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Old 11-06-2015   #1
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1965
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 175
Lower Taos Box this Spring

Hey Buzzards. OK I know it's a little early to get excited about runoff when the snow is just getting started but.... It's looking like the southern mountains are going to get hit this year and I've been looking to run (cataraft) the lower Taos Box for a while now. I'll probably tack on some of the lower water for a 2-3 day trip. Maybe the Chama too? I've read a few descriptions but would love to hook up with someone who knows the river and is looking to run it this spring at peak. Anyone have a good guess at runoff time? Have a couple of people from Carbondale / Glenwood who would join. Lets talk if your interested

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Old 11-06-2015   #2
Tyrrache's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 93
Hell Yeah

Been eagar to hit Taos box for years now. I would be interested in putting something together for sure. Never heard of the Chama though.

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Old 11-06-2015   #3
Minturn, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 153
Isn't Chama a permitted run? Or is that before high use season?...

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Old 11-06-2015   #4
Issip's Avatar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 185
Box Beta

FOr LTB info I strongly recommend Paul Bawer's book: The Rio Grande Guide Book at
There are lots of fun sections of just about every class, the sections above the LTB are difficult to access (long steep hikes and/or remote roads where it's not recommended to leave a vehicle)

Typically it's run in a day with lots of developed camping near the takeout (Orilla Verde): Orilla Verde

You could load up your raft, but it's easier to car camp and not have to run a loaded raft down the box.

The Chama has permit and day sections below El Vado, which are dam released - typically flows on weekends for recreation. There's also a short season section above El Vado that's rarely run due to takeout difficulties (Lake paddle or steep hike). All Chama sections are class II to III-.
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Old 11-07-2015   #5
thinksnow's Avatar
Salida, 81201
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 143
Sweet thoughts. I'm interested too.
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Old 11-07-2015   #6
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
You definitely want as much water as possible. Just be aware that in a low snow year, the water will peak in late March/early April because the irrigation diversions upstream turn on in early April. The Rio will only run high after early April if there is a big snowpack (which there has not been the past few years).
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Old 11-08-2015   #7
rivervibe's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 379
Agreed with all of that. Do get on the LTB, it's an amazing and gorgeous run. One of the few true wilderness day stretches with some good gradient and whitewater, especially at higher flows. There is plenty of good State Park or other camping at the takeout and all around the Taos area.
For river camping in NM, the best is to get a permit for the Chama. The water is a bit more tame than the LTB, but the scenery if definitely worth it.
There is a NM Whitewater Kayakers facebook page.
Yes, it says kayaking, but all the locals there are super nice and can help out with any beta too. Folks will be calling out for rafting plans there come the spring.
Please take a look at my Photo Web Gallery.
I also have here some gear reviews (that I might update soon).
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Old 11-08-2015   #8
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1965
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 175
Thanks for all the beta guys. Super stoked. For those who said they were interested I'll reach out again in the spring.
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Old 11-09-2015   #9
Wheredat, USA
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 75
I've never been there, maybe this will be the push I needed to do it.
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Old 11-09-2015   #10
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 597
Hey Jeff - It's been a few years since I've been to Taos, so yeah, I'm game for a trip down there next year. I don't think Scott has ever been there.

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