A scenic Class II-III section of river visited by far fewer people every summer than the popular Taos Box and Lower Gorge. A one-mile hike will take us from the rim of the gorge and into the heart of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
Often considered the gem of the Taos area and a secluded segment of the Rio Grande National Monument this stretch is one of our all time favorites. The walk into the gorge will offer an interesting exploration of local environments as we descend from the sagebrush and juniper grasslands seen at the rim and down into the canyon to the rivers edge, an area of tall pine, spruce and fir. We will launch at the mouth of the Red River canyon, one of the deepest part of the gorge, and begin our 9 mile trip through the heart of the Wild and Scenic section of the Rio Grande National Monument, one of the newest on our nation’s roster of protected lands. In addition, we run this stretch from a starting point 4 miles upstream from where all other companies begin.
We will meet at the Far Flung office at 8 am, where customers will be outfitted with all the proper rafting equipment for the day. After a short 30-minute drive to the Cebolla Mesa trailhead, we will meet with our horse packer, load the gear onto the animals, and begin our descent into the Gorge. After an amazing day on the water, our trip will end at the John Dunn Bridge, the put-in for the Class IV Taos Box section, from which it will be a 15-20 minute drive back to our office.
After launching at the mouth of the Red River, one the deepest areas of the canyon, you will float through towering ponderosa pines, unique to this area of the Rio Grande, and crash through Class III rapids formed from the outflow from massive side canyons. Watch the past unfold as you inspect the dozens of petroglyphs at the hunting camp at the mouth of San Cristobal creek, lunch at the cabin of “Horse Thief Shorty”, an infamous horse and cattle rustler of the early 20th century, and ponder the feat of lowering mining equipment down the canyon to the river’s edge at the relicts of an abandoned mine.
From April to June, it’s a raucous and splashy class III ride and a wonderful all day activity for those looking for a personal acquaintance with isolated wilderness. At mid-summer’s lower flows, the Middle Box is a challenging one-day funyak experience.
***Participants should be fit and prepared for an easy 1-mile downhill hike.***