Originally Posted by lmyers
I would be very interested in some beta on the White Rock trip. I looked it over with google earth and printed an online map of Bandelier. I was thinking about running it with a couple of other kayakers as an early season self-support overnighter - with plenty of booze for the flat water paddle out. Info on the put-in and any good campsites, plus anything "unusual" we should be aware of would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
My first hand beta is limited to my one trip. Here is some beta from a New Mexico State Parks Division website(BoatingwatersriverrunningNewMexico
The Rio Grande from below Espanola and the Otowi Bridge to Cochiti Lake (aka White Rock Canyon run)
Class II+ , III which was usually done as an overnight trip on the river. Now with the upper access in Espanola this
timing may be different depending on river flows. Instead of an easy overnight of about 23 miles from the Otowi Bridge,
the trip demands a very early start from Espanola if you are considering covering the approximately 33 mile distance to
the take out at Cochiti Lake in a couple of days. Usually run from 1,100 cfs to 2,500 cfs.
Water levels have gone as high as 6,000-8,000 cfs! At high water levels scout all bridges!
Lower levels will increase the number of Class II sections and high levels can create high standing waves over 6' in height!
With a little planning though you might have a celebratory ending at either of the two campgrounds at the US Army Corps
of Engineers managed Cochiti Lake Dam
. (You may spare the two hour paddle down the lake by linking up with one of the boaters
willing to tow you to the ramps. Check information on this with the Corps Cochiti Dam Management Office. A day use launch ramp fee
is charged for all vessels including paddlecraft. )
Doing a portion of this trip as a 20 mile day trip run depends on access from a long dirt road called the Buckman road
accessed by the Santa Fe Relief road (aka Veterans Memorial Highway) State Road 599. Access after rains on this road
is not recommended. The Buckman Road is reached by exiting 599 at Camino La Tierra heading NW past Las Campanas
till the split take place with Buckman Road going right and Clubhouse Road going left. It's then over 9 miles to the river.
Its been a while since the beta on this trip has been checked but our information says that the Otowi Bridge
(State Road 502 bridge over the Rio Grande going over to Los Alamos) is no longer an allowable put-in. This means
that if the optional one day run from Buckman Road above is not done, your long multi day option begins at a put-in at Espanola
off the 369 State Route Road Bridge on the west side of the Rio Grande accessed by the South Santa Clara Bridge Road.This makes a 13 mile run
from Espanola to the Otowi Bridge passing by both Santa Clara and San Idlefonso Pueblo.
The next roughly 13 miles from Otowi Bridge goes thru White Rock Canyon to the entry to Bandelier National Monument
and the two mile long trail out to Frijoles Canyon and it's Upper and Lower Frijoles Falls to the Monument visitor center.
Rio Grande and Junction with Frijoles Trail Bandelier National Monument.
-About 200 yards past Otowi Bridge is the first rapid. In about 2-1/2 miles another short Class II stretch opens the canyon
out to the Buckman Road area and it's little rapid set coming in just before seeing Buckman Road's end in about 3 miles on
the east side of the river. You then enter the 1,000 foot deep White Rock Canyon with the community of White Rock with
thier homes on the west ridge of the Canyon. In another 2 miles Pajarito Canyon comes in with it's clear creek and pools
and grassy banks making for great camping. A well marked trail leads up to the homes on the south rim.
About a mile further
is Water Canyon and the Gate, which has a rock gate entrance followed by Class III with standing waves. Soon after in
about 1-1/2 miles with Chino Mesa off to the east, Ancho Canyon from Los Alamos comes in and Ancho Rapid, about 300 '
of Class III that cuts thru to the west. Ancho could be portaged on the west bank depending on the water level.
Bandelier National Monument on the west side of the river continues past this point to Frijoles Canyon.
; From the junction of Frijoles Creek with the Rio Grande, passing two dramatic waterfalls and much interesting scenery. )
Just below is Frijoles Rapid is a major rapid that bears scouting.
From there it is another 9 miles of easy travel to Cochiti Lake and another 2 miles of paddling (If you did not make arrangements for a tow) to the take out at Tetilla Peak Recreation area
on the east side of the lake with it's ramp and another 1/2 mile to the take out at the main ramp on the west side of the lake."
I have not scoped out the Espanola put in yet, but it would also be a place you would not want to leave a vehicle, but you might be able to work a deal with a nearby business. If the Espanola put in pans out we are planning to do a 2 night trip camping just above Buckman Road or just below White Rock on the first night and then camoing just above the resevoir on the second night. This should allow for some side hikes and being able to beat the wind on Cochiti the last day.
Check out the website that the above information comes from. It mentions some other little done, possibly ill advised trips that could be fun.