Rafting on the Rio Chama – Full Day Trip


Rafting on the Rio Chama!
“Chase and Abelino were our guides in the full day Chama river trip. This trip is beautiful for those who just want to enjoy amazing scenery and perfect for kids and first-time rafters since the rapids are mellow. Both of them were very knowledgeable, helpful and with a great attitude with everyone. I fully recommend Kokopelli for this experience!!”


We did the all-day Rio Chama rafting trip last week and it was fantastic! Our guide was Chase and he was so fun and proficient. Safety came first and we all really appreciated that a lot. He had great knowledge of the river and wanted to make sure we had the best day we could have on the river. He is a real asset to that company and anyone that gets him as their guide will be very lucky! Such a great time and memory. Thanks Kokopelli Rafting and thank you Chase for making us want to do more rafting in the future. The Hensley`s”

Julie T.

What an amazing trip with an amazing company, Kokopelli Rafting! Everyone we talked to including people answering the phones, working in the office and the guides were all great. My husband and I brought our two children (7 & 9) rafting for the first time. I was a bit nervous but Kokopelli staff explained everything to me beforehand to put me at ease. The guide was amazing with my kids ensuring everyone (especially me!) was comfortable that they were safe and happy! He made sure they were secure and provided a history lesson, taught them about rafting and even let them help guide. Everyone had an amazing time! Great job Kokopelli!”

Emilie M.

We loved our trip!!! My two college-aged daughters and another family of 4 met at Kokopelli Rafting for a day-long rafting trip on the Rio Chama. Despite the very crowded scene at the drop off point, our guide and assistant ably went through the safety checklist and got us on the river speedily and effortlessly. Somehow we never saw another one of those boats that had been clamoring to get into the river at the same time.  Our guide was knowledgeable about navigating the river, and instructing all of us how to paddle through the rapids. Our assistant met us river-side at mid-day for a simple and tasty luncheon spread which we all enjoyed. We had beautiful weather and scenery all day, except for the surprise thunderstorm on the river.”

Chael C.

“My family and I took a dream vacation to Santa Fe, and on the advice of a local we signed up for a 1-day trip on the Rio Chama. Our guide Justin was amazing — so funny, knowledgeable, and safety oriented. We loved every minute. I can’t wait to go back on the race course when my daughter is old enough.”

Savanah-Miles G.

Safe, life-long memories created for youth age 7-12
“We had 9 in our group, all first timers and wanted a full-day adventure. Kelly recommended the Rio Chama due to the younger age of the kids. Most youths were under 90 pounds. The three adults felt like everyone was safe the entire time. Our guides, Anastasia and Armaan were professional, fun and educational. They were patient and encouraging of the younger ones and brought joy to our group. One 8 year old said that rafting with Kokopelli “was one of the best times of my life!”

Vivianne C.

Delightful Experience!
“Went twice this month. Anastasia was great both times, knowledgeable, super friendly and felt very safe and confident in her expertise. The Rio Grande Racecourse was technical as the river level is a bit lower but fun with a few more rapids. The Rio Chama trip was so relaxing but gorgeous. Very peaceful and remote with amazing changes over the river as we had a storm that changed the whole experience to being like in a rain forest with mist. Gaggle of geese on the shore and a family of ducks added to the pleasure. Will have to try the Taos Box next! From the easy reservation process, on-time pick up, delightful lunch next to the river and trip all was excellent.”

Rafting on the Rio Chama

Rafting on the Rio Chama is the perfect “relax and recharge”  kind of trip.  Some whitewater rafting trips, like the Taos Box, have bigger rapids, that require constant attention, without much time to relax in between rapids.  However, the Rio Chama is a different kind of rafting trip.  It’s calm, yet flowing.  The rapids are fun, but not demanding.  Rafting on the Rio Chama is invigorating with cool breezes, wide open skies, warm sun, and crisp, cool water.  It’s perfect for beginners and first timers, children, adults, and seniors. 

When life calls for a slower, more contemplative pace, or the desire to disconnect from all of the cares of the day and just ‘be’, you’ll enjoy a day of river rafting on the Rio Chama.  Relax and unwind as you coast your way through some of the most majestic scenery New Mexico has to offer. Your senses will feast on the beauty and serenity all around as you ease your way down the Rio Chama.  Far from ordinary, the Rio Chama is extraordinary.

Day trips near Santa Fe

This full-day trip begins about 70 miles northwest of Santa Fe in the red rock country of northern New Mexico.  Just minutes from the historic Ghost Ranch and historically and culturally significant village of Abiquiu, NM.  You’ll float about nine miles in relatively tame waters, navigating through class II and easy class III rapids through the land and scenery that inspired artist Georgia O’Keeffe.  The multi-colored cliffs along the Chama are among the most beautiful and dramatic views in New Mexico.

Halfway through the trip, you’ll be ready for a healthy, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, freshly prepared by your Kokopelli guides on the banks of the Rio Chama. Once refreshed and satisfied after your lunch break, the journey continues as you run more playful rapids until reaching the takeout point.

Kokopelli Rafting Adventures owner, Kelly Gossett, describes his love for the Rio Chama, 

“The Chama is casual, almost ‘effortless.’ It’s good for the spirit. It’s grounding. It’s connecting. It honors a simpler time and simpler way of living. Provides solitude and serenity. And when I want a peaceful, calming day with my friends or some contemplative time alone, I want to be on the Rio Chama. It has everything I need, and nothing I don’t.”

Rafting on the Rio Chama can be done in a paddleboat or an oar-powered raft, which allows more time to take in the sights. 

The Rio Chama day trip is typically runnable on weekends when water is being released from the El Vado Dam.

Price: $124* per adult (13+), $105* per child (Age 5-12)*

Duration: 5-6 hours from Bodes or 7-8 Hours from Santa Fe

Meeting Location: Kokopelli Rafting – Santa Fe, NM @ 8:15 am
or Bodes General Store – Abiquiu, NM @ 9:30 am

Meeting Time: 8:15 AM or 9:30 AM

Difficulty: Class II – III-

Minimum age: 5 years old

2022 Season:  This section is unlikely to run in 2022-2023 due to dam construction at El Vado Reservoir.  Please call for additional information. 

Includes: Guide, Gear, Transportation, and Snack

Participant Requirements: Must be in generally good physical fitness, have the ability to brace yourself inside the raft, and paddle periodically as requested by the guide. Must be age 5 and up. Participants over 225 lbs in weight require additional screening.

5-Person Minimum: Rafting on the Rio Chama has a 5-person minimum (cumulative among all parties).  If the 5-person minimum is not met, Kokopelli Rafting Adventures reserves the right to move participants to a similar full-day rafting trip.

*Prices do not include taxes or federal user fees.