The Upper Gorge Three Day is a fantastic wilderness trip that provides archaeological sites, star gazing, wildlife, and awesome whitewater. This trip begins in southern Colorado in the open plains between the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, where the Rio Grande begins its gradual descent into the basalt walls of the Rio Grande Gorge and ends after a day of exciting whitewater just one mile above the jagged class VI rapids of the Upper Box.
The Ute Mountain portion of this trip is know for its outstanding wildlife viewing and bird habitats: The shorter walls and relative inaccessibility in the northern section of the Monument form a perfect aerie habitat for eagles, falcons, hawks and owls. This section is seldom paddled and is closed to the public from February to April to allow for an undisturbed nesting season. The recently reintroduced river otter is thriving here, making sighting much more probable than other stretches of the river. Elk, deer, and rocky mountain bighorn sheep also call the area home.
The Razorblades section (day 3) is an exciting and isolated section with intermittent Class II-III rapids for the first part of the day that then ends with 1 ½ miles of fun and continuous Class-IV whitewater.
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 and down to our camp in the area of Costilla Creek.
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). We will camp once again on the rim of the canyon, but this time only 200 yards up from the river’s edge.
Day three will take us into the Razorblades section of the Rio Grande Gorge and the river will continue to dig itself deeper in the canyon as rapids increase in regularity. The day will start out leisurely with large scenic float stretches and fun and splashy Class II-III whitewater, then towards the end of the day we will start to see out first Class IV’s. The final mile and a half is where the section gets its name, and will be non-stop whitewater and a series of technical drops and boulder gardens.
We will finish the day at Chiflo Trail where horses will meet us to pack our gear up the steep half-mile long trail that leads up from the river. From the parking lot at the top it will be about a 30 minute drive back to our boathouse and your vehicle. Guests will be required to carry their personal belongings and dry bag with them on the hike up.
Being that this is a very seldom run stretch of river, one can expect “intimate” and somewhat brushy camps.
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. As part of the trip we will provide tents, waterproof drybags for all of your personal items and camp chairs for fireside relaxation and enjoyment.
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.
If needed, we provide sleeping bags and sleeping pads for an additional $10/day.