As the Rio Grande arches through the rugged landscapes of the Big Bend it carves its way through a series of isolated limestone canyons. Each canyon presents its own set of unique qualities that will leave those lucky enough to pass through them with a distinct and unforgettable sense of awe.
The lower canyons – steeped in the grandeur and solitude of the “Despoblado”.
In the lower canyons, we are locked away in a maze of limestone cliffs for most of the 85 miles covered. Geographical features, when they have names at all, bear names like Las Vegas de la Ladrones, and Complejo del Caballo. Every mile and river bend in this vast desert wilderness brings the excitement of exploration: towing cliff walls, side canyons with massively sculpted passages to explore, and hot springs to soak in. Enjoy a chorus of coyotes across a desert amphitheater, the pure glow of starlight over our camp, and the whitewater challenges of Madison Falls, Hot Springs, Panther and many others set among the long spans of lazy currents.
The Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande stand out as the ultimate in Big Bend river trips and a bucket list worthy adventure for any North American river enthusiast. There is a hugeness and power here that affects the traveler deeply, and sends them home with a special memory of the wild.
Season: Year around, Peak: March-April and October-November
8-Day Lower Canyons: $1599/person
Day 1: 9:00am Launch on the Rio Grande! We will have an early breakfast, go over all remaining safety information and prepare to head downstream! Day one will consist of getting comfortable on the water, possibly paddling a few fun rapids and making our way into the wilderness of the Lower Canyons!
Day 2-7: Sip coffee and enjoy a hot breakfast as the sun rises over the Rio Grande — You might be waking up in Mexico! Riverside lunches, side hikes and delicious fireside dinners will punctuate our schedule of fun river days in the desert canyons of the Rio Grande. Our days will vary in length depending on river flows and group pace. The days on which we navigate the Madison Falls rapids will involve portaging the canoes, which will take a good amount of time and will require group participation. As time allows, we hope to have fun stops at some riverside hot springs as well as side hikes up various slot canyons and the famous Burro Bluff hike.
Day 8: Our last day on the river we will have an early start in order to knock out the last remaining miles and get to the take out early as early as possible. Once at the take out we will load up, have our last riverside lunch, and take the drive back to Marathon, at which point our scheduled service will end.
Get ready to pitch a tent, sling a hammock, throw down a pad, and relax! Every day we will prepare and serve you a delicious riverside lunch, not limited to, but often including an array of home-roasted sandwich meats and homemade dips and salsas. In addition, our camp dinners and breakfasts are a classic staple of the Far Flung experience, as 40 years in business has not only taught us the principles of reading white-water…but also of cooking and camp ambiance!
***Please let us know ahead of time about any allergies or special food requirements***
Following is a list of required and recommend items for this three-day camping excursion. As part of the trip we will provide waterproof dry bags for all of your personal items and camp chairs for fireside relaxation and enjoyment.
If needed, we provide sleeping bags and sleeping pads for an additional $10/day.
Season: Year around, Peak: March-April and October-November
With five major canyons in the 300 plus miles of wilderness, Big Bend of the Rio Grande is completely unique in the American west, combining a relatively placid river with supreme wilderness values.
We are often asked which canyon trip is “best” or most scenic, which is a very difficult thing to asses!
Read below for a brief rundown on the various canyon options, though bear in mind that trip lengths and availability are dependent on flow. Because of this fact, it is often best to approach a Big Bend river trip with an idea of how many days you want to spend on the water, and then work from there.
Santa Elena Canyon is the 20-mile long prototype Big Bend Canyon (limestone). It features the famous Rockslide rapid (class III), and is the classic entry river experience for the lower Rio Grande river tripper. Santa Elena is the most popular and most accessible two or three day trip in the Big Bend. Combined with the Great Unknown section directly below, it makes for an amazing 8-10 day river adventure.
Mariscal Canyon, 10 miles, lies down a 25 mile rough dirt road, features two whitewater chutes, iceberg-like boulders and beatufiul camping. It combines well with Vicente and GHot Springs canyons for aa 31-mile desert and canyon four-day. A weeklong Mariscal/Boquillas canyon trip is a memorable 61-miler.
Boquillas Canyon itself is a 33-mile 4-5 day trip on placid water, inside a varied canyon with the national park’s loftiest vistas and the location of the geological and hydrological “big bend”. This trip starts near Rio Grande Village, making a day trip to Boquillas, Mx a fun and culturally interesting addition to the river trip.
The Lower Canyons is Texas’ premier wilderness whitewater trip (east of the park). The 7-10 day, 85-mile trip contains several challenging rapids, supreme desert wilderness and wildlife, isolated side canyons, side hikes, and towering walls up to 2000 feet.
Currently Planned Trips:
Lower Canyons 10-Day: Fall, 2022
Custom dates and trips available to groups of 6 or more. Group Discounts available!
The specifics of meeting time, place and day-to-day activities may vary depending on your trip. In general, each of our trips is catered to your desires and matched with the best available trip as determined by water flow and your time frame. All trips are fully outfitted (gear, transport, guides, food) and will meet either in Marathon, Tx or in Terlingua, Tx.
If you are joining an advertised group date, please inquire as to the specifics of that particular trip. Feel free to call 575-758-2628 at any time or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you on the water!
Disclaimer: In the Big Bend of Texas we have been asked by the National Park Service to operate our business under the name “Further Adventures” to limit confusion with another outfitter with a similar name to ours. Please be aware of this potential confusion and feel free to ask if you have any questions.
Join us for an adventure that you will never forget!