Jemez, New Mexico, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|JEMEZ RIVER NEAR JEMEZ, NM|
|usgs-08324000||500 - 900 cfs||III-IV||00h58m||15 cfs (too low)|
This run is very much a "creek" run in its character. Though most local boaters consider this a class 3 or 4 run, it is a shallow, fast, and continuous with small eddys and almost no flatwater. The run is also rocky and most recommend the use of a creek boat to be safer from pins. If you swim in this creek it is going to be bumpy and bruises and cuts often occur. This run is also subject to falling trees and has blind corners that should be scouted to avoid paddling into a surprise strainer. During the winter of 2007 several big trees fell across the river causing dangerous strainers. 2 of the three of these have been removed by local boaters. As of 2008 there is a river wide strainer just below the bridge to the monestary with the white statue on river left approximately 1/2 mile above the Soda Dam take out. Either portage or just take out here because the good part of the run is over by this point. The best eddy is usually below the bridge on river left.
This run includes several river islands that split the river and each side is lined tightly with overhanging sweeper willows. These can collect washed down strainers and it varies from year to year as to which side or both are runnable. In the past few seasons the best path on the last Island has been river right underneath the prayer flags that are strung across the river. A significant portion of this creek runs though private land so be courteous to the locals. I have had so far nothing but positive experineces with local homeowners and fisherman. It's a good idea if you encouter local fisherman, to ask if they know of any new trees down across the river.
For all the negatives this run is extremely fun and the shuttle is easy and fast to set up. If you judge it only by the small areas you can see from the road you are really missing all the good stuff in this run. The run changes character a lot from the brushy islands to rocky boulder gardens and sweeping corners. This almost always the first creek that runs in NM on any given year. It's a good fun warmup for the experienced and a step up challenge for those who have learned on the Rio Grande Race Course run below 1000 cfs.