U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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River Segments, Rio Grande and Rio Chama


Ute Mountain | Razorblades | Upper Box | La Junta | Taos Box | Orilla Verde | Racecourse | Bosque | Rio Chama
 

Ute Mountain

Rating: Class II
Mileage: 24 miles
Gradient: 5 feet/mile average
Land Status: BLM

Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:

  • Lobatos Bridge
  • Stateline
  • Lee Trail (take-out)
Although this is a Class II segment, erratic winds can make this a very difficult and unpredictable trip. There are very few opportunities for camping, unless you are inclined to climb the steep canyon walls to camp on the rim. In addition, all boating gear must be carried out on a 1/4 mile steep, primitive trail at the takeout. No boating may occur during the months of April and May for protection of wildlife species during the critical breeding period. Recommended minimum flows of 300 cfs.

Private Boaters: Please call for reservations, only one launch per day is permitted, register each trip at self-serve permit boxes.

 

Razorblades

Rating: Class IV+, advanced
Mileage: 6 miles
Gradient: Approximately 47 feet per mile
Land Status: BLM

Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:

  • Sunshine Valley Trail
  • Lee Trail
  • Chiflo Trail
A short and fast section of river with difficult access due to steep 1/4+ mile trails at both ends of the trip. The section is pool-drop at lower flows, but as flows reach 2,000 cfs the segment becomes one continuous rapid. A great expert kayak or inflatable kayak run!

Private Boaters: Please call for reservations and register each trip at self-serve permit boxes. Road conditions to Sunshine valley can be difficult during rainy season.

 

Upper Box

Wild Rivers Area of the Rio Grande Gorge

Rating: Class V-VI, expert
Mileage: 6.5 miles
Gradient: 69 Feet/mile
Land Status: BLM

Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:

  • Chiflo Trail
  • Little Arsenic Trail
Predominantly an expert kayak run with extensive scouting required. River changes dramatically with a change in water levels. Long difficult rapids with a remote gorge make this section an expert only run. Access to the put-in and take-out is difficult due to the long steep hike to the river.

Private Boaters: Please call for reservations and register each trip at self-serve permit boxes. Shuttle is kept simple if you stay in the Wild Rivers Recreation area, other than the long steep carry out.

 

La Junta

Rating: Class III, intermediate
Mileage: 9.5 miles
Gradient: 13 feet/mile
Land Status: BLM/Forest Service

Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:

  • Little Arsenic Spring
  • Cebolla Mesa
  • Miners Trail
  • John Dunn Bridge (takeout)
Each of the three access trails to the river requires a 1 mile hike. This is a beautiful stretch of river with several class III rapids depending on the water flow and put-in location. Road conditions for the Cebolla Mesa and Miners trail can be impassable during the rainy season.

Private Boaters: Please call for reservations and register each trip at self-serve permit boxes.

 

Taos Box

Rating: Class IV, advanced
Mileage: 15 miles
Gradient: 31 feet/mile
Land Status: Bureau of Land Management at the put-in and west side of river down to take-out. Taos Pueblo Tribal Lands from the high bridge (Hwy. 64) to the Rio Pueblo confluence.

Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:

  • John Dunn Bridge
  • Taos Junction Bridge (take-out)
Adequate day use parking at each access site. This is a classic pool drop run, with fairly heavy commercial raft use in the spring. Recommend flows of 600 cfs and up is suggested. Very isolated gorge with little access after put-in. Two hot springs along the river are popular depending on water level, at higher water pools are flooded. There is only one campsite on this river segment at Ski Jump rapid. Please call to reserve the campsite.

Private Boaters: Please register each trip at self-serve permit boxes. Long shuttle can take up to 2 hrs.

 

Orilla Verde

Orilla Verde Area of the Rio Grande Gorge

Rating: Class II
Mileage: 6 Miles
Gradient: 8 feet per mile
Land Status:  Mostly BLM:  Private land in the Village of Pilar is a quiet zone.   Please keep voices to a conversational level - no shouting or water fights.   No stopping except in emergencies

Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:

  • Taos Junction Bridge
  • Cable Site - Kayaks only
  • Lone Juniper Site
  • Arroyo Hondo Campground
  • Rio Bravo Campground

Short-term mooring throughout Orilla Verde to use recreation area facilities is permitted.  However, use only unoccupied shelters or other campsites.  Please do not traverse through occupied campsites.

Boaters should use the opposite side of river from fishermen.  Park in designated areas only.  Day use fees are required for each private vehicle ($20.00 Annual Day Use Pass is available).  Fees and season passes are payable to all sites or the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center.

Private Boaters:  Please register each trip at self-serve permit boxes.

Bridges become hazards to navigation at high water levels (i.e. above 4,000 CFS)

 

Racecourse

Rating: Class III - IV
Mileage: 5 miles
Gradient: 27 feet/mile
Land Status: Mostly BLM:  Private land near Glenn-Woody Bridge.   Please do not stop there.

Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:

  • Souse Hole
  • Quartzite Site
  • County Line Site
Observe all parking restrictions.  Park in designated parking areas only.  Do not park within 30 feet of Highway 68 - State Police will issue citations for parking violations.  Allow space for large busses with trailers to turn around.

Private Boaters:   Please register each trip at self-serve permit boxes.  This is very important information for planning - please comply.

Bridges become hazards to navigation at high water levels (i.e. above 4,000 CFS)

 

Bosque

Rating: Class II
Mileage: 6.5 miles to Embudo Station, 8.5 miles to Velarde Dam
Gradient: 12 feet/mile
Land Status: Primarily private - approximately 30% BLM.  Please observe the quiet zone; keep voices to a conversational level - no shouting or water fights.  No stopping except on BLM land (signs are posted indicating where you enter/leave BLM land).

Riparian (stream-side) habitat supports many species of wildlife.   Please use only designated boat launch and take out areas to respect private property and protect significant riparian zones.

Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:

  • County Line Site
  • BLM Beach Site
  • Embudo Station Restaurant
Observe all parking restrictions.  Park in designated parking areas only.  Do not park within 30 feet of Highway 68 - State Police will issue citations for parking violations.  Allow space for large busses with trailers to turn around.

The Embudo Station take-out is reserved for patrons of the restaurant, alternate take-out is on river left, across from the Embudo Station.

Private Boaters:  Please register each trip at self-serve permit boxes.

Bridges become hazards to navigation at high water levels (i.e. above 6,000 CFS)

 

Rio Chama

Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River | Map of the Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River

Rating: Class II-III
Mileage:
  • 31 miles - El Vado Ranch to Big Eddy takeout
  • 22 1/4 miles from El Vado Ranch to Chavez Canyon
  • 8 1/4 miles from Chavez Canyon to Big Eddy

Gradient: 15 feet per mile

Minimum Flow Needs: For kayaks (inflatable or hard shell), canoes, and rafts less than 12', at least 300 cfs is recommended. For rafts over 12' in length, a minimum of 500 cfs is recommended.

USGS Maps: Abiquiu, Canones, Echo Amphitheater, Ghost Ranch, Laguna Peak, Navajo Peak (all 7.5').

 
Designated Launch/Takeout Sites:  (Rio Chama)
  • Put-in is at El Vado Ranch, off NM 112, West of NM Highway 84, between El Vado Lake and Abiquiu Reservoir.
  • Take-outs at Chavez Canyon and Big Eddy are accessed by Forest Road 151 which begins ½ mile north of Ghost Ranch Living Museum on Highway 84. Forest Road 151 may be hazardous when wet.
  • Shuttle: 50 miles one-way. Shuttle services are normally available - contact BLM at 575-751-4731 for current information, or call Up the Creek Shuttle Service at 575-588-7704.

 
Last updated: 03-06-2013