but not always! Check with us. Available 7 days a week.

PRICE: $105 weekdays, $125 weekends. Does not include tax and federal user fee. Group discount available on weekdays only.

WE PROVIDE: all rafting and safety equipment including life-jacket and helmet, waterproof jacket and pants, wetsuit if required, transportation to and from our boathouse, generous deli-style buffet lunch. Neoprene booties available to rent for $5.

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).
 

Pack for Your Raft Trip      Meet Your Guides     Rio Grande Information

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - TAOS BOX

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.

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? Yes, helmets are compulsory on Class 4 runs.

What is a "runnable" or "suitable" water level? As explained above in "Mystery Tour," water levels on the Box are unpredictable and can change at very short notice. There is a minimum streamflow required for us to be able to run the Box. However, very low water levels make for a much more strenuous trip and are not suitable for everyone.  Very high water levels don't happen every year, but when they do we raise our recommended minimum age. High-water rafters need to be extra-adventurous and understand that there is an increased risk of taking an unscheduled, and perhaps long, swim.

How do we know whether the water level is suitable? If water levels are especially low or high, we will want to speak to you the day before the trip in order to discuss whether the Box is suitable for your party. If it is not, you choose one of our other full-day adventures: the Middle Box funyak, the Lower Gorge in rafts or funyaks, or the Chama full-day if available.

Doesn't the whitewater rating go down in low water? No. The rating is a measure of difficulty, not water. Some rapids are 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, athletic, a good swimmer and has rafted before, 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 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. Gut and Corkscrew
Class 3 (4 in very high and
very low water)
Enema Class 4
Sunset Class 3 (4 in high water)

 

 

Pack for Your Raft Trip      Meet Your Guides     Rio Grande Information