White water rafting is a truly unique way to experience Santa Fe’s beauty. Plus, there are a number of local outfitters who offer transportation to and from the rivers, food and drink, and, of course, all the equipment you will need to have the experience of a lifetime. Here’s your guide to white water rafting near Santa Fe.
Choosing the Right Rafting Class
Rafting is not a passive activity! Everyone is given an oar, and with frequent orders from the guide, helps to successfully steer the boat. Some trips are geared towards thrill-seekers, while others are offered for those who may want a more relaxing experience. The options range from Class I to Class VI (maximum difficulty.
Later in the summer, when the water levels are lower, many guides invite you to take a dip long the way. You might also want to try a self-powered trip on a “funyak,” an inflatable kayak, guaranteed to get you wet. Stand-up paddle boards are also available to try at calmer patches of water.
All outfitters employ highly experienced river guides, and your safety is their first priority.
Rafting for the Views
The mellower Chama River runs through Georgia O’Keefe country and is more of a “float” experience with only a few Class II rapids. It’s the perfect river trip for those less interested in adrenaline rushes, and more interested in spotting bald eagles, passing by 150-foot red-rock cliffs, and picnicking in a grove of Ponderosa pines. The Chama is regulate, which means the water is released from El Vado Dam on weekends, fewer boats are licensed to lead trips, and the river is much less populated.
Rafting for the Thrill-Seekers
A full-day, 17-mile trip down the Rio Grande Gorge through the “Box,” which starts northwest of Taos, is considered one of the best one-day wilderness trips in the US. The trip covers a whopping 60 rapids, including 15 Class IV. Tip: half-day options tend to be less challenging.
Overnight trips are also offered here, with everything from gourmet chefs and luxury camping, yoga classes, live music, fishing, even floating history lessons provided by Native American guides.
When: May through September.
Where: Rio Grande and Chama Rivers, north of Santa Fe.
Santa Fe Accommodations
For your white water rafting near Santa Fe getaway, book your stay at Inn of the Turquoise Bear. You’ll experience the ultimate summer vacation in the Land of Enchantment. Enjoy luxurious amenities, and fuel up before hitting the rapids with our delicious multi-course breakfast, which is included each day of your stay! We offer a truly authentic Southwest experience at our famous inn set in a historic adobe estate within walking distance to Santa Fe’s downtown attractions and dining.