This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III
Length 8 Miles
Flow Range 300 - 3000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 22 minutes ago 46.8 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/15/2017 4:21 am

River Description

Generally this is the paddle out for the Upper Box or Red River reaches. Access is very difficult for those who just want to paddle the II/III.
See the descriptions of this run at and at New Mexico Bureau of Land Management Rivers Page.

The reaches of the Taos Box area are...
Ute Mountain (Class II),
Razors (Class III/IV),
Upper Box (Class V/V+),
Lower Box (Class III/IV),
Pilar (Class III/IV),
Otowi Bridge (Class III),
Red River (Class IV),
Rio Pueblo (Class V+), and
Rio Embudo (Class V+).


Rapid Descriptions


default user thumbnail
9 years ago

Ran this on June 11, 2011. Gauge ( reported about 650 cfs. There is plenty of flat water, but this is not a class II run. As a local expert noted, "there are a couple stout class 3 rapids on the stretch." Boaters putting in at the bottom of Little Arsenic Trail will immediately encounter three class II to II+ rapids. Shortly thereafter is the La Junta rapid, visible from the Little Arsenic Campground on the gorge rim. It is hidden around a bend to the left, so be heads up. A commercial guide advised running generally river left, but while river scouting, I did not see a clear line. Due to the length and technical nature (longer than Albert Falls and more technical than The Narrows on the Racecourse stretch), I'd rate this a III+. Scouting is advised for first timers. The second class III came about halfway through the run. You can hear the very short, but steep and powerful Garapata from a distance. The horizon line is easy to spot, and the slow pool makes for an easy scout (we scouted from river right). The riverbed constricts and drops sharply. To avoid a hole on the left and "funny" water on the right, run straight down the tongue into the rooster tail, then charge hard left to avoid the large boulder at the bottom. Plenty of flat, slow water follows in the event carnage recovery is needed.

Gage Descriptions

Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2017-05-13 n/a Near Miss/Rescue Inexperience Read More



article main photo

We Need your Help to Protect Paddlers’ Access to New Mexico Rivers and Streams

Kestrel Kunz

Rivers once promoted by the New Mexico State Parks Division in their publication “New Mexico Whitewater - A Guide to River Trips” are now being blocked by private landowners with barricades, cables and No Trespassing signs. This includes upper Chama and Pecos river segments. Privatizers have filed additional applications that would close several other river segments in New Mexico, and their lawyers are threatening an “immense wave” of constitutional “litigation” in the event that “any action by the Court, the Legislature, the Department, or the Commission… restrict[s] landowners’ rights to prevent the public from using their streambeds underlying public waters.” American Whitewater has been working with our local partners in New Mexico to ensure that this new Rule is rescinded. We need your support to win this battle. If you’re in a position to contribute, doing so will help us with legal expenses for our partners and outreach.

article main photo

NM Senators Introduce Wild and Scenic River Legislation - Help us thank them!

Kestrel Kunz

We are celebrating a great win today after New Mexico Senators Udall and Heinrich announced the introduction of the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act. The Act, officially introduced on May 8, would protect over 440 miles of free-flowing rivers and streams in the Gila and San Francisco watersheds. If passed, the Gila and San Francisco Rivers and their tributaries would receive permanent protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act - the strongest protection a river can receive. While the Gila legislation gives flexibility to existing uses and landowners, the free-flowing nature and outstanding values of these rivers and streams would be protected now and for future generations to enjoy. The main stem Gila and San Francisco Rivers offer some of the most remote and wild paddling opportunities in New Mexico and have been explored and loved by paddlers for decades. Please help us thank the Senators for their commitment to protect these rivers by filling out this super easy form! 

article main photo

Last Chance! National Monuments Review Comments

Thomas O'Keefe

Take action today using our easy online form to protect National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act! A public comment period began on May 12th and ends July 10th for an April 26th Executive Order which directed Interior Secretary Zinke to conduct a review of all Presidential designations over the past 21 years. A number of Monuments being reviewed are of significant interest to paddlers and provide protections for cherished whitewater stretches, including Bears Ears (Lower San Juan River, UT), Grand Canyon-Parashant (Colorado River, Grand Canyon, AZ), Giant Sequoia National Monument (Tule River, CA), Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (East Branch of the Penobscot River, ME), Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (Rio Grande, Taos Boxes, NM) and many more.


Matt Muir


Kestrel Kunz


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191020 08/10/05 n/a n/a
1198854 11/30/10 Matt Muir Updated lynx.
1208103 07/15/17 Kestrel Kunz