- Big Bend National Park
- Class II - IV
- River Length
- 83-137 miles
- 5-10 days
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. Some of those Class IV rapids are so intense that to have rafted them is a serious mark of pride.
Even without the rapids, this is strenuous, as the shortest river run floats from the put-in at Heath Canyon to Dryden Crossing, a distance of 83 miles. You can raft all the way to Forster’s Ranch and the end of the Wild and Scenic section of the Rio Grande, if you’re willing to paddle 119 miles. People sometimes go even further, to Langtry, but the weir (or dam) at Forster’s Ranch is too dangerous to raft and making a portage around it is essential.
For permission to take out at Dryden Crossing, call (432) 940-3609.
Maravillas, at Black Gap WMA, is an additional put-in, 10 miles down river of Heath Canyon. There''s a $12 fee per person and you will need to buy the access pass at Barton Warnock or online. This is closed during hunting season.