Project Description

Audubon New Mexico River Social


  • Dates: Ute Mountain: June 1-2 — Rio Chama: July 20-21

  • PARTICIPANTS: We welcome first-time rafters 12 years of age and older. You should be in normal, good health and prepared for the mild exertion of paddling, possible swimming and hiking.

  • Craft: Paddle Rafts and Oar powered rafts will be the standard on this trip, though inflatable kayaks and SUPs may be requested.

  • Ute Mountain cost: Adult: $425.00 (includes $100 donation to NM Audubon)   50% Deposit Required

    Rio Chama Two-Day cost: Adult: $425.00 (includes $100 donation to NM Audubon)   50% Deposit Required

  • CANCELLATION POLICY:  Reservation cancellation more than 2 weeks before trip date receives a refund minus 10% of trip cost. Less than two weeks before trip date forfeits deposit.

Ute Mountain: June 1-2

Book Now

Rio Chama: July 20-21

Book Now

Far Flung Adventures together with our partner organization Rio Grande Restoration have been champions of sustainable water policy and wildlife conservation for over 30 years. Perhaps most notably through our joint efforts for spring pulse flows and minimum in-stream flows to provide silvery minnow, fish and wildlife habitat in both the Rio Grande and Rio Chama.

Audubon New Mexico has been the driving force behind countless conservation programs throughout the state. Although their efforts are wide spread, the Water for Birds and People projects in particular have been instrumental to conservation in the Rio Grande and Rio Chama watersheds. The river corridors of the Rio Grande and Rio Chama, whose respective banks, forests, canyons, and watersheds are home to some of our state’s most intact and pristine wildernesses and wildlife systems, are the focus of this particular fundraising and community science event co-hosted by Far Flung Adventures and Audubon New Mexico.

So, what can you do?

Well you can start by joining us this summer for a fully outfitted two-day camping excursion complete with wonderful interpretation and guiding provided by both Audubon and Far Flung staff!

$100 of every ticket will go to support Audubon New Mexico’s continued efforts to protect and preserve!

The Western slopes of the Sangre De Cristo and San Juan Mountains help provide northern New Mexico with two large river systems, the Rio Grande and Rio Chama, both of which are incredible bird habitats and refuges. Unfortunately these two great waterways are under constant threat of drought, mismanagement and exploitation, things for which the people and wildlife who depend on them pay dearly.

Rio Grande:

The Ute Mountain section begins in southern Colorado and lies almost entirely within the secluded northern reaches of the Rio Grande National Monument. This isolated area is a prime bird habitat and is closed to the public during the spring months due to the incredibly high number of nesting raptors and birds of prey. The dates of our trip are specifically chosen to fall in the first few days after the area is reopened in order to maximize our potential for bird and wildlife sightings. Being in an area with less imposing canyon walls than the lower gorge around Taos, NM the Ute Mountain run is full of traces of human history. Petroglyphs and hunting blinds can be found along the river and up the side canyons as well as livestock trails and pens dating back to the 1700’s.

Please be aware of and prepared for a one mile hike on a rocky trail the afternoon of day one and the morning of day two.

Please refer to the full Ute Mountain itinerary here

Rio Chama:

The Rio Chama on this 30-mile trip begins in Alpine woodlands as a clear, rushing trout stream and ends at the head of Abiquiu Reservoir as a silty desert river rolling among the rainbow cliffs and sandstone formations so typical of the Four Corners region. Lovely, wooded campsites and lively but easy rapids make the Rio Chama one of the best river outings anywhere.

The high desert and alpine ecosystems contained within the Chama River Wilderness are full of wildlife, and previous audubon excursions there have often documented at least 75 different bird species.

Please refer to the full Rio Chama Two-Day itinerary here

Ute Mountain Two-Day:

Day 1:

We will meet at the Far Flung Adventures Boathouse and office at 7 am the morning of June 1st and return the afternoon of June 2nd.

Just down from the put-in we will visit the remains of an ancient Indian village. Dream of the past as you view large petroglyph groupings surrounded by the short walled ruins of a Ute Indian settlement that looks out over the canyon of the Rio Grande and the distant snow capped peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. This first day will take us across the state line from southern Colorado into northern New Mexico. We will end early the first day to allow time for an easy scenic 3/4 mile hike up Costilla Creek to the rim of the gorge, where we will camp for the night in the wide open plains and take it the normally fantastic sunset.

Day 2:

After a beautiful morning and hot breakfast we will head back down Costilla Creek, keeping an eye out for the numerous petroglyphs along this once perennial stream. As we descend deeper into the wilderness the riverbed steepens and we will splash through our first Class I and II rapids, explore hanging canyons, and take in incredible views of the Sangre De Christo Mountains towering in the distance (a rarity to be seen from the river). Our ending point on day two will be just south of Ute Mountain in Sunshine Valley and will be a short and steep 200-yard hike up to the rim from the rivers edge.

Rio Chama Two-Day:

Day 1:

We will meet at Bode’s General Store in Abiquiu, NM at 9:00 am and return around 4 pm the next day.

Our (1 1/2 hr.) shuttle to the put-in features vistas of the craggy peaks of the San Juan Mountains, the massive Brazos Cliffs-over 3000 vertical feet high, and the village of Tierra Amarilla, the center of Reies Tijerina’s land grant revolt of the l960’s. Our launch point is at El Vado Ranch, a rustic, riverside fishing resort. The Chama River immediately whisks us away through a series of swift riffles and into the evergreen-lined canyon. We enter the Chama Canyon Wilderness and negotiate Aragon Rapids (Class II). Our camp is on an old high-water bench, under shelter of ponderosa pines and douglas firs. Besides the peace and beauty of a designated Wild and Scenic river, Far Flung travelers also enjoy abundant opportunities for trout fishing and hiking.

Day 2:

We will encounter longer, steeper rapids and multi-hued sandstone cliffs up to 1000′ high. Emerging from the canyon wilderness area, we observe a quiet zone as we pass the Christ in the Desert Monastery. Now begins the lively whitewater run (Class II-III) into the headwaters of upper Abiquiu Reservoir. Taking out at mid-afternoon will enable us to return you to your vehicles by around 4:30 PM.

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 (see some of our recipes here). 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***

Camp Gear:

Following is a list of required and recommend items for this three-day camping excursion. You will also receive this list as part of your confirmation email. As part of the trip we will provide waterproof drybags for all of your personal items and camp chairs for fireside relaxation and enjoyment. Tents, pads and sleeping bags are not included though if needed we provide a sleep kit (1 two man tent, 1 sleeping bag and sleeping pad) for an additional $12/night.

Please click here to look at a more in-depth list of required and recommended camp gear:

Going Camping? Here’s what you’ll need.

As part of your attendance, $100 of every ticket will serve as a donation to Audubon New Mexico for continued conservation efforts across New Mexico.

The Situation

All western rivers, like the Rio Grande, the Colorado River, and their tributaries, provide water for millions of people and sustain our local food supply. In addition to providing clean water and protection from floods, healthy rivers also support abundant game and wildlife and underlie our multi-billion dollar recreation and tourism economy. When healthy, rivers provide a front-line defense against extreme weather events in an era of climate change.

Unfortunately, the health of these rivers, and the people and wildlife that depend on them, are in jeopardy. The future of our western communities and economies surrounding the rivers are uncertain. As the increasing value of water has outpaced the value of food and land, some farmers have no choice but to sell their water rights away from green river valleys. Many sales transfer water to upstream urban centers, often diminishing streamflows between the cities and rural communities. But, while water scarcity breeds conflict, it also breeds opportunities.

Where birds thrive, people prosper. Audubon’s work is centered on birds because they are a crucial link in the chain of life. The vast distances they travel and exposure to diverse ecosystems make them unique barometers of Earth’s health and, here in New Mexico, specifically the health of our rivers. Many of the birds that depend on healthy rivers, streams and springs, like the Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Bell’s Vireo, are in decline.

The Opportunity

Audubon believes that people are at the heart of solutions to water scarcity and sustainable water management. Our work to change attitudes about how we use, manage and value water is centered on building trusted relationships and collaborative partnerships to achieve conservation victories at scale.

We accomplish conservation through a multi-pronged strategy of market-based solutions, policy reform, engagement, on-the-ground conservation and education. Our work is grounded in science, in innovation and collaboration.  In short, Audubon delivers balanced conservation programming from backyards, to schools, to legislatures.

Audubon is the leader in the state on innovative programs to restore nature’s share of water. In partnership with irrigation districts, tribal nations, municipalities and senior water users, Audubon has implemented first-of-its-kind voluntary water transfers and modernized water policies to restore vibrant ribbons of river habitat benefiting more than one hundred miles along the Rio Grande and its tributaries. Combined with transforming habitat along the river through volunteer-based restoration projects, we seek to address key water-related challenges by advancing balanced solutions to water use in New Mexico securing a greater share of water for birds, other wildlife, and the people and communities that depend on them.

Join us this summer June 2-3 and your contribution will help in urging our local, state, and federal governments to work toward sensible water policy solutions that balance the needs of the environment, our communities, and our beloved wildlife. $100 of every ticket will serve as a donation to Audubon New Mexico.

Together, our voices are louder and stronger. ACT NOW!!!

DID YOU KNOW? Millions of migrating birds representing over 250 species depend on key western rivers for their survival. Over 100 species spend some portion of their life cycle in riparian areas and many of these species are now threatened or endangered – as demands increase but water supplies dwindle. Join us in promoting environmental flows for our rivers. Help protect our rivers and the birds, wildlife, and communities that depend on them.The Western Rivers Action Network (WRAN) is Audubon’s multi-state grassroots effort to protect rivers.

Join Audubon’s Western Rivers Action Network!

Concerned about the drought or how poor water quality might be impacting local communities and avian species … but not sure?

What can you do about it? Is there an important water-related issue you want to share with other Audubon members? What are others doing? Join us and find out!!