Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-30-2010   #1
JCKeck1's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
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Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande...

Anyone out there done them? I'm looking for a little beta. PM or call me.

(303) 594-9733

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Old 11-30-2010   #2
Provo, Utah
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I used to run them every thanksgiving as a kid with my grandparents and uncles. All I remember is it was pretty and a lot of fun. I will pass on the number to one of my uncles and see if he can help you out.
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Old 12-01-2010   #3
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Hoback Nation, Wyoming
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Big Bend River Tours could give ya lots of beta
"Each mile on a river will take you further from home than a hundred miles on a road"
Bob Marshall
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Old 12-02-2010   #4
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I did Boquillas canyon 3 years ago and was blown away. I wanted to do the lower canyons (below boquillas) but didnt have the time; it can take a week if I remember right. Here are some places to get started.
The NPS site is pretty helpful
Big Bend National Park - Floating the Rio Grande (U.S. National Park Service)

I got my shuttle and rented a canoe from Desert sports
Mountain Biking, Rafting, Canoeing, Hiking in Big Bend, Texas | Desert Sports they were very helpful and the prices were reasonable. They came reccommended from a long time terlingua bum that I know.

There are great guidebooks by Louis Albach here is the one for the lower canyons
Big Bend Book Store

If I remember the rapid ratings were geared twoards canoes so a class IV in this book is more like a class III or II+ on a colorado river.
We went in the winter and had great weather. It is too hot to do in the summer. I remember standing naked on the beach on New years day was a really great feeling.

Lastly have a blast. PM me if you have any questions about the park permit or other logistics.
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Old 12-05-2010   #5
odessa, Texas
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Another excellent resource on the Lower Canyons is Marc McCord's website, Southwest Paddler. It has great descriptions, maps, and pictures.
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Old 12-05-2010   #6
Stoner, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
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Check out this link: Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande

I've heard it's a great trip. It's on my "sometime soon" list.
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Old 12-06-2010   #7
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Glenwood Springs, Colorado
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I ran the lower canyons 5 years ago, a great trip and well worth the distance involved. We ran it in a super puma and I would not want to run it in anything larger at the low flows that we had.

Pack light, watch out for human coyotes and drug runners (I saw a few right before the takeout), if you bring a gun--don't get caught with it on the Mexican side--you will go to a Mexican prison--unless of course you bring cash to bribe your way out. BTW, most of the camps are on the Mexican side.

Let me know if you need further beta.
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Old 12-06-2010   #8
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Durango, Colorado
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I am also considering a trip down there over Christmas. The USGS site only seems to have a flow gauge for Boquillas. Does anyone know of a good site for Mariscal or Santa Elena? The NPS link from SW Paddler isn't working. Thanks!
"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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Old 12-06-2010   #9
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Here is where I go for Big Bend info, down load the pdf and it has a lot of good stuff, IE temps, river levels, other good stuff

Big Bend National Park - Daily Report (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 12-06-2010   #10
Jenks, Oklahoma
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I forgot to add that weather down there is subject to daily change as is water levels out of Mexico. Mexico supplies most of the Rio Grande Big Bend flow. US consumes most of the water way before it gets to Big Bend. Also Big Bend is more than just the Rio altho the Rio itself is about as neat as it gets. Drive up into the Chisos Mountains and you are in a different world. Be sure to keep your gas tank full and have a good spare tire. Was down there last year in December. Nice day on putin, that night a storm blew in around midnight with flash flooding then rain, sleet, snow temps in the single digits at night and we were in the tents all that day with wind gusts and driven sleet and snow making it impossible to do anything outside till late afternoon. Next day blue sky and warm but everything we had was iced up to the max and it was noonish before we could get loaded and back on the river. So, be prepared for most anything weather wise when spending any time in Big Bend. Awesome place to be!
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