Rio Grande Razorblades!

April 4th, 2014

Last week, our guides headed up to run one of their annual training trips on the coveted Razorblades section of the Rio Grande.  This section is one of the favorites for New Mexico River Adventures as we have the distinction of the only company in New Mexico to offer trips here.  The section is found in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area and is absolutely beautiful.

Known for its remote setting and continuous and challenging whitewater, the Razorblades is not for the timid.  This trip is special for so many reasons but most of all, it provides a true “expedition” style trip condensed into one single day.  The guides work very hard on these trips carrying each raft, weighing about 100 lbs, in addition to all of the safety gear and lunch down a steep trail to the put-in.  From here, the guides inflate the rafts while the trip leader covers an extensive safety orientation with all of the guests.  Once the gear is ready and everyone is familiar with the basics of boat and paddling dynamics as well as river safety and hazards, its time to get wet!

Ask any of the guides what their favorite part of a trip to the Razorblades and most will tell you its the canyon.  This part of the Rio Grande Gorge is hardly ever visited.  As I mentioned before, New Mexico River Adventures is the only company offering trips here, additionally, there are very few private boating trips that make the trip to this incredibly scenic, challenging and remote section of the Rio Grande Gorge.  This makes for an extremely special day in the Rio Grande wilderness and one that you are sure not to forget for years to come.

We are hopeful that the river flows will allow us to enjoy the Razorblades through the middle of May during this 2014 season.  Unfortunately, the water level window for the Razorblades is just a bit smaller than that of the Taos Box.  Call one of our friendly reservation staff for more information or to reserve your space for this one-of-a-kind whitewater experience in Northern New Mexico and in the remote Rio Grande Gorge.

The 2014 Season is On!

March 17th, 2014

It’s that time of year again!  With the warmer weather and spectacular river levels, we have decided to start our 2014 season for Santa Fe rafting and Taos rafting earlier than normal.  Our guides have been out on the river daily for the last few weeks enjoying the great water levels and weather and have decided that they can’t keep it all to themselves.  With Spring Break around the corner, we have to share some of these great trips with all of our guests by opening our doors a few weeks early and getting out on the river!  Please give us a call for all of your Taos Rafting and Santa Fe Rafting needs.  Lets go boating!

Spring Break In The Taos Box!

March 17th, 2014

Well, the sun is shining, the Rio Grande is up and we are experiencing spectacular Taos rafting and Santa Fe rafting for the spring season here in Northern New Mexico.  The Rio Grande in the Taos Box is close to 700cfs and we have had some wonderfully warm and sunny days in between healthy, high water content storms blanketing the Upper Rio Grande Watershed.  This means potentially great Taos rafting opportunities during Spring Break as well as consistent flows and Santa Fe rafting into the summer months.

New Mexico River Adventures crew below the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

The crew at New Mexico River Adventures has been wasting no time and taking full advantage of these early season flows and weather.  Our guides have already close to 20 Racecourse trips braving the cooler temperatures in February and enjoying the increased flows and the best of Santa Fe rafting so far in March.  As for the other sections of the river including the Taos Box and the Razorblades, we have been training hard and enjoying some great runs in anticipation for our Spring Break start in the coming days.  Our Taos rafting trips are the best in the area and we are looking forward to another incredible season starting now!

Whitewater Action in the Taos Box!

Of course, if you’re in town for skiing and the weather is a bit warmer than you expected, think about an alternative.  Try a day of Santa Fe rafting on the Racecourse with us or try a full day trip on the Taos Box.  Either way, you won’t be disappointed with the great water levels and superb weather on the many sections of the river that you may explore with New Mexico River Adventures.  Our Season has officially opened so please give us a call for more information about whitewater action near Santa Fe and Taos!

Things To Do In Taos

March 7th, 2014

One hour north of Santa Fe and just south of the Colorado border, you’ll find the very wonderful town of Taos.  Situated in an extremely scenic part of the state, backing up to the Sangre de Cristo mountains, Taos is certainly one of a kind!  Sure, Taos Ski Valley is world famous for its amazing terrain and short to non existent lift lines, there is so much more to this Northern New Mexican town.  And, during the summer months, its often overlooked or only visited as a day trip for people staying in Santa Fe.  Well, let me tell you that this place has so much more to offer all year around.

First and foremost, this is the place for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.  There is no other destination in the great state of New Mexico that offers more opportunities to get outside and enjoy than the Taos area.   If you are a hiker, the highest peak in New Mexico sits at 13,161ft in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area. The views are plentiful from start to finish on this amazing climb. If you are not up for strenuous hike, just do the first section which will take you to Williams Lake where you can enjoy a nice picnic.

Don’t forget about Taos’ museums and first on the list is the Harwood Museum of Art.  This is a great stop for everyone visiting Taos and located just steps from the Taos Plaza. The mission of the Harwood Museum of Art of the University of New Mexico is to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the arts, especially those created in, inspired by, or relevant to northern New Mexico. The Harwood’s permanent collection includes over 4,000 works of art and a photographic archive of 17,000 images spanning a period from the 19th Century to the present. The collection is a unique record of both the community’s rich multicultural heritage and Taos’ role in the development of seminal American art.

The most visited site surrounding Taos is by far the Gorge Bridge which also holds the distinction as the seventh highest bridge in the country.   The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge sits 565 feet above the mighty Rio Grande and offers amazing views upstream and downstream. Bring your binoculars and you may be lucky enough to spot a herd of the newly reintroduced big horn sheep roaming around the canyon walls. One of our most favorite whitewater runs flows right underneath the bridge, The Taos Box.

No trip to Taos would be complete during the Spring and Summer months without a descent of the mighty Rio Grande.  Whether its a full day Taos Box rafting trip or a half day Racecourse rafting trip, everyone must experience the thrilling rapids and amazing canyons and landscapes of one of the best known and certainly historic rivers in the country.  Check it out!

Things To Do In Santa Fe

February 28th, 2014

Chop up one history lesson — one part Mexican, one part American — pour in a large cup of artistic talent, then stir in some spicy chile peppers and whisk it all together in a mixing bowl, and let your creation bake for 400 years. What have you just made? Most likely, something similar to the delectable city of Santa Fe. With a culture based on a variety of unusual ingredients, including Gothic cathedrals, a love for the great outdoors, chile-infused cuisine and a profound emphasis on the arts, this truly is the “City Different.” This town also preserves a historic feel — with Spanish-influenced architecture and buildings that date back to the 16th century — still, the main reason people visit is for its art. The works artists like Georgia O’ Keeffe, Peter Hurd and Miro Kenarov fill the galleries, works that were largely inspired by the city’s dramatic, evolving landscape.

Santa Fe’s restaurant scene is incredibly competitive and you’re likely guaranteed a great meal no matter where you eat. The city offers a wide variety of international cuisine, but traditional Santa Fe fare is not to be missed.  Always ask your local concierge or even better, your river guide and you will be steered toward the best restaurants in town.  Special emphasis should always be placed on good Chile, both red and green.  Try Maria’s, La Choza or Tecalote for starters but trust me, the list is much longer!

After lunch, many people focus on seeing as much of the amazing art galleries, museums and exhibits of which Santa Fe is famous.  On the long list and not to be missed is the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art and a long stroll up Canyon Road which is famous for its wide array of galleries.  For the kiddos, a trip to the Santa Fe Childrens Museum is a nice break from the galleries and a fun few hours of interactive exhibits sure to entertain.

Santa Fe Rafting

For outdoor enthusiasts, Ski Santa Fe is a world class ski area just minutes from downtown with the best months for good conditions being Dec. through March.  The hiking at Bandelier National Monument is superb as well as a trip to Tent Rocks National Monument.  But, of course, from April though September, the most exciting and interesting outdoor pursuits are found on the Rio Grande and Rio Chama with your good friends at New Mexico River Adventures.  ENJOY!!

Getting to Know the Gorge: La Senda del Medio

February 25th, 2014

La Senda del Medio trail is considered easy to moderate and has multiple starting and finishing points throughout the Lower Rio Grande Gorge and the end of the newly designated Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.  The BLM has been working on this trail system for sometime with the hopes of linking a nice trail for visitors to enjoy paralleling the Rio Grande without having to much impact from county rd 570 which follows the river from Pilar to the Taos Junction Bridge.  There are accesses to the trail system at each BLM developed campground which makes for a nice stroll to and from camp in the morning or afternoon.

As of now, La Senda del Medio trail is just over 2 miles one way from the Pilar Campground to the newly re-made Petaca Campground.  In general there is very little up and down and not too strenuous of a trek.  This makes this hike just about perfect for everyone.  The trail itself has been very well made with plenty of width and some very interesting paths winding through some impressively large boulders and Pinon and Juniper trees.

The views both upstream and down here are spectacular.  In the early evening, this would be a photographers dream with very special sunset photo opportunities.  Of course, always keep your eyes peeled for Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep in between the trail and the Rim.  I did see both deer and sheep tracks on my last venture along La Senda del Medio and sheep have been spotted, although not often, well downstream of the Pilar Campground.

If you ever wanted to spend more than just a half of a day or a full day on the river, I highly recommend one of the many 2 day trips offered by New Mexico River Adventures on the Rio Grande.  Many of these trips spend the night in this scenic part of the Gorge and offer up some nice late afternoon and early evening opportunities to enjoy the many trails in the National Monument including La Senda del Medio trail.  The 2 most popular of these options would be the Classic Taos Box 2 Day and the 24 hours on the Rio Grande.  Just ask one of our friendly reservation staff about dates and availability.

The Taos Box Canyon

February 6th, 2014

The famous Taos Box Rafting trip is truly one of the greatest single day rafting trips in the country. Nowhere else can you find the same quality whitewater in such a remote and pristine canyon with incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. The “Box” flows through the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge some 800 feet deep.

It is the centerpiece of the newly designated Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.    As well, it is the most visited area by tourists in Northern New Mexico.  During the summer months, the famous Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, is full of people looking upstream and downstream and watching rafts and kayaks pass by 800 feet down.   On some days you can even see herds of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep pass by close to the bridge.   In 1968, this portion of the Rio Grande was one of eight rivers to receive the first ‘Wild and Scenic’ designation from the U.S. Congress.  One more reason that this one of the most special river sections to run in the country.

Of course, the only way to see the entire 16 miles of the Taos Box Canyon is by the river.  The rafting trip meets at our Headquarters at 8 am and is usually back to the Headquarters between 3 and 4 pm.  The layout of the whitewater is perfect.  A nice mellow start with some very interesting points of interest including hot springs and petroglyphs.  Gradually we encounter class 3 and above rapids.

After a superb riverside lunch prepared by the guides, the rafts continue into one of the most remote portions of the canyon. In the final five miles of this Taos Box Rafting trip, the gradient increases and the rapids become more intense and come in much quicker succession. Brace yourself in and paddle hard through these steep and visually stunning rapids! You are almost guaranteed to spot Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep leaping across boulders below the cliffs or enjoying a drink from the river as well as river otter and a large variety of birds of prey as you float through this spectacular canyon.

There is no question that this Taos Box Rafting trip is one of the greatest in the country.  Come experience for yourself.  The best time of year to run this section of the Rio Grande is April through June.  Please contact us to get a better idea of when the spring runoff will be best for you to plan your New Mexico rafting trip.

Getting to know the Gorge: Vista Verde Trail

February 3rd, 2014

The Vista Verde Trail in the Rio Grande Gorge is one of the easiest and most pleasant trails in the area.  The trail head can be found on the north side of NM 567, mid-slope between the Taos Junction Bridge and the Gorge Rim. It offers a little of everything without being too long or strenuous.  The trail itself is about 2.5 miles round trip.  There is a small elevation loss near the beginning of the trail and the rest is fairly flat.  You will be walking along the first plateau up from the river which is quite wide and offers various overlooks down to the river.

If you know where to look, you will find various petroglyphs both near and far from the trail.  There are several areas containing carved symbols left by various Native American tribes, as well as Spanish travelers and others, who moved through the area. Spanish crosses can be seen near the trail. In an area further from the path, there is a grouping of circular designs, as well as depictions of human-like figures and long-flowing curves.

At the end of the Vista Verde Trail, the BLM has put in a nice bench situated perfectly for the best view upstream in the gorge.  This is one of my favorite spots to enjoy the river and the gorge.  If you like, you can also access the river from here or just simply turn around and start the 1.25 mile return trip to the parking area.  Look out for Bighorn sheep year around as well as a large variety of birds of prey including Bald Eagles in the winter months.

Sometimes used by fisherman to access the lower reaches of the largely inaccessible Taos Box canyon, this trail’s various off-shoots down to the river are a nice way to enjoy some nice, private river time.  Just be aware of the Taos Box rafters coming around the corner during the higher water months of April through June.  I enjoy this area immensely in the winter and in the warmer summer months when the swimming is good and the water temperatures of the Rio Grande are much higher.  just remember to always wear a PFD (personal flotation device) when swimming in any swift water.  Get out and explore the amazing Rio Grande Gorge!

Join the Fight to Save the Gila River!

January 31st, 2014

New Mexico’s last free flowing river, the Rio Gila, is under the threat of a new dam and diversion project.  This project makes absolutely no economic sense and will at the same time, decimate one of the nations largest wilderness areas as well as drying up New Mexico’s last free flowing river, the Rio Gila.  The following is a copy of the speech read by Cissy McAndrew. Executive Director of the Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce based in Silver City.  This was presented on January 28th at the Capital in Santa Fe.  She has been a tireless opponent of the dam project and represents a huge population of New Mexicans for free flowing rivers and sustained tourism based on outdoor recreation which ultimately provides millions of dollars to the New Mexican economy annually.  Please take a minute to sign the following online petition.

Senator Howie Morales speaking out against the Gila Dam project

“The Gila region where I live is a unique place. We’re the gateway to the nation’s first Wilderness Area – the Gila Wilderness – part of the 3 million acre Gila National Forest. Our rich cultural history spans the centuries from the Mogollon people who left behind the Gila Cliff Dwellings to the Apache whose fearless leader, Geronimo, was born in the area, to farming, ranching, mining and a thriving arts community. We are also home to New Mexico’s last free-flowing river, the Gila River.

Recreation and tourism are one of the primary economic drivers in my community generating $34 million – $61 million in each southwestern New Mexico county in 2011 according to recent estimates. Our priority at the SWNM Green Chamber of Commerce is to maintain our unique sense of place, vibrant community and irreplaceable environment, such as the Gila River.

However, the Gila is threatened by a major water diversion and pipeline project being considered by the NM Interstate Stream Commission under the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA). The latest estimates show that the project could cost between $300 million and $500 million, but because the federal subsidy available under the AWSA won’t cover all of the construction cost, the NM taxpayer could be left picking up the tab for $200 million – $350 million. This project could also impair this wild river that supports abundant wildlife and attracts outdoor recreationists spending time and money in New Mexico.

The SWNM Green Chamber of Commerce along with our statewide New Mexico Green Chamber and Las Cruces Green Chamber, and more than 300 businesses across the state signed on to a letter opposing a costly Gila River diversion and in support of cost-effective conservation alternatives that can meet our region’s water supply needs now and well into the future, while also maintaining the economic benefits from recreation and tourism that the Gila River provides.

Senate Bill 89 and Senate Bill 90 introduced last week by Senator Peter Wirth and Senator Howie Morales would make AWSA funding available for cost-effective water supply projects that meet our needs immediately and would also ensure that the New Mexico budget is not burdened by hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for an unnecessary Gila River diversion project.

These are fiscally responsible approaches to meeting southwestern New Mexico’s long-term water needs, that respect our region’s desire to maintain our unique community and environment, and that fuel future economic development that will move our communities forward.

What Do I Need To Bring?

January 25th, 2014

What do you need to bring on a rafting trip? Good Question.  We are always asked by our guests what exactly they need to wear and bring for each rafting trip. If we could only predict the weather everyday, it wold be a much easier question to answer.  Unfortunately we can’t, so we try our best to let all of our guests know about our typical weather patterns throughout the season here in Northern New Mexico.  At New Mexico River Adventures, our guests comfort on the river is first and foremost, not to mention a potential safety issue.  For those reasons, we have never charged anything extra for the use of wetsuits, splash jackets or some extra warm layers if you happen to be cold.

A Beautiful Rainy Afternoon on the Rio Chama

There are a few different factors to keep in mind when planning what to bring on your rafting trip.  First of all, know what type of trip you reserved.  If it is a more challenging trip like the Taos Box or the Razorblades then you should know that the chances of getting wet more often are pretty good.  Also, if your trip is planned for April and May or if the water levels are particularly high, you might get cooler easier.  During these times, the general rule of thumb is to avoid cotton clothing.  Cotton will suck the warmth from your body and should be avoided on cooler and more intense river trips.  The best types of clothing are made of synthetic materials such as polypropilene, capilene, fleece and wool.  These days, its pretty easy to find clothing like this at your local sports or outdoor recreation store.  When the weather is warmer in July and Aug and the water levels are lower, a t-shirt and shorts is usually just fine.  We always offer nylon splash jackets for you to use if you like.  The most important item to bring on any rafting trip, anytime of the year is good footwear.  This includes sneakers, water shoes and sandals with heal straps.  Basically, anything that will stay on your feet while you are in the water and NO flip flops.

Warm Water Fun on the Racecourse

Always remember to ask one of our friendly reservation staff all about the weather and water conditions for your trip and they will be sure to give you helpful hints on what to bring and always be sure to visit our website which has all the information you need to know about each and every river adventure we offer.