Rio Chama Questions - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-08-2017   #1
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 2
Rio Chama Questions

We just pulled a Rio Chama permit for the weekend of June 2-3, we have never been on this river before. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to camp, hike etc? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated, you can email me at [email protected] if you do not want to give your information out on this forum. Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-08-2017   #2
 
Issip's Avatar
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 216
Camps a plenty, Hikes not so much

There are plenty of camps along the river, there are two that must be reserved (Aragon and Chama Wall) typically you only want to camp at Aragon the first night and Chama wall the second due to distances to put-in and take out assuming you're putting in Friday and taking out Sunday. I have never reserved these sites on permit weekends, but they are very nice camps (but as I mentioned there are a lot of very nice camps). I just boat until it's time to look for a camp, and I usually camp before the no camping area 5 miles above the monastery as after that river left is highly impacted by vehicle camping.

As far as hikes there is not much. There is one trail to Navajo Peak marked on the maps, but as of last year there was absolutely no discernable trail. I hiked as far as a sign about a mile from the "trailhead" and Rio Cebolla - the sign is at the merging of 2 trails that no longer exist. I contacted the BLM and some conservationist friends I know who are involved with the Chama and they were hoping to get some Boy Scouts in to create the trail again.

Rattlesnakes are everywhere - I see more on that section of river than anywhere else. A typical Friday to Sunday trip leaves little to no time for hiking anyway and there is plenty of great scenery from the river and short hikes from the camps.

The rapids are very easy and the scenery is world class so have a great time. I am waiting for my rejection letter, I'll need to check the mail - I hope it's not because they sent out the success letters first....
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Old 03-08-2017   #3
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 2
Thanks, do you recommend 2 or 3 days? I was thinking it's a 2 day trip.
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Old 03-08-2017   #4
 
Espanola, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jun 2016
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I like doing it in 3 days, but we do it with a bunch of kids so getting them going in the mornings is tough, I have done it in 2 days it just makes for 2 long days
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Old 03-09-2017   #5
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Love the Chama. I haven't stayed at every camp, but every camp I have stayed at has been beautiful and more than satisfactory. Tiger Wall, Chama Wall and opposite Chama Wall have been some of my favorites.

There are a couple fun slots that go up into the sandstone from behind the Chama Wall camp and Huckbay Canyon has a nice hike.

I would do it in 3 days unless flows are up over 1200 or so. Better to relax than push miles imo.

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Old 03-09-2017   #6
 
Rojo's Avatar
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 226
Chama permit notices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Issip View Post
The rapids are very easy and the scenery is world class so have a great time. I am waiting for my rejection letter, I'll need to check the mail - I hope it's not because they sent out the success letters first....
I talked to the BLM ranger(575 758-8851) yesterday and was told that only successful applications were called before Mar 1st. Unsuccessful likely means you won't hear anything back at all if applied over the phone or electronically, but you may get the standard rejection slip returned if you sent a self-addressed. I now have a few more open weekends on my calendar...
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Old 03-14-2017   #7
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 24
Ditto what others have said--a two-night, three day trip is best, and there are plenty of campsites.

Re: permits

You will most likely be able to get a permit for the Chama later in the summer by calling the office periodically. They'll let you know what cancellations they have. But also, you can put in Sunday through Thursday without going through the lottery. Just have to call the office starting April 1 and see whats open. Last year, there was enough water to float all week through the summer. From what I understand, during the drought years there wasn't that kind of water. We'll see what happens this year.
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Old 03-14-2017   #8
 
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Austin, Texas
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 115
Hey Pike,
You need to get Duwain Whitis and Barbara Vinsons newly released Guide to the Rio Chama. You can purchase it directly from their website at www.rivermaps.net.

BTW thats me on the cover (could not resist)!
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