Water Activities

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Image of people rafting

Water sports are limited on the Santa Fe National Forest but a few spectacular opportunities exist.

Rafting, kayaking and canoeing are all activities that can be enjoyed on the Santa Fe National Forest, on either the Rio Grande or the Rio Chama.

On it’s way from Colorado to Texas the Rio Grande, one of the longest rivers in North America,  flows through part of the Santa Fe National Forest.  With Bandelier National Monument to the west and The Santa Fe National Forest to the east, this grand river flows through White Rock Canyon.  A relatively easy float, there is only one Class lll rapids along the way. The old Buckman townsite is a popular put in and takeout can be at Cochiti Lake.

The Rio Chama is a designated Wild and Scenic river, and bisects the Chama River Canyon Wilderness. Float permits are managed through the Bureau of Land Management.

There are several commercial outfitters who are authorized to offer trips on either river.  To find out more about authorized river outfitters, please call the following district office.

  • Rio Grande – Espanola Ranger District (505)753-7331.
  • Rio Chama – Coyote Ranger District (575)638-5526 or Taos Field Office (575)758-8851.

There are no opportunities for motorized boating on the Santa Fe National Forest, but there are numerous New Mexico State Parks which offer motorized boating opportunities nearby.

Areas & Activities