Rio Grande - 04. Red River confluence to John Dunn Bridge

Rio Grande, New Mexico, US


04. Red River confluence to John Dunn Bridge (La Junta)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 8 Miles
Avg. Gradient 12 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-08263500 300 - 3000 cfs II-III 00h39m 56.7 cfs (too low)

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+).


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-07-15 04:21:41

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 14 2011 (2714 days ago)
utidcapaco (147848)
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.

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