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Rafting and Kayaking In Taos

Having the Rio Grande in your backyard creates a great opportunity for world class rafting and kayaking. Indeed you can easily sign up for a half day, full day, over night or even two day white water adventure.


The waters of the Rio Grande River begin as snow melt in the San Juan Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This creates fantastic opportunities for water sports.

Millions of years of spring floods have carved the deep canyon across Taos Mesa. In 1968 this area was designated by Congress as one of the nation’s first Wild and Scenic Rivers. Wildlife includes elk, deer, river otters, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep. The canyon walls also are home to many plant species including sage, pinon, and juniper trees thousands of years old.

Most rafting occurs between Questa (north of Taos) and Pilar (south of Taos). This area is divided into full day rafting sections known as the Middle Box, the Taos Box, and the Lower Gorge. The Lower Gorge is divided into two half-day areas including the Orilla Verde which is an easy float; and the Racecourse including rapids. Even further south, Los Rios provides opportunities for overnight trips through Whiterock Canyon which is located between Los Alamos and Santa Fe.



The Chama River is wild and scenic. The walls of the sandstone canyon are striped with shades of different colors and types of rock and tower above some 1,500 feet high. At river level you will see plenty of plant and animal life. The Chama is a tributary of the Rio Grand. Many rafters begin their journey below El Vado dam, near the town of Tierra Amarilla. Then they can stop below Christ in the Desert Monastery, north of the Abiquiu reservoir. Dam control permits a natural stream flow in springtime and a release season that occurs from mid-July to Labor Day. Good levels of water are most reliable from Friday to Sunday. The rapids on the Chama are rated as easy Class Three. These are located in the final few miles below the monastery.

Here are some rafting companies that you can consider for your water adventure.

Los Rio River Runners

Far Flung Adventures

New Wave Rafting