Rad Rivers

River rafting is a great way to get outdoors and experience the unique beauty of the Río Grande and other rivers.

By Cindy Brown

Taos rafting outfitters are looking forward to a spectacular season. With all the learning from last year about how to keep people COVID-safe, the outfitters are welcoming guests to a new season of fun on the river.

Rafters arrive at Souse Hole on the Río Grande. Taos News file photo

The raft trips vary from calm to thrilling depending on the difficulty of the rapids, but all trips feature the magic of being on the river and sights that might include ancient petroglyphs, otters, ducks, eagles and big horn sheep. River rafting is a great way to really experience the beauty of river life with its adventure and surprises.

Morgan Timms/Taos News

New Mexico River Adventuresgetting outside

At New Mexico River Adventures, Matt Gontram says “Everything is looking good and we are excited for the season. We have a great group of guides ready to take people on the river.”

New Mexico River Adventures will continue to follow all the same COVID protocols from last year with extensive sanitizing and wearing of masks everywhere except on the raft. Because there is no mixing of groups in rafts, people can remove the masks for the time on the river.

“It feels like we are rounding the corner, but we will continue to follow all the COVID protocols as they evolve. Everyone wants to get outside” says Gontram. “We are looking forward to a great season in the Taos Box and the Racecourse and are hopeful we can run our multiday trips on the Río Chama.”

For more information and reservations, call New Mexico River Adventures at 505-983-7756 or 800-983-7756; and visit the website at newmexicoriveradventures.com.

Courtesy Heritage Inspirations/Photo by Amanda Powell

Heritage Inspirationsadventure, wine and food

Heritage Inspirations partners with New Mexico River Adventures to offer Taos River Adventures – a full day’s journey along the scenic Río Grande for an active water, hike, and culinary adventure.

“Tours such as Hike & Raft, Kayak or SUP Río Grande Adventure + Wine Tasting allow our guests the choice to either stand-up paddle board, kayak or raft for a mild to wild paddle experience. Our Culinary + Wine Rafting Adventure Tour navigates the Racecourse section of the Río Grande and is great fun for everyone, offering a little thrill and adrenaline to set you up for a great afternoon savoring our decadent gourmet picnics and wine tasting,” says Angelisa Murray.

“Lunches are prepared by a local Taos chef and are perfectly paired with a wine tasting enjoyed at Vivac Winery.” Tours start at the Heritage Inspirations Taos Headquarters Travel Hub located at El Monte Sagrado Resort. Learn more by calling 1-888-344-8687 or visit heritageinspirations.com.

Cisco Guevara guides a raft through the Sunset Rapid in the Taos Box. File photo

Los Rios River Runnersriver, culture and sports

For more than 40 years, Los Rios River Runners has been offering rafting adventures on the Río Grande. Founded by local storytelling legend Cisco Guevara, the company also offers trips enhanced by Pueblo culture and sports so you can raft, rock climb, bicycle or horseback ride.

“This season looks great with all the early spring snowstorms adding to the snowpack,” says Guevara. “Looks like we will have good water levels this year. Bookings are strong and we anticipate being sold-out for much of the season. To deal with COVID protocols we are offering private adventures and have a gear rental program.” Contact Los Rios River Runners at 575-776-8854 or visit losriosriverrunners.com.

Families on The Racecourse with New Wave Rafting. Courtesy New Wave Rafting

New Wave Rafting — family outings

“The Racecourse is our most popular trip,” says Britt Runyon at New Wave Rafting. “We see a lot of family outings on this trip because it has some class III rapids that are fun for everyone age 6 and up.” Runyon points out that this spring Taos was at 105 percent of normal snowpack for the Upper Río Grande Basin.  Last year a popular activity turned out to be the rental of the inflatable kayak known as a funyak.

“We provide a shuttle to the Río Grande del Norte Monument starting at the Taos Junction Bridge and you can explore the river at your own pace. It’s a good way to socially distance and see the Orilla Verde section of the river,” says Runyon.

The Taos Box should be a memorable trip this year. “We are looking forward to the Taos Box with its class IV and V rapids. They should be going gang busters,” says Runyon. Contact New Wave Rafting at 800-984-1444 or on-line at newwaverafting.com.

Big River Billy takes an excited boat of river runners safely down the Racecourse on the Río Grande. Courtesy Big River Raft Trips

Big River Raft Trips life is big, folks!

At Big River Raft Trips, Billy Miller is looking forward to tons and tons of water to float his boats. He plans to run trips every day through the summer and into the fall if the water stays high.

Safety first is his motto. The company is following COVID-safe protocols – wearing masks in vehicles and on shore. “We don’t know of a single case of COVID that was transmitted by river rafting last season,” says Miller. With new boats and equipment, everything is ready for a fantastic season.

“We are so excited, we can’t stand it,” says Miller. Life is big, folks. You got to get out and do stuff.” 

Call 800-748-3746 to find Big River Raft Trips or visit bigriverrafts.com.

Courtesy Far Flung Adventures

Far Flung Adventuresa good year

Far Flung Adventures are doing everything necessary to keep their guests and staff safe and healthy.

“We have modified our vans and added plastic shields and removed seats for safely transporting groups with social distancing,” says manager Bill Blackstock. “We ask COVID screening questions and wipe down everything to keep it sterile. We are able to operate safely.”

With the above average snowpack, Far Flung is looking forward to trips on the Río Grande Racecourse and Taos Box, along with some Río Chama trips. “It’s going to be a good year and we are excited about that,” says Blackstock.

Contact Far Flung Adventures at 575-758-2628 or visit farflung.com.