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Old 03-17-2016   #1
mccall, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 14
Taos Box flows

I run a 14' cat. Curious if folks know what the minimum flows that are needed to be able to push this size boat down the upper and lower Taos box. Im planning on heading down next weekend to run it..The flows as of now are around 900 CFS. If my memory serves me correctly that should be enough water to carry me down w/out to many issues. Any local beta or from non locals that are familiar w/ this stretch would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! and any recommended campsites either along the river or somewhere in and around Taos would be helpful as well.


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Old 03-17-2016   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Upper box is at 650 (cerro gauge) which is doable for rafts but on the low end. rowing it would be pretty tough at any level I have only paddle rafted it. lower box is fine at current levels.

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Old 03-17-2016   #3
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 185
LTB Should be OK

I ran the LTB a couple weeks ago at ~950 CFS and there was a 14' Aire raft in our group and he squeezed through. Dead car and powerline are tight squeezes at the entrance, otherwise no real issues with a 14' raft getting through at 900+ so a 14' cat should be fine.

Not sure about the upper box.
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Old 03-17-2016   #4
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
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Posts: 594
LTB is fine for 14' boats 900cfs and up, It is much different below 800cfs, but really just a couple really tight spots to make your day difficult, and a whole lot of rock dodging.

10-12' lightly loaded rafts are the best for low flow Rio. (R3-4) it is commercially run down to 500-ish. powerline and rock garden are the bad spots.

UTB is generally not run in rafts, except for adventurous dedicated rafters. not to dissuade you if thats your liking, but hiking boat and gear down the gorge into the Rio, plus Class sieved V is more than most want in a day. Its low volume,creeky up there, with 1/2 to 2/3 the flow downstream,as mania stated.
R2-R3 Super Puma is the recommended boat from what ive heard. class V kayakers love it early season.

LTB & Pilar Race course is so much easier logistically and safety wise, it is a better recommendation, and easy to do laps on. and there is good camping in the BLM state park in between, (look up Arroyo Hondo, Petaca, lone juniper, Taos junction bridge campgrounds. you shouldnt have to make reservations early season) with a float section to SUP or take family on.
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Old 03-18-2016   #5
Lincoln, Nebraska
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by abron View Post
LTB & Pilar Race course is so much easier logistically and safety wise, it is a better recommendation, and easy to do laps on. and there is good camping in the BLM state park in between
With the required reservations through BLM, are you able to do multiple runs per day?

Rio Grande, New Mexico
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Old 03-18-2016   #6
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Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 379
There is ample camping along the river in the nice BLM sites along the river road between Pilar and the Taos Junction Bridge. You don't need reservations unless you want to secure the huge pavilion. Just pay the $7 self- serve fee when you get there.

You can do multiple runs in a day on the Racecourse. It's easy access roadside. The LTB is 16 miles of wilderness with a long shuttle. You don't want to do that twice in one day.

Don't even try to take your raft in the Upper Taos Box. Yes, it does get rafted, but by nothing larger than an R4 team in a small boat. It's way to tight for a 14' cat with oars. Plus, the hike in is not to be taken lightly.

That said, the LTB is running about 900 cfs which is a fine level. Just scout Dead Car and Powerline.
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Old 03-18-2016   #7
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 75
Take $20 of small bills for parking/day use fees. No one observes the permit system. However it is good form to "sign in" at the LTB put in, if a sign in sheet is in the box.

Note that starting April 1st Colorado begins to take at least ~200-5 0 cfs out of the Rio Grande, as illustrated here:

No foolin. So the last weekends of March are the most popular time to run

So if your considering a raft cut off of ~800 as Abron says, 900-200 gets you into some bump and grind.

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