"Few things are worth getting up early for when you’re on vacation, but paddling the renowned Rio Grande River is one of them . . . Although the company offers guided excursions between two and four hours long, opt for a self-guided tour of this easily navigable stretch of water for a leisurely, at-your-own-pace trip."
5280 - Denver's Mile High Magazine
"Self-Guided Adventures" is our term for Kayak, Canoe, and Paddleboard rentals that include a passenger vehicle shuttle along with the watercraft and all equipment. Those who are experienced in controlling watercraft on rivers will find the middle Rio Grande an incredibly scenic and serene Class I+/Class II float.
River conditions change dramatically with flow levels over the course of the year. Average flows (700 - 1200 cfs), features relatively slow current and shallower water, while peak run off conditions (above 2500 cfs) creates much more challenging conditions, including deep water, strong current speeds, large floating debris (sometimes entire trees) and long stretches of overhanging trees and brush. Occasional obstructions in the river channel create significant waves.
Please see Current River Conditions for current flows and additional details.
Recommendations for Self-Guided Guests:
We recommend that those choosing to venture out without guide support be competent swimmers, comfortable both underwater and swimming in current, and possess a fundamental understanding of river dynamics and sufficient skills to safely navigate Class I+/II rivers, including:
- How to recognize and avoid obstructions in the river channel
- How to stop and get to shore quickly and efficiently
- How to eddy in and out of current
- How to position their watercraft when approaching hazardous bends
- How to execute self-rescues in moving water
For those uncertain regarding any of the above, please choose a Guided Adventure.
All Self-Guided Adventures Include:
The watercraft rental* and paddle.
PFD (life vest) and all required safety equipment.
One-way Passenger Vehicle Shuttle from the take out to the put in location*
Notice of Potential for Additional Fees
Please see Waiver, Terms and Policies for full information on additional fees that may apply to Self-Guided guests, including:
- Full Financial Responsibility for lost Watercraft and Equipment
- Rescue and Recovery Services
- Late Arrival at a Takeout or Missed Takeout Fees
Current Self-Guided Options
Please click through for current rates.
Limit of one adult per kayak or stand up paddleboard, or two adults per canoe ot tandem kayak
QWPA requires a minimum of 6 registered participants to conduct an outing (That's 6 in total, not per reservation). If you've registered for an outing that's yet to reach the minimums, you'll be notified by email and updated once the minimum is reached. If the minimums are not reached prior to 6:00 PM the day prior to the event, any deposits will be refunded in full.
Children under 90 lbs floating along with two adults in a canoe or tandem kayak, or with one adult in a stand up paddleboard (SUP) or SUP with kayak seatback are half the adult rate and count as 1/2 of an adult for tour minimum purposes. Please see the Tour Descriptions page for full details on the various options
River Classifications and degree of difficulty will vary depending upon flow levels. See the Current River Conditions page for current flow conditions and additional information on the Expanded Class I River Classification methodology used here.
Please see the Waiver, Terms and Policies page for a link to our waiver, as well as information on additional policies that are applicable to self-guided guests, including potential additional fees involving lost or damaged watercraft and equipment, fees involved in rescue and recovery services, and fees relating to late arrivals at a designated takeout.
Book Online, or call (505) 771-1234
Reservations are required, but we may be able to accommodate same day requests.
Please call before you drive out to be certain that we do have availability for the time you're interested in.
New Mexico strictly prohibits operation of any watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Please save the party for after the river.