Testimonial, 8-2-18. “Best guides ever”

“Best guides ever”.

“We had an awesome time!!!

Best guides ever. Joey and Orlando were fantastic, knowledgeable and and super fun. They had nothing but great things to say about you guys too.  You can tell they really love their job.  Coming back next year to do the Box.
Thank you so much.  So glad we called.
Amanda Holguin”

2017 Season Opener

2017 Season Opener.

With the river running at 700 cfs, we had 11 guests do the PM Racecourse with us on April 11.

The Pittman party (Britt Runyon photo)

A Pittman (Britt Runyon photo)

As regards the coming run-off on the Rio Grande, the snowpack is now at 135% of average, with the peak flows projected to be between 4000 and 8000 cfs! This run-off situation is being compared to that of 1985, which was huge. The peak will probably occur in the first week of June, so you high water addicts should start booking those dates. They will go fast, once the word is out.

The Rio Chama will also have high water, with 135% of average snowpack.

Meanwhile, the Racecourse becomes Class 4 at the higher flows, and may be considered as hard or harder than the Taos Box at max flows. This will require that we raise the minimum age of children on that run, as the water rises. Please inquire!

Mile-long Rapid on the Racecourse section, at high water (Class 4)



Orlando is “THE MAN” – Testimonials from Google My Business

Orlando Torres

Orlando Torres

Orlando is “THE MAN” – Testimonials from Google My Business, 6/20/16

“We did the Taos Box. This trip was one of the best outdoors trips I’ve done in my life. If you picture white water rafting this is what you are thinking about. Easily the best thing to do in New Mexico. Make sure your as for Orlando as your guide. He knows a lot about the landscape and hits the rapids the hardest.”

Austin Scigliano, 6/20/16

“By far the best thing I have done in New Mexico! I went on the Taos Box trip with some friends and let me say not only was it adventurous but taking in the landscape was breathtaking. Orlando is the best guide and also THE MAN. He knew a ton of interesting facts about the river involving the geogrpahy and history and Orlando truly showed that he cared about the river and knew how to have the most fun. An experience to remember and well worth the price.”

Julian Martinez, 6/20/16

Just who is Orlando? Orlando Torres is a native of Taos. Besides being a raft guide, he and his wife Nicole create extravagant jewelry built around semi-precious stones. In the winter, Orlando teaches snowboarding at Taos Ski Valley.

How Deep is the Water?

How Deep is the Water?

More often than you might imagine, prospective rafting customers ask me: “How deep is the water?”. Many people suppose that water depth is the only measure by which to assess the risk of drowning. “Is it over my head?”, is the implicit question. Of course, you can drown in shallow water, if you are unlucky enough. But most people know that, besides containing water, rivers are not like lakes. And lakes and oceans are where most people drown. Many people who drown in natural water settings are involved in recreational motorized boating accidents, are NOT wearing life jackets (Personal Flotation Devices aka pfds) and don’t know how to swim.

Rivers are similar to lakes in that the water near shore is usually not as deep as far from shore, but that can vary tremendously. Otherwise, there are many differences. Most river recreationists wear PFDs, and ALL commercial rafting participants wear PFDs, and often helmets. Rivers have current, while lakes do not. Current can get you in trouble, if you either fall out of a boat or the boat is overturned, because you must take action on your own behalf to return to the boat, go to shore or grab and hold onto a rope thrown to you. If the flow in the river is high, the current is correspondingly faster and more powerful, making you work harder to save yourself. Failing to get out of the river promptly exposes you to hazards, such as submerging you in certain river features or against obstacles found in the river, like tree limbs, and hypothermia (being dangerously cooled). This is why prospective rafting participants should ask whether the flow is high or not – not how “deep” it is. Another question a prospective rafter should ask is how shallow the river is. At low water, more rocks in the riverbed will be exposed, making it difficult to navigate. You might ask: “Is portaging (carrying) the raft required?” Otherwise, rivers have both deep and shallow spots. Rivers are generally deeper where the current is slow, and shallower where the current is fast, such as in rapids. So, in rivers, the deeper places are the safer places. Rapids occur where the river channel is narrower, and/or where rocks are scattered throughout, and/or where the riverbed drops more quickly. Rapids are rated on a 1-6 scale, with Class 3 being moderate difficulty/moderate danger, and 4 being more difficult/more dangerous. Most commercial raft trips take place on Class 3 water. Class 4 is for those wanting a greater challenge, and who are ready to accept the greater risks of the raft flipping over or being thrown from the raft, and the requirement to deal with turbulent water while getting to safety.

Final Drop rapid

Final Drop Rapid – Class 3. Racecourse, Rio Grande

Buzzsaw Rapid

Buzzsaw Rapid – Class 3. Taos Box, Rio Grande

The tight squeeze at the entry to Dead Car Rapid

Dead Car Rapid – Class 4. Taos Box, Rio Grande. Photo by Britt Runyon

Commercial rafting choices on most rivers usually include “float” trips – either on Class 1 (no waves) or Class 2 (small waves/little danger) water.

funyaking the bosque

Class 1. The Bosque, Rio Grande. Photo by Britt Runyon

Upstream view towards the put-in

Class 2. Racecourse, Rio Grande

When I’m asked: “How deep is the water” and/or told that the prospective participant can’t swim, you can guess what kind of trip I recommend.



Birds of the Box, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Birds of the Box, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.  Birds love rivers! Some birds eat fish, some eat insects that hatch out of the river, some eat subsurface insects, and some eat river-grown vegetation.


You know what the Great Blue Heron eats – everything that moves!


This is an American Dipper, or Water Ouzel. It dives to the bottom, where it probes for invertebrates, like the nymphs that fly fishermen imitate.


This nest has been used by ouzels for decades! As can be seen, it’s located within splashing range of some whitewater. Guess the name of that whitewater! Yep, it’s Ouzel Rapid.


The Black-crowned night heron comes out during the day, as well as at night.


Is this a Canadian goose … or a Canada goose.? He (or she) is the latter. They are also known as “honkers”. They eat grass.


What are these American cliff swallows up to? Well … they build spherical mud houses under overhangs. Here they’ve been disturbed, while gathering mud.


One of the prettiest birds you’ll see along the river – the Western tanager. But you have to be looking for them at the right time of the year. They are springtime migrants, using the Rio as a migration route.

These wonderful photos are by Britt Runyon, Operations Mgr. of NWRCo. He guides the Box all summer, and is never without his Nikon DSLR and 300mm telephoto lens. Nice work, huh?