Call: (800) 984-1444
Taos/Rio Arriba County Line at 10:30 AM, and finishes there at approx. 4:00 PM (see map)
This full-day trip combines a morning float (Class 2) in the very scenic Orilla Verde Recreation Area, with an exciting afternoon of white water on the Racecourse (Class 3/Moderate, Class 4/Difficult, in high water). Less challenging than the Taos Box, this trip is ideal for families. Kids love to jump in and float in their life jackets in the morning and swim during lunch. The morning portion of the Rio Grande Gorge trip is identical to our New Wave No Wave float trip, which accompanies it. This affords families with younger children (4 or 5 years of age) or older persons the opportunity to have some family members get off after lunch, while the rest of the group continues into the whitewater. A vehicle will be left for those who get off after lunch, and they can then follow the progress of the others downstream from roadside view points, if they wish. Minimum age is 6 (minimum age higher, in high water).
A riverside buffet style lunch, a life jacket, rain gear, helmet and paddle. We also provide funyaks at no extra cost in low water conditions (for those in good physical condition). Just ask.
Appropriate footwear for yourself (running shoes or sport sandals with extra strap or water shoes or dive booties), a change of clothes and drinking water.
Below the Taos Box stretch, the Rio Grande enters the Orilla Verde (“Green Banks”) Recreation Area, administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Developed campgrounds are located along the riverside for seven miles in this very beautiful portion of the Rio Grande Gorge, accessed by NM 570. The Rio Grande is gentle in this portion (Class 2, “easy”), making for a relaxing “float” (little or no whitewater) trip. The Orilla Verde Recreation Area is included in the newly designated Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. The Recreation Area ends at the Village of Pilar. Here the river runs smack into the Picuris Mountains and is directed to the west. Hemmed in by basalt mesas to the north and the quartzite cliffs of the Picuris Mountains to the south, the river enters the Racecourse whitewater section (Class 3 – “moderate”). This is the most popular whitewater rafting and kayaking stretch in the State, with continuous rapids for five miles. It ends with the legendary Souse Hole Rapid, which is Class 4 in higher water, and the spot where the photographers of Southern Exposure catch the whitewater action.
Driving time to the County Line is one hour and fifteen minutes from Santa Fe and 40 minutes from Taos. Your car will be parked there. Give your car keys to our driver. We will shuttle you to the put-in. At the end of the trip you are back at your car.