The Rio Grande

Are you considering a rafting trip in New Mexico? Here are some quick facts about the Rio Grande!


The Rio Grande begins its 1,885 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico at just over 12,000 feet of elevation, in the San Juan mountains of southern Colorado. Rio Grande, as it is broadly known today, applies generally to its full length, but in northern New Mexico it is the Rio Grande del Norte. In the language of the Tiwa people of northern New Mexico this incredible river is known as Paslápaane. We hope you’ll join us this year on our home waters within the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. You and your family will learn a great deal more about the Rio Grande and vicinity from your knowledgeable guides, no matter which trip you choose. But until then here is short list of interesting facts about this beautiful river.



      • 1968: The Rio Grande is among the first 8 rivers in the nation to be protected under the Wild and Scenic designation.

      • 2006 & 2007: Close to 50 Rocky Mountain big horn sheep were moved to the Rio Grande Gorge, approximately half from tribal lands near Wheeler Peak and the rest from the Pecos Wilderness.

      • 2008 to 2010: 33 river otter made the long plane ride from Louisiana to their new home on the Rio Grande. By the 1950s New Mexico river otter had vanished due in large part to hunting and trapping.

      • 2013: Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is established via presidential proclamation, in accordance with provisions from the Antiquities Act, to the tune of 242,555 acres protected in perpetuity.

      • The Rio Grande is the 4th longest river in the United States, only the Missouri, the Mississippi, and the Yukon rivers are longer.

      • The Rio Grande is an international river that waters not only the States of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, but also 5 States of northern Mexico: Durango, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas.

    • Much of the Rio Grande is of critical importance to both wildlife and hundreds of species of both migratory and non-migratory birds.


To learn more about the Rio Grande & some of the wildlife you might see there, check out these informative links.

The Rio Grande:

A short film about the Wild and Scenic Rio Grande:

River otter reintorduction:

Rocky Mountain big horn sheep:

To learn more about the rivers in your area go to: