2 Day Colorado Canyon
This itinerary is intended as an example only. Your trip may vary somewhat depending on weather and river conditions, your guide and your group's interests. Itineraries may be subject to change, please call our office for additional information.
Part of the Big Bend Ranch State Park, Colorado Canyon offers a unique rafting trip through the only volcanic rock canyon in the Big Bend region. Your leisurely two-day trip will begin from our office on Hwy 170 in Stude Butte, with a ride in our shuttle vehicle along the River Road (Camino Del Rio). This drive has been rated as one of the most scenic drives in the country. Along the way, we will traverse “Big Hill,” where the spectacular panorama of the river and the mountains of Texas and Mexico will take your breath away. From atop Big Hill, the river looks like a small shimmering ribbon far beneath the highway. As you look west, you will see where the Rio Grande disappears at the mouth of Colorado Canyon.
Day before trip: Pick up your waterproof gear bags at our office. If you arrive after hours, we will have your bags waiting for you when you check in on the morning of your float trip.
Day One: Check in at our office at 8:45 a.m. You should have your overnight things packed into the waterproof gear bags when you arrive. Wear shoes and clothes that you do not mind getting wet. In warmer weather, you will need sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, a bathing suit or cutoffs, a lightweight long-sleeved shirt for sun protection, and sneakers or river sandals. We provide waterproof boxes for your cameras and day bags for small personal items. You will not need watches, jewelry, or money on the river, so please lock these up before you check in.
At 9 AM, your guide will meet you at our office and take you to the Rancherias River Access to load and board rafts for the trip. We will arrive at Rancherias Rapid a few minutes later, and your adventure into the canyon begins. The volcanic formations of Colorado Canyon include dark, welded rhyolite tuffs and occasional basalts which have been worn smooth by the relentless passage of the Rio Grande. The canyon stretches in front of us for the next 6 miles, with walls sometimes as high as 1,000 feet. There are numerous narrow side canyons for hiking and exploring. One of these canyons leads to an old rock corral that was built hundreds of years ago and is still being used by Mexican cattle ranchers today.
Around noon your guide will serve you a “deli style” lunch. While your guide is setting up lunch, you may want to take a short hike to explore the area and study the many varieties of cactus and native plants. Red-tailed hawks are often seen or heard screaming high above the canyon walls. Listen for the descending trill of the canyon wrens, and look for numerous turtles sunning themselves on rocks at the river’s edge.
The first few miles of Colorado Canyon contain more rapids than in any other section of the Rio Grande. These are not large, dangerous rapids, but fun, splashy areas that make this trip a favorite among children and youngsters of all ages. You may choose to float along in the river beside the raft or possibly take a swim in a tinaja (a spring-fed natural rock pool) that will offer a cool, refreshing break on a hot summer day.
Late afternoon: Your guide will find a comfortable campsite for the evening and start preparations for a dinner feast along the Rio Grande. You will have the opportunity to hike, explore, or just relax and listen to the soothing sounds of the river.
After nightfall: After dinner, enjoy the warmth of the campfire as you sit and watch the dazzling stars of the West Texas skies. A trip scheduled during the full moon will treat you to a spectacular moonrise and moonlight so bright you can almost read by it. Fall asleep out under the stars, or rest inside the cozy tent we provide for you. Either way, you will be reminded of the days when life was much simpler.
Day Two: Your morning begins with the smell of fresh coffee and a hearty breakfast being prepared by your guide. After you break down camp and repack the rafts and gear, your float down the Rio Grande will continue.
Shortly beyond the exit of Colorado Canyon, we will splash through two fun rapids—Panther Rapid and Son of Panther. As you look downstream from Panther, the Big Hill and Dark Canyon loom in the distance. Dark Canyon is a short, narrow canyon with sheer walls towering hundreds of feet above you. Wild burros and longhorn cattle may be seen along this stretch of river. Your adventure ends a few miles further downstream, where our shuttle vehicle waits to drive you back to our office in plenty of time for dinner and a relaxing evening.
PRICE: For prices see our price list.
We provide waterproof bags for all your personal items. If you do not have a sleeping bag, sleeping pad or tent, you can rent them from us for $10 each plus tax per trip. All your meals are included, from lunch on the first day, all meals in between and ending with lunch on the last day. Our exquisite dinners can include steak, lasagna, fajitas or enchiladas and always includes wine and a dazzling dessert consisting of cheesecake, freshly made dutch oven cakes or cobblers. Sit back and gaze at the amazing scenery around you while your guides do the work. Then, brightly shining, the stars come out, leaving you to gaze at the brightest stars in Texas in awe.
For an overnight packing list, click here!
If you enjoy your trip, tips for your guide are always appreciated.