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New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
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New Wave Rafting Blog

Whitewater Rafting in Northern New Mexico

Category: River trips

We offer a variety of river trips, which range from “mild” to “wild”. Available are full-day, half-day and multi-day river trips. Our best whitewater trip is the Class 4+ full-day Taos Box trip. It runs through a wilderness gorge in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Our most scenic river trip is the 3-day trip through the Rio Chama Wilderness. It runs through a very colorful sandstone gorge.

Our most popular trip is the half-day Class 3 Racecourse, which is available twice a day. Our full-day Rio Grande Gorge river trip begins with a float section in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, and continues into the Racecourse Rapids after lunch. The half-day Float trip is the same as the morning portion of the full-day Rio Grande Gorge trip. The  full-day Monument Float river trip runs through most or all of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. What else? We rent funyaks for unguided trips in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument section.

First Trip of the 2019 Season

The Neely family, on the Rio Grande
The Neely family, with guide and NWR Operations Mgr., Britt Runyon

Our first trip of the 2019 season took place today, March 12. The Neely family joined us for a PM Racecourse trip. Because the weather was threatening, we dressed them in wetsuits, with rain gear over that. Weather-wise, it’s a little early, but we wanted to accommodate folks on Spring Break.

Funyak Season Arrives on the Rio Grande, July 1, 2017

When the Rio Grande drops below 600 cfs (cubic feet per second) we pull out our smaller rafts and our funyaks. While we will miss the Taos Box, which. because it is so steep and rocky, requires more than 600 cfs, we look forward to the fun of funyaks and our sport fleet. “Does the lower water level make the river easier?”, you may ask. Well … yes and no. The lower water is safer, in that you are not being rushed pell-mell downstream if you fall in. The water is warm and clear now , as well – 65 degrees warm as of 7-1-17 – making it much more fun for swimming. Yes, we do a lot of swimming during this part of our season.  But the “no” part of the answer is that, while we have fewer big waves in the Rio, the lower water has allowed more rocks to break the surface – and we now have to maneuver around those exposed rocks. This makes the river more “technical” – meaning more rafting/funyakking technique is required. Either on the part of the guide, who may be shouting paddling commands at you, one after the other, or on your part, as you dodge between the rocks. Of course, everything else being equal, a funyak can thread the passages with greater ease than a raft. And, funyaks are more much stable and user-friendly than regular hard kayaks. We rent funyaks for 4 hr. unguided trips on the Class 2 Orilla Verde stretch, with shuttle included, and we provide funyaks on our regular trips at no extra cost, but you have to request them beforehand. Are you handy? Then you can likely handle a funyak.

Funyak, on the Racecourse in typical mid-summer conditions
Funyakking the Racecourse
One of our smaller rafts, on the Racecourse
Double funyak on the Racecourse section of the Rio Grande
Swimming a little fast water at After Five, photo by Jeff Heveron
Allison and her dad in a double funyak
Funyak negotiates Big Rocks Rapid, on the Racecourse
A gaggle of funyakers?

Out of the Raft at Sunset Rapid (Movie), Rio Grande

Out of the Raft at Sunset Rapid, Taos Box, Rio Grande, New Mexico

Taos Junction Rapid (aka Sunset Rapid) ends the Taos Box run on the Rio Grande, in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. It’s called Taos Junction Rapid because it’s just upstream of Taos Junction Bridge – this bridge having been named for the reason that it connected Taos and the Taos Junction station on the Chili Line, a narrow-gauge railway that once ran west of the gorge. Also, it’s located at the “junction” of a major tributary – Taos Creek – and the Rio Grande, Taos Creek being the source of the boulders that make the rapid.

Powerline Falls on the Rio Grande, with Kathy

Powerline Falls with Kathy, June 5, 2017. Powerline Falls is the most unforgettable and photogenic rapid on the Taos Box section of the Rio Grande, located in the heart of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Kathy is the President of New Wave Rafting Company, and she likes to keep her hand in! After all, she’s only 66 years of age … Here, she is seen rowing the “chase boat” – an additional boat sent along as a back-up boat, on what would otherwise be a single boat Taos Box trip. In these photos, the river is running at about 2700 cubic feet a second, which is a very bouncy level. At this moment (June 7, 2017), the river continues to rise, as the newly-arrived warmth accelerates the snowmelt in the headwaters (the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, uphill of the former mining town of Creede). Who knows how high it will get this season? We’re all guessing.

Racecourse High Water

Racecourse High Water,  May, 18 2017. Our friends from Baylor University, in Waco, Texas, returned for a Racecourse trip, and enjoyed high water … and cool temps! They, of course, survived. The river is running at 3300 cfs today, making the Racecourse a Class 4 run.

The Chama Mama trip – 3 days in the NM wilds

On the weekend of Aug. 19-21, we had a full house of 16 women participate in the Chama Mama 3-day Chama Wildermess trip, a New Wave tradition. The four staff were: Kathy Miller, Pres. of New Wave, CJ Robison (who has been with New Wave for over 10 yrs.), Elisha MacArthur (guide from the Arkansas River) and Lorie Bonds Lopez, formerly an Outward Bound course leader. The group had good water and not much rain! Here’s what the group organizer has to say:

Back to the Box

Dead Car rapid, in the Taos Box
Dead Car rapid, in the Taos Box. Photo by Britt Runyon

Back to the Box! We’re thrilled to have good flows for our Taos Box run, and have 7 guests there today (along with some Box guide trainees), who will enjoy 80 degree temperatures, bighorn sheep sightings and maybe even see the otters, or golden eagles, or migrating western tanagers … or who knows what?

2016 Season Begins with a Bang!

Opening day in the Taos Box.
Our Box crew, at the John Dunn bridge Box put-in

2016 Season Begins with a Bang! New Wave began its 2016 season on Saturday, March 12, with a Taos Box trip and a Racecourse trip. For the Box,the weather was nice to begin, but then the wind started to blow! The party saw an otter and lots of bighorn sheep. Britt Runyon guided the Taos Box trip, with 4 guests from New York (see photo below) . Britt got an assist from Mike Boren, who rowed a support boat. We never send a single, unaccompanied, boat down the Box. Here’s the Box crew.