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New Mexico whitewater, Rio Chama

Rio Arriba county, El Vado Lake to Abiquiu Reservoir section whitewater kayaking, rafting, and paddling information.

 

CLASS I-III     33 miles
 
Permitted section through wilderness.  Rapids are fairly easy (II+), but scenery is first rate.  The run can and has been done in a day, but better to take your time.   Fairly long shuttle can be set up at put-in.  We usually combine this with the Monastery to Big Eddy run below. Says Cullen Hallmark

The El Vado Lake to Abiquiu Reservoir section of Rio Chama in New Mexico is 33 miles long and is a class I-III section of whitewater according
    to American Whitewater. The nature scenery of New Mexico and the cool fresh water are reasons enough to come here and paddle. Getting your paddling muscles activated and just hanging out with mother nature are great attractions
for lots of people. Not too many hotels nearby, you'll have to drive a bit to get to one, and if you make reservations in advance you're all set. The put-in location is a short drive from Espanola, if you're not familiar with the area there's a road map further down the page. Whitewater paddling here in the San Juan and Jemez Mountains is a great experience. A stretch of this length does require some preparations, perfect for a real wilderness  
adventure. Some people prefer whitewater rafting and some kayaking, either way there are not so many other good spots for that around here. Whitewater rafting and kayaking in New Mexico is often easier than elsewhere, so keep in mind that the rivers in this state are less demanding. There are plenty of other stretches in this river system that can be paddled as well. If you're a camper you can camp at one of the great campgrounds nearby.

Briefly about the general area:
On a good day at Rio Chama you can take a hike along the Hart Trail; a good place like El Vado Lake State Park is too tremendous to leave out.

Rio Chama, El Vado Lake to Abiquiu Reservoir road map
Printable road map with the put-in and take-out locations clearly marked.

   

Map
map
Detailed Map


Stats
map
Stats for this river stretch


Weather
weather
Local weather forecast


OUTDOORS
These outdoors activities are available near Rio Chama.
 Whitewater Near Rio Chama:
Rio Chama, Rio Arriba County, 5 miles away
      Class II-III - 7 miles long (Monastary to Big Eddy)
Rio Chama, Rio Arriba County, 9 miles away
      Class I-III - 33 miles long (El Vado Lake to Abiquiu Reservoir)
Rio Chama, Rio Arriba County, 17 miles away
      Class I-III - 15 miles long (Los Ojos to El Vado Lake)
Rio Chama, Rio Arriba County, 19 miles away
      Class I-II - 25 miles long (Abiquiu Dam to confluence with Rio Grande)
Rio de los Brazos, Rio Arriba County, 20 miles away
      Class I-III - 9 miles long (Corkins Lodge to confluence with Rio Chama)
Rio Chama, Rio Arriba County, 24 miles away
      Class I-II - 15 miles long (Chama to Los Ojos)
 Ski Areas Near Rio Chama:
Pajarito Mountain, New Mexico , 36 miles away, 1410 foot drop, 7 lifts, 37 runs
Wolf Creek, Colorado , 58 miles away, 1604 foot drop, 7 lifts, 77 runs
Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico , 69 miles away, 1725 foot drop, 7 lifts, 69 runs
Sandia Peak, New Mexico , 71 miles away, 1700 foot drop, 6 lifts, 30 runs
Sipapu, New Mexico , 78 miles away, 1055 foot drop, 4 lifts, 31 runs
Taos, New Mexico , 84 miles away, 2612 foot drop, 13 lifts, 110 runs
Red River, New Mexico , 87 miles away, 1600 foot drop, 7 lifts, 58 runs
Angel Fire, New Mexico , 96 miles away, 2077 foot drop, 7 lifts, 74 runs
 Hotels Near Rio Chama:
Branding Iron Motel, Chama , 26 miles away
Gandy Dancer Inn Bed And Breakfast, Chama , 26 miles away
The Abiquiu Inn, Abiquiu , 27 miles away
Comfort Inn & Suites Los Alamos, Los Alamos , 40 miles away
Holiday Inn Express & Suites LOS ALAMOS ENTRADA PARK, Los Alamos , 42 miles away
 Campgrounds Near Rio Chama:
Rio Chama, Coyote, 5 miles away
Echo Campground, Rio Arriba County, 10 miles away
El Vado Lake State Park, Cebolla, 11 miles away
 Trails Near Rio Chama:
Hart Trail, Rio Arriba , 3 miles away
Encino Trail, Rio Arriba , 18 miles away
San Pedro Parks Trail, Rio Arriba , 19 miles away
 Public Lands Near Rio Chama:
Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos - NM , 42 miles away
Santa Fe National Historic Trail, Santa Fe - NM , 58 miles away
El Vado Lake State Park, New Mexico , 14 miles away
Heron Lake State Park, New Mexico , 16 miles away
Fenton Lake State Park, New Mexico , 31 miles away
 Lakes Near Rio Chama
El Vado Reservoir, Rio Arriba , 10 miles away
Heron Reservoir, Rio Arriba , 14 miles away

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Some content, including Reach Name, Class, Coordinates, and Length, comes from American Whitewater with permission.