Kayaking & Canoeing

 It doesn’t have to be all about rafting. Plenty of river lovers take to Taos area rivers paddling. Not to be left out, boaters have plenty of lake options to choose from as well. That includes Racecourse and Lower Taos Box on the Rio Grande.

The abundance of tall mountains and north-central New Mexico's location just south of the Colorado Rockies create cascades of whitewater every spring. From small tributaries to the ‘Mother’ Rio Grande, the north-central waterways are a river runner's paradise. -- New Mexico Outdoor Sports Guide

The unbridled Rio Grande west of Taos is the river of choice for experienced whitewater enthusiasts. The dam-controlled Rio Chama is preferred by those seeking a gentler ride. An assortment of smaller rivers can be navigated during the short Spring runoff season, which typically begins in April.

If it’s lake water you crave, head to Heron Lake State Park, designated a "quiet lake" where boats operate at no-wake speeds only, or put in at Eagle Nest Lake, at 8,300 feet–a cool retreat from the summer heat (32 miles east of Taos).

Photo of kayaker John Fullbright on the Rio Grande by Geraint Smith.

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