|Photo courtesy of New Wave Rafting.|
With so much snow in the mountains this winter rafting guides and outfitters are expecting a great runoff season.
“It should be a banner year on the Rio Grande Box,” says Steve Miller, president of the New Mexico River Outfitters Association.
And that means it should be a great year to take a hair-raising, white-knuckle ride guaranteed to make you feel alive.
The “Box” runs through a deep, rocky gorge in the Río Grande del Norte National Monument between the
at Arroyo Hondo to the John Dunn
above Pilar. Taos
It’s 16 miles of whitewater thrills and chills and one of northern
New Mexico’s best
outdoor adventures, Miller says.
Whitewater enthusiasts from around the country converge on the “Box” during high water years and this year is shaping up to be one of them.
Snow pack surveys by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service (USDA NCRS) show well above average levels in the mountains of southern
and New Mexico. Visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/nm/home/for more detailed information.
When all that snowpack melts and flows downstream through the state’s rivers, creeks and streams it produces great conditions for rafters, kayakers and canoeists.
Those interested in the sport can get a taste of all the fun by booking a trip with an experienced outfitter through www.raftnewmexico.org, Miller says.
Miller, who operates New Wave Rafting out of Embudo, says there are many different kinds of rafting trips to enjoy on the
|Rio Grande's "Race Course."|
There’s a fast, furious five-mile run featuring plenty of thrills that can be taken in the morning or afternoon on the “Race Course” between Quartzite and the
takeout. County Line
Those more interested in sightseeing including wildlife can take a gentler, seven-mile float through the Orilla Verde Recreation Area between the
and the Quartzite take out at Pilar. Taos Junction
|Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep at Pilar.|
There are also backcountry trips on the
and angling adventures as the
season progresses through the summer, Miller notes. Chama
Last year was one of the worst years on record for snowpack and the lack of runoff left many in the rafting industry struggling.
“We’re looking to rebound this year,” Miller says.
The great snowpack this year also should produce some much needed relief for many of the state’s reservoirs.
Reservoir levels monitored by the NCRS show many are at well below their average capacity and in need of replenishment.
The great winter snows combined with a good monsoon season this summer should go a long way towards reducing the drought conditions that have repeatedly plagued the state in recent years.