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Rio Grande River

Contact Info
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834

Phone:
432-477-2251
Basics
Location:
Southern Texas
Class:
Class II - IV
Time:
4 or more days
Season:
Year-round

Description

The Rio Grande is more than a river, it is a boundary between countries. But even so, it remains remote and lonely, the Chihuahuan Desert surrounding it closely as opposed to city after city. As a rafting experience, the Rio Grande is unique as well as lonely, the stark walls on either side stretching high above, sometimes one half in Mexico and the other in the United States . . . even if neither country has much in the way of outposts on these rugged canyons.

The best parts of the Rio Grande to raft are those canyons, and the roughness of the trip depends on which canyon. The Boquillas Canyon is very gentle while the Lower Canyons are tricky, expert runs.

Click on any of the river segments below for more detail.

Rafting

Boquillas Canyon marks a long and leisurely run between canyon walls that climb to 1,200 feet, but despite their size, are more awesome than oppressive.

Santa Elena Canyon is the most popular part of the Rio Grande to raft, not just because it's about as accessible as accessible can get, but because it's gorgeous.

You can't even reach this canyon without four-wheel drive, it's so remote. It's also pretty short; the run's only ten miles long, but it's ten miles run between limestone cliffs that are almost as tall as Santa Elena's walls (these climb up to 1,400 feet).

The Lower Canyons are daunting. A typical route down this portion of the Rio Grande takes anywhere from five to ten days and the rapids range from Class II to Class IV in intensity.

River Details

Setting:
Desert Canyon
Class:
Class II - IV
Time
4 or more days
The entire raftable river would take up to two weeks to explore.
Season:
Year-round
Nearest Town
Del Rio
Guides Available?
Yes
Camping Info
Available, mostly primitive

Map + Directions

Customizable Directions


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