Rio Grande @ Lobatos Bridge - Great Beginner Float!
Hey Gang, I just wanted to do a quick write-up on the Rio Grande just north of the New Mexico Boarder. It is a BEAUTIFUL stretch of river and perfect for beginners! There is not much info available out there on this stretch and not much traffic on the water either.
We own a piece of property on the Rio Grande just south of the Lobatos Bridge that is one of the only pieces of "beach" for miles. This is our "Base Camp" & the Take Out.
The Float: From: Hwy 142 Bridge east of Manassa To: Lobatos Bridge on 'G' Road east of Antonito. Apx 11 Miles. 4-6 hours @ 600-800 CFS. Almost all slow flat water with only 2 sets of "riffles".
Put-In: The easiest place to Put-In is on the North-West side of the 142 bridge. There is a little 'road' on the NW corner of the bridge that takes you a few hundred yards up river. There is a fence between the 'road' and river, but a few hundred yards up there is a gate that can be opened and you can drive right to the water. We were able to literately slide our boats off the trailer into the water! The west side of the river is all BLM so there are no access worries.
Take-Out(s): There are several good & easy take outs just downstream of the Lobatos Bridge. There is a 2-track road the heads south on the west side of the Lobatos Bridge with 3-4 places that you can drive right to the water's edge within the first mile. The East side is all private property but this is where "our property" is. (our property is the last piece of 'beach' before you go into the "Real Canyon")
The Shuttle: Pretty much a straight shot on the east side of the river. The road is called Rio Grande Ave @ the 142 end and called Road 28 @ the 'G' Road end. We had friends and a second rig so it was a cinch, but this would be a perfect shuttle for a mountain bike or even dirt bike if you didn't have the second rig. (The Dirt Bike was our plan B if we went without a second car) It's all dirt roads in the middle of nowhere so really Mountain Bike, Dirt Bike, or ATV would be perfect.
Hazards: None to speak of! There are always concerns of FENCES when floating a lonely stretch of river through agricultural land, but we didn't encounter any. There are a few spots where fences come down to the water's edge, but the had nice corner braces near the water and the fences ended. There is also a thin cable that sometimes hangs from the LEFT SIDE of the Lobatos Bridge and trails down the river. The cable was not hanging in the water this time, but I noticed it up on the bridge as I crossed on our way out. Not really a hazard, even if it is in the water, just pay attention or stay RIGHT of the single bridge abutment.
We ran laps on this stretch on July 2nd & 3rd and had a blast. My wife had only rowed for an hour at the lake before this trip. She was on the oars from the minute we launched with no difficulty, and after running the float twice she has enough 'oar time' that she should be able to row most of the BV Milk Run unassisted now.
The wildlife was awesome.....but the fishing was slow, maybe due to the high water and heat. We saw beavers, muskrats, Red Tail Hawks, a bunch of Great Horned Owls, Mule Deer, & TONS of cool small birds. There is also a heard of Wild Horses the live down there, but we didn't see them on this trip.
All-in-all a great family float! Perfect for the dogs & kids.
Next trip we will put in farther north @ Rd "Z" near Lasauses and do the longer float.