The Rio Grande tumbles out of mountains on the Colorado-New Mexico boundary and begins its long trip south through a passage so turbulent it was designated the nation’s first wild and scenic river. This means “The Box,” between the John Dunn Bridge in Arroyo Hondo and Taos Junction Bridge, offers some of the best rafting in the West with over 60 rapids in 17 miles and 15 class-four rapids (class-six is as high as they go) through stretches labeled “Powerline,” where the river dips 13-feet in a single drop, and “The Rock Garden” — the river drops 90-feet in less than a mile taking rafters through “Dead Texan Hole, “Sieve,” “Trench and “Shark holes.”
For a calmer experience, you also have the option of taking half-day excursion with only a handful of class three rapids from Pilar to the Taos County Line.
White water rafting in northern New Mexico depends on snowmelt for its thrills. This means a bikini may not be appropriate attire for a day of adventure. Blue jeans never are. Following are recommendations from various rafting companies on what to bring for an enjoyable day on the water:
• Early season, plan on wearing lightweight, quick drying long underwear under quick-drying pants or shorts, wool socks and old tennis shoes. Avoid cotton as it does not provide warmth when wet and does not dry quickly.
• Fleece jacket or wool sweater for cooler weather days. (Again, no cotton!)
• In warmer weather, lighter clothing may be acceptable.
• Old tennis shoes or secure sport sandals. No flip-flops!
• Cap or visor
• Water bottle
• Waterproof sunscreen (this is a MUST!)
• Cash for tipping your guide
220 E. Main Street PO BOX 723 Red River, NM 87558
New Mexico River Adventures specializes in the highest quality outdoor adventures in New Mexico. Come experience the best whitewater rafting, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding on the Rio Grande. We also offer rock climbing and multi-day options for the entire family.
P.O. Box 86 Embudo, NM 87531
(505)983-7756 or 1-800-983-7756
Red River Angler and Sport is a full service outdoor adventure center in Red River, NM. We carry gear and book outdoor experiences.
320 E Main St Red river, NM 87558
For the Ultimate Red River Adventure take a guided off-road Jeep tour through the scenic mountains of Red River.
500 E Main Street Red River, NM 87558