Whitewater Rafting Near Taos, NM: A Thrilling Adventure

by | May 13, 2023 | Videos, Whitewater Rafting | 0 comments

Located in northern New Mexico, Taos is a small town known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant art scene. But Taos is also a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering an array of thrilling activities such as skiing, hiking, and whitewater rafting.

Whitewater rafting is a popular adventure sport in Taos, thanks to the Rio Grande, a wild and scenic river that runs through the area. With its rapids ranging from Class II to Class V, the Rio Grande provides an exciting challenge for rafters of all skill levels.

In this blog, we will take a closer look at whitewater rafting near Taos, NM, including the best spots to go, the different types of rapids, and what to expect on your rafting trip.

Best Spots for Whitewater Rafting Near Taos, NM

The Rio Grande is the main river for whitewater rafting near Taos. The section of the river that runs through the Taos Box is the most popular for rafting, thanks to its thrilling rapids and stunning scenery.

The Taos Box is a 16-mile stretch of the Rio Grande that winds its way through a deep canyon with walls rising up to 800 feet on either side. The rapids in this section range from Class III to Class V, with names like Dead Car, Pinball, and Power Line.

Another popular section of the Rio Grande for whitewater rafting is the Racecourse, a 5-mile stretch of river that features Class II and III rapids. The Racecourse is a great option for families or beginners who want a fun and exciting introduction to whitewater rafting.

Types of Rapids

Whitewater rapids are classified based on their difficulty, with Class I being the easiest and Class V being the most challenging. The classification system takes into account factors such as the size and frequency of waves, the difficulty of maneuvering through the rapids, and the potential danger to rafters.

Here is a brief overview of the different classes of rapids:

Class I: These rapids are easy and usually feature small waves and a gentle current. Rafters can easily maneuver through these rapids without any special training.

Class II: These rapids are moderately easy and feature small waves and a slightly stronger current. Rafters may need to maneuver around obstacles such as rocks or small drops.

Class III: These rapids are moderately difficult and feature larger waves and a faster current. Rafters may need to make quick maneuvers to avoid obstacles or navigate through narrow channels.

Class IV: These rapids are difficult and feature large waves, strong currents, and obstacles such as rocks and drops. Rafters need to have experience and skill to navigate through Class IV rapids.

Class V: These rapids are extremely difficult and feature large waves, fast currents, and numerous obstacles. Rafters need to have expert skills and experience to navigate through Class V rapids.

What to Expect on Your Rafting Trip

Whitewater rafting is a thrilling adventure that offers a unique way to experience the beauty of nature. But before you hit the rapids, there are a few things you should know to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

First, make sure you are in good physical condition and able to handle the physical demands of rafting. Rafting can be a strenuous activity that requires paddling, maneuvering, and bracing against the rapids. If you have any health concerns, be sure to consult with your doctor before going rafting.

Below the Taos Box, a 10-mile stretch begins in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area, gaining momentum after the village of Pilar. Below the village, a series of moderately challenging rapids run alongside N.M. 68, providing entertainment to motorists and an easy escape for boaters. This five-mile section is known as the Racecourse. Several outfitters offer guided trips through this section, either as a day or half-day outing.


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