Rio Chama

The Rio Chama, a designated National “Wild and Scenic” River, slices through the high plateaus of northwestern New Mexico. Multi-day adventures begin below El Vado Dam, where you leave the shady banks to raft Class II and III whitewater. This spectacular river flows between towering red rock cliffs, alternating with pine-studded hillsides. Enjoy bird life as we drift past baby swallows in nests lining the crags and marvel as our rafts play hopscotch with solitary herons and families of Canadian geese. These striking surroundings inspired Benedictine monks to build a monastery and chapel on the banks of the river, and their red walls blend with the multi-colored sandstone cliffs reminiscent of Georgia O’Keefe’s landscape paintings.

The Rio Chama offers the perfect family weekend, with something for everyone — paddling, trout fishing, hiking, exploring dinosaur tracks, and simply relaxing in the shade. On our multi-day trips, you’ll have plenty of time to hone your skills before running the most exciting rapids in the last 13-mile stretch.


Rio Chama Three Day- Requires a minimum of 8 people. We begin south of the El Vado Dam and end at Big Eddy. Call to discuss availability.