This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III+
Length 83.5 Miles
Gauge Rio Grande at Rio Grande Village, Big Bnd NP, TX
Flow Range 200 - 10000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 509 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 07/14/2015 5:04 am

River Description

For more information, see Texas Whitewater 2nd Edition.
See also Big Bend National Park and their descriptive site, Floating the Rio.
See also the descriptions in Southwest Paddler.

Put-in is approximately 1740' elevation.
Take-out is approximately 1290' elevation.
Therefore total elevation change is approximately 450'.

Rapid Descriptions

Maravillas Rapid

Class - II Mile - 11.2

Big Canyon Rapid

Class - II Mile - 27.2

Read and run center left.

El Recodo Rapid

Class - II+ Mile - 31.1

A relatively new rapid formed by the outwash from El Recodo Canyon.

Silber Canyon Rapid

Class - I Mile - 38.3

Hot Springs Rapid

Class - III+ Mile - 40.7

The rapid is formed by the outwash from San Rosendo Creek. Scout from the Mexican side. If running the rapid the preferred line is down the center.

Bullis Fold Rapid

Class - II Mile - 44.4

Palmas Canyon Rapid

Class - II+ Mile - 45.5

Large boulders in the center of the rapid require paddlers to choose a right or left line. At lower flows the lines are tricky and those who are indecisive will end up wrapping their boat on the center rocks.

Rodeo Rapid

Class - II Mile - 50.1

Upper Madison Falls Rapid

Class - IV Mile - 54.9

Upper Madison Falls is a two part rapid and the most challenging drop on the run. Most boat scout the first half and eddy out on river right above the second half. The main line is down the left. Many will choose to line the rapid down the river right channel.

Son of Burro Rapid

Class - II Mile - 55.4

Lower Madison Falls

Class - III Mile - 57.2

Panther Canyon Rapid

Class - II+ Mile - 60.9

Generally run down river left along the bluff.

San Francisco Rapid

Class - II+ Mile - 66.3

The river course at this rapid is known to change. The river flows into a bedrock wall on the Texas bank and makes a hard turn to the right. The line is particularly challenging at lower flows.

Sanderson Canyon Rapid

Class - II Mile - 78.9

The line is generally down the left along the bedrock wall while taking care to avoid the rocks that must be avoided.


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10 years ago

Southwest Paddler has an excellent write-up on this run (and all the Rio Grande runs). Marc has probably done this run as many times as anybody.

Gage Descriptions

See the Daily Report (pdf file) for current conditions on the Rio Grande.

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.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

County to Vote to Extend Closure on Guadalupe Tonight (TX)

Jason Robertson

The Comal County Commissioner's Court is taking measures that will restrict access to the Guadalupe River indefinitely. AW's primary objective on the Guadalupe is to restore access as soon as possible and to make sure that boater access does not impede on-going rescue and recovery efforts.

Thomas O'Keefe




Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1203150 03/10/14 Thomas O'Keefe access edits
1203166 03/11/14 Thomas O'Keefe rapid photos added
1205059 07/14/15 DRC
1191617 11/20/08 n/a n/a
1202156 05/14/13 Matt Muir rapids mapped