White-water Rafting and Kayaking White-water Rafting and Kayaking

Colorado Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
Rio Chama River Rafting & Kayaking


The Rio Chama runs from the San Juan Mountains in Colorado to northwest of Santa Fe in Northern New Mexico. This designated "Wild and Scenic River" is a major tributary of the Rio Grande, controlled by the Heron Dam. This calm river is the perfect family adventure with class II-III rapids along its coarse. The Rio Chama is rafted from late April to mid-June, but occasional weekend releases from the dam make rafting possible on weekends. Rafting of the river begins below the El Vado Reservoir.

The river runs through many sights. The river is surrounded by ponderosa pines and multi-colored cliffs from the Triassic and Jurassic ages that inspired the art of Georgia O'Keefe. These cliffs stretch as high as 1,500 feet from the river, creating a remote canyon, abounding in wildlife and birdlife. The river runs through these Alpine woodlands with brown and rainbow trout, but flowing into the head of the Abiquiu Reservoir as a silty desert river. Also along the river are ancient Indian ruins, dinosaur tracks from Jurassic era mud flats, and old homestead ranches.

The International Rapid Rating Scale:

  • Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles, small waves.
  • Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids, wide, clear channels.
  • Class III: Intermediate. Rapids, moderate, irregular waves.
  • Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful rapids, precise boat handling.
  • Class V: Expert. Long, obstructed, violent rapids.

More Activities & Information

Chama, New Mexico

Rafting & Kayaking in Colorado

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