Skip to main content
New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
Jump To The Top Of The Page

New Wave Rafting Blog

Whitewater Rafting in Northern New Mexico

The Rio Chama, Summer, 2018

Our other river is the Rio Chama, the next drainage to the west of the Rio Grande. It joins the Rio Grande at Española, just 20 miles to the south of our headquarters in Embudo. But it is remarkably unlike the Rio Grande in so far as its scenery is concerned. The Rio Grande runs along the Rio Grande Rift, which is responsible for the lava flows that have blanketed the Taos Plateau. The Rio Grande Gorge is cut into those grey and black flows.

The Rio Grande Gorge High Bridge

The Rio Chama, on the other hand, is to the west of all that volcanic activity. It sits on the eastern margin of the Colorado Plateau, that area known for its sandstone scenery. The Rio Chama has cut a canyon into colorful sandstone formations – red, yellow and white strata are seen in the cliffs that contain the river. This is the sandstone scenery made famous in the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe, who lived in the Rio Chama Valley, in the small village of Abiquiu.

the Rio Chama
Chama Rock, on the Rio Chama
Rio Chama Canyon, sandstone cliffs and cottonwood
Placid water
Hot spring
Gypsum cliff
Cliffs of Entrada Sandstone
Swiss cheese wall
You can catch rainbow and brown trout in the dam-release waters of the Rio Chama

Reservoir storage on the Rio Chama is now providing good flows (800 cfs) for the 3-day Wilderness (from El Vado Reservoir) and 1-day Rio Chama (from Christ of the Desert Monastery) trips. Get three friends together and give us a call! 800-984-1444/