The half-day float trip on the Rio Grande is an excellent way to spend part of a day in the Big Bend. Here are several things that will help you prepare for your adventure:
Where to Meet: Far Flung Outdoor Center (get directions)
Departure Time: Departure times for our half-day trip vary depending on the season. Please check your reservation confirmation for the correct departure time. Arriving 15 minutes prior to the departure will allow you time to complete any paperwork and shop for any last minute supplies.
Return Time (to Far Flung Outdoor Center): Approximately 4 hours.
Method of Travel: Raft, Canoe or Duckie, depending on water levels.
Meals and Refreshments: Snack and iced water provided by Far Flung.
Difficulty: Easy; paddling is required on trips traveling by canoe or duckie.
Other Notes: This trip travels through the Big Bend Ranch State Park located west of Lajitas. Due to time constraints, the half-day float does not travel through a canyon.
Minimum Age: 3
A Typical Half-day Itinerary:
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.
The half-day section of river we run varies depending on water levels, but most trips operate from the Madera Canyon put-in to the Grassy Banks take-out in the Big Bend Ranch State Park. This section of river is located west of Lajitas, Texas and generally follows the famous Camino Del Real or River Road (FM 170).
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 a snack somewhere along this 3-4 mile journey. Since you most likely ate breakfast or lunch before departing on this trip, we'll have something that boosts your energy levels and provides some good hydration. A typical snack might include any number of items such as fresh fruit or vegetables, dips cheese, salami, crackers, cookies and iced water.
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 30 minutes.
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.