Get ready to pitch a tent, sling a hammock, throw down a pad, and relax! The Rio Chama in Northern New Mexico is an absolutely stunning river that is more in the style of a Utah river-scape than most things found in New Mexico. 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 on what will then have become 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 family river outings anywhere.
Weekends from May thru August are the prime time to for summer floating on the Rio Chama. Scheduled releases from El Vado Reservoir guarantee flows high enough for us to take large rafts on and accommodate larger groups. Weekend guests can expect the option to float through the fun and splashy class II-III rapids of the Chama day trip section and a more leisurely pace on river days due to the higher flows. A weekend Chama trip is a classic western river experience.
A mid-week Chama trip is a great treat for groups looking to have a more intimate and active experience with the Chama wilderness. Lower mid-week flows generally keep large rafting groups from launching, so it is common to have the river to ourselves. Our mid-week trips are generally offered with guests paddling inflatable kayaks and guides taking all of our classic river camping setup in gear canoes.
We offer a long list of unique experiences on the Chama River. Mix things up with kayak or SUP on your trip; or, take things to the next level with River Music, a Gourmet Chef, and Yoga instruction.
The Rio Chama is runnable March thru October, with the main season being May thru August. The watercraft used for your trip can vary depending on date, time of year and dam releases. Weekend trips in the summer are guaranteed to be doable in rafts. Due to dam releases mid-week, spring and fall trips may be inflatable kayak and canoe trips depending on water flow.
Custom Dates Available for groups of 4 or more
Scheduled Weekend Launches:
June: 18/19, 25/26
July: 2/3, 9/10, 16/17, 30/31
August: 6/7, 20/21, 27/28
Available March thru October. Due to the schedule of dam releases they are most commonly done as canoe and kayak trips.
Save 10% on trips in June-August by booking before May 1
Use coupon code “chama10” at checkout or over the phone
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.
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, enables us to return you to your vehicles around 3 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***
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.