Rafting New Mexico

River rafting and water activities in New Mexico are some of the best in the Southwest.  A short drive north of Santa Fe and you’ve got world-class whitewater and gorgeous canyons without the crowds.

Matthew Gontram, owner of New Mexico River Adventures, offers his professional insight into the river conditions this year: “Even during drought years in the west, you can always get your whitewater fix here in Northern New Mexico. Many people expect the water levels to be less favorable if we’ve had low snowpack in winter, but, unlike our neighbors to the north, the water levels on the Rio Grande are never too low to enjoy a fun-filled day of rafting, kayaking or stand-up paddle-boarding.”

NMRA is our favorite outfitter in Northern New Mexico. Their professionalism and safety record is excellent. The changing rooms, facilities and equipment are always nice and clean and well cared for, and the food they provide on trips is simply the best.  And they offer an amazing variety of unique excursions for all interests from half-day to full-day to multi-day, for everyone from novice to expert, and from age 4 on up.

A day on the river is definitely a family activity we enjoy each year. This year maybe we’ll give their inflatable kayaks a try.


That’s us up front, on a full day trip rafting Taos Box.

Rafting New Mexico Adventures

One of NMRA’s perfect day trips from Santa Fe includes a half-day rafting trip followed by a quick tour and visit of Taos.  This is a great way to explore the Taos area.

Whitewater and Wine Tasting Day Trip. This excursion offers door-to-door transportation from your hotel or lodging location and experiencing some of the oldest wine country in the United States (yes, older than California’s). Your day includes a half-day rafting trip on the Rio Grande’s Racecourse section of the river, followed by a picnic and wine tasting tour around some of the north country’s award-winning boutique wineries. You’ll want to contact Cindy of New Mexico Wine Tours to book this trip. 

rafting new mexico

Getting close to nature is one of the joys of river rafting in New Mexico.

Rock Climbing and Rafting are a perfect combo for the great outdoor adventurer age 12 and older. No experience necessary. NMRA will handle all the details and you can reach for the sky, then cool off in el rio.

Did I mention how great their food is? If your trip includes a lunch, then these guys offer the best on the river. Full, warm, tasty southwestern fajita lunches are unique to this outfitter! They also offer gourmet dining for multi-day trips such as:

river rafting and rock climbing new mexico

Rock climbing and river rafting makes for a great adventure.

Rio Chama Gourmet Wine Pairing Trip: Spend three days on the Rio Chama enjoying delicious food and amazing views.  Matthew says, “The Rio Chama is a hidden gem here in the Southwest.”  This outing is a classic high desert multi-day river trip without a week-long commitment.  Acclaimed Chef Rocky Durham is your own personal chef preparing four-course meals each night. Dinner is served on a linen-covered dining table and each course is paired with top award-winning wines, provided by the local winemakers of Vivac Winery.  Rates are all-inclusive with spectacular food, vistas and fun for the entire family. Check their website for all rates and details. Acclaimed recording artist and New Mexico local, Boris McCutcheon and friends turn your Rio Chama camp into a private show. Each night Boris and friends perform melodic tunes by the fire and under the stars.

gourmet wine and rafting nm

Dinner being served on a Gourmet Wine Pairing Trip on the Chama.

The Beers and Cheers trip on the Chama.  Three days on the river and your riverside campsite is transformed into one of the finest taprooms. NMRA have partnered with Santa Fe Brewing Company. The highly acclaimed brewery will provide you with some of the gold medal beers each evening. The brewers are on hand each night to guide you through “the world according to beer!”

There are many more options with NMRA for unique outings that immerse you in the world of archeology, history, flavors, and cultures of the Southwest.


Rafting on the Chama River

New Mexico River Adventures’ season starts in early March and lasts up to October, which is longer than most other outfitters. Click here for more information, and MENTION santafeselection when you call or book for 10% off your trip!

Remember, just because the snowpack may be light some years, we can still expect to have a ton of fun on the river each summer!

Thank you for reading my blog article. If you’d like to receive my posts via email, please send your request to Maria@santafeselection.com.
For more information on Santa Fe things to do, where to stay, eat, play etc., please go to: SantaFeSelection.com Travel Guide.