The canyons of the Rio Grande are what makes a Big Bend river trip so special! Here are several things that will help you prepare for your adventure:
Where to meet: Far Flung Outdoor Center (get directions)
Departure time: 8:00 a.m.
Return time (to Far Flung Outdoor Center): Approximately 5:00 p.m.
Method of travel: Canoe or Raft, depending on water levels.
Meals and Refreshments: Lunch, iced tea, lemonade and water provided |
Difficulty: Easy; paddling required on trips traveling by canoe.
Recommended Minimum Age: 6
A Typical Full Day Itinerary:
Before your arrival, our staff will check water levels to determine which of two canyons - Colorado or Santa Elena - is the best section to float for that day. Back in the 80's we always had sufficient water in Santa Elena canyon to run a day trip, but with the drought of the 90's and ever increasing demands on the Rio Grande (from both the U.S. and Mexico), it has become impossible to predict water flows too far in advance. No matter which choice is made, please know that we'll have an enjoyable, educational experience on the river!
After meeting our guides and a quick round of introductions, we'll board one of our 15 passenger vans for the 45 minute ride to the river.
Arriving at the put-in, the guides will take a few minutes to unload and rig their boats while properly fitting you with a PFD (personal flotation device -more commonly known as a "life jacket"). You will also be issued a waterproof bag in which to store items such as extra clothing, camera, sunscreen, wallets and other personal items.
Since safety is our number one objective - followed by fun - we'll take a few more minutes to brief you and the other guests about specific river safety topics.
Pushing off the bank, we'll begin to make our way downstream. If we are in rafts this day, our guides will do the rowing (although you are welcome to try your hand at it!) and if the river levels dictate canoes or duckies, you'll be the master and commander of your boat! Yes, this means paddling. Nothing Olympic, just nice easy strokes coached, if needed, by our staff.
Sharing stories about the river and Big Bend is what we're all about, so stay close to our guides if you like tales of the outdoors. We encourage you to bring a camera and a pair of binoculars along for the ride.
We'll stop for lunch somewhere along this river journey. A typical lunch includes a make your own sandwich buffet complete with deli meats, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion and condiments. Chips, salsa, dips, fresh fruit and cookies round out the picnic. Iced tea, lemonade and water will be plentiful.
Coming into the take-out, we'll reverse the put-in process and take a few minutes to re-load gear into our vans and trailers. The drive back to Far Flung will take about one hour.
Passports and Other Documentation:
You will NOT need a passport or any form of identification to float the Rio Grande, however due to Homeland Security regulations, we won't be stopping on the Mexican side of the river for hikes, snacks or other activities.
If you are NOT a U.S. citizen we strongly advise you to bring your passport, visa or other related documentation which will not be required on the river, but will be needed to clear Border Patrol checkpoints on your way out of the Big Bend area.