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Rio Chama River Rafting
Our 37th Year!

Raft Trips

Rio Chama River II-III

32 miles | Class I-II | 2-3 days
The Rio Chama is a major tributary of the Rio Grande River in northern New Mexico, flowing through the multi-colored sandstone Rio Chama Canyon which towers 1,500 feet at its tallest points. Passing through heavily wooded side canyons and providing excellent fishing for brown and rainbow trout, the Rio Chama offers an outstanding wild river setting for both paddlers and fishermen. The scenery is classic – these are the landscapes made popular by the artist Georgia O’Keefe. The warm climate and easy pace make this a perfect trip for families or beginner kayakers. Co-managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service, the Rio Chama was designated “Wild and Scenic” in 1988. The river runs consistently late April to mid June with occasional recreational flow releases July-September.

Rio Chama RaftingRio Chama Canyon
The first twenty miles of the Rio Chama pass through forested canyons where it is accessible only by foot for fly fishing, or by kayak, raft or canoe from El Vado Ranch located just below El Vado Dam. The lower part of the river also a popular destination for white water rafters and anglers. Stretching out in the warm sun of the New Mexico wilderness, the Rio Chama winds quietly through pinon pine forests and desert scenery. A unique blend of wilderness and living history, the Rio Chama flows serenely by the adobe buildings of the monastery, Church of the Desert, and then slips quietly back into its wild canyons.
Great Family Trip
Rio Chama Canyon
Wild & Scenic
Minimum age 5
20 People Maximum
Rio Chama Canyon Adults Youths 5-12
2 Days $345.00* $342.00*
3 Days $533.00* $470.00*

*Colorado Govt. Use Fees of 4% will be added to these fees.
What to Bring
Please see our packing list and answers to common questions.

The prices above may not be current.

We no longer offer reservations for this adventure.

Please contact: Dvorak Expeditions at 719 539-6851
You can also contact them by email at:

Rio Chama WhitewaterResponsibility Waiver
Dvorak Expeditions will assume no responsibility for injury to trip members, damage or loss of belongings or for time or expense incurred as the result of a Dvorak Expeditions trip. We require you to read and sign a liability release form prior to your trip as well as a health questionnaire.

Because of the risk associated with river trips, including possible personal injury, property loss and financial loss in the event of cancellation, we strongly urge all trip participants to obtain vacation insurance.
Forms We Need:
Please return the following forms to us via mail as soon as you have booked your trip:
Trip Questionnaire - Passenger List - Rental Request
Vacation Insurance Form - use the below information for online viewing.
Medical Risk Form
Meeting Place & Time
Elvado Ranch at put-in or Forest Service Musuem Ghost Ranch.
You can view our map.

BY PLANE: Fly into Albuquerque, New Mexico (served by most major airlines) and rent a car to drive to the rendezvous, approximately 2½ hours.
BY CAR: From the North: Follow US Hwy #64-84 south from Chama to the outskirts of Tierra Amarilla. From there take NM Hwy #112 about 15 miles to El Vado Ranch.
From the South: Follow US Hwy #84 north from Espanola, to Tierra Amarilla, then follow directions above.
From the East: Follow US Hwy #64 west from Tres Piedras, to Tierra Amarilla, then follow directions above.
An alternate rendezvous option is the Ghost Ranch Museum located near the take-out, approximately 20 miles north of Espanola. Meeting time to be arranged for your trip, but usually 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. the first day of your trip.


The meeting place for a Rio Chama trip is the El Vado Ranch, located approximately ½ mile below El Vado Dam. It is also called Cooper's Ranch as it is run by the Cooper Family. Both cabins and camping facilities are available there for the night prior to the rendezvous time which is 8:00 a.m. on the first day of your trip. They are often booked well in advance on weekends.
Your vehicle can be left at El Vado Ranch and Dvoraks will return you to the put-in at a cost of $20 per person transport fee or Lake El Vado will shuttle your vehicle to the take-out site near the Ghost Ranch museum. There is a $2 per night per vehicle parking charge. If you want your vehicle shuttled to the Ghost Ranch rather than have us transport you back to the put-in site to facilitate an early departure there is a $58 shuttle fee (subject to change).

Refund Policy
It is sometimes necessary for us to cancel or modify a trip because of unusual circumstances. We reserve the right to cancel or modify any trip due to weather or water conditions or other circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, we cannot be responsible for paying any expenses you may have incurred other than to refund monies due to you for trip costs per the policies below.

We recommend that you obtain trip vacation insurance in order to protect yourself from any losses you might incur if you suddenly need to cancel your reservation. If you have to cancel your trip and have not obtained trip insurance, we recommend you try to find someone to take your place.

Please read carefully our cancellation policy, below, as it applies in every instance:

One-Day Trips
When cancellation is made 2 days or more prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a 50% (of total trip price) cancellation fee, or the total deposit if it is less than 50% of the trip price.
With less than 2 days notice, no monies are refunded (this includes credit card charges).

Multi-Day Trips:
When cancellation is made 30 days or more prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a 15% (of total trip price) cancellation fee.
With less than 30 days notice, but more than 14 days notice, a 25% (of total trip price) cancellation fee is non refundable.
With 14 days or less notice, no monies are refunded ( this includes credit card charges).

Travel Insurance:
We recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance through Travelex Insurance (please reference locator account # 06-0520 – product # A0105102) in the event you need to cancel your trip with us.
Product No. TR01 05/00
Location No. 06-0520

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