Originally Posted by TakemetotheRiver
How about the 24th since it doesn't look like the Chama is gonna go? Is the run kid-friendly for kids who run Class III and like to camp?
If the river is running around 2000 cfs or more it would probably go Maybe even a bit lower). The gauge is:
USGS Real-Time Water Data for USGS 08313000 RIO GRANDE AT OTOWI BRIDGE, NM
My wife and I did the run last spring (May 1st) as out first self support raft trip on our Jack's Fat Cats and it was exciting at 4000 cfs (we had just got the boats at the end of the previous summer and had never been on water that pushy). Most of the run is a mellow float in a scenic canyon (nowhere near as nice as the San Juan or permitted Chama section, but still worth it) with only two serious rapids. We ran the first at Water Canyon without scouting (not on purpose, the river was humming along), but there were huge standing waves and it could have gone badly. We portaged the rapid at Ancho Canyon, but will probably run it the next time.
I think the run could be pretty kid friendly. You could do a 2.5 mile side hike up to the Bandolier visitor center for ice cream and a visit to the ruins. There are also some petroglyphs to be found but I do not have details.
There are lots of camping options depending on the river level. When we ran it some of nicer beach camping we had heard about was under water. You also probably want to avoid camping on river right for permit and ferral cow issues. To the best of my knowledge the are are no standard campsites, but the folks at Kokopelli who run in commercially probably know better.
The biggest issue for most folks is the flatwater at the end. If the river is low enough it becomes a bunch of braided channels that could suck in a larger raft. And of course you have to travel about 2 miles on Cochiti which sucks in a headwind.
If you are going that early you might have less of problem leaving your car at Buckman Road since it will still be a bit cold to party out there.
Hope this helps.