Whitewater Rio Grande 2-Day
Pack the maximum amount of whitewater into two days. Power through 20 rapids rated Class 3 or higher, some of the fiercest whitewater the Rio Grande has to offer. Lie back under the crystalline, star-filled New Mexico sky as the purr of the river promises a second day of memorable adventure.
As you enter the dramatic wilderness of the Taos Box, you'll leave your everyday life behind. With 17 miles of whitewater in a dramatic basalt canyon over 800 feet deep, the Box is considered a world-class whitewater run. The heart of one of the nation's first Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Box is home to a big herd of bighorn sheep (we see them on most trips). If you're lucky, you'll also see falcons and eagles, owls, and maybe even river otters during the lulls between the rapids. A night spent in the green meadows of Orilla Verde and a morning's gentle float recharge your batteries before you face the thick-and-fast rapids of the Racecourse after lunch. You'll leave us exhilarated and ready to take on the world!
WHITEWATER RATING: Class 4+
RECOMMENDED MINIMUM AGE: 12 (14 in high water, 16 in super-high water)
MEET: 8.30 a.m., Los Rios boathouse (mile marker 40 on Hwy 68). Return to your vehicle approx 3 p.m. on Day 2.
SEASON: Variable. Usually April-July – sometimes later. Best in May and June. Check with us. Available 7 days a week.
PRICE: $325. 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; drybag for your personal items; transportation to and from meeting place; all meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day.
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).
2-DAY OVERNIGHT: SAMPLE MENU
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 and juice
We are not licensed to serve alcoholic beverages. You are welcome to bring your own.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – WHITEWATER RIO GRANDE 2-DAY
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? Helmets are compulsory on the Box. They are optional on the Lower Gorge section at Class 3 levels.
Can you run the Whitewater Rio Grande 2-Day 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 Whitewater Rio Grande Overnight. If not, we will do the Middle Box Funyak or a Middle Box / Lower Gorge combo, or move to the Chama.
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, 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 campsite? We camp in the Orilla Verde recreation area, 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? It's not a wilderness camp, so privacy is limited.
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).
MAJOR RAPIDS OF THE WHITEWATER RIO GRANDE 2-DAY
The Taos Box
|Ski Jump||Class 3|
|Yellowbank||Class 3 (4+ in low water)|
|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)|
|Sunset||Class 3 (4 in high water)|
|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)|