Travel Blog


Gila River Rafting

Rafting Trip – Gila River rafting in New Mexico – 40 miles

Gila River Rafting – Description

The Gila River begins near Silver City, New Mexico, in the Gila Wilderness area. It travels west into Arizona, ending near the southeast town of Clifton.

Put in at Grapevine Campground and take out at Mogollon Creek. Rafters can also put in at USFS Road 809 and take out at Redrock to cover 18 miles. A third location calls for put in at Redrock with a take out at Highway 92 bridge for a trip of 19 miles. Anyone floating down the river are cautioned to watch for trees that may have  fallen into the river. Boats and rafts can get caught in the trees, and there is a chance you could capsize.

The trip down the river starts at about 7000’ in elevation, where you’ll be surrounded by majestic Evergreen, Juniper, and Ponderosa trees. Be sure to have your camera ready! As you descend to about 5500’ by the end of the run, you’ll be enjoying totally different flora, namely Alder, Cottonwood, and Sycamore trees.

Explore the Gila River

While running the Gila River, there are many wonderful places you can explore along its banks and in side canyons. Kayakers may even be treated to views of ancient petroglyphs. These are most likely carved by Native American tribes that were indigenous to this part of the American southwest thousands of years ago. They include the Comanche and Apache Nations.

Kayaking on Gila River waters also means a look at some of the area’s most incredible scenery. Bird watching couldn’t be better, with an amazing number of species inhabiting the canyons. You’ll also find a vast array of wildlife here, including rattlesnakes. Be cautious as to where you wander and be sure to abide by the rules of your experienced guide if you’re traveling on a guided kayaking or rafting tour. If you’re on your own, take time to read about the river and necessary safety precautions before you embark on your trip

Gila River Rafting Details

River Rating – Class III

Number of Rapids – 39 miles of class III rapids

Minimum Age – Check with outfitters for details and restrictions

Departure Dates – Unlike other rivers that are located further north, kayaking on the Gila River waters is best accomplished in the early spring months. Usually from late February or early March until the end of April, when snow melt is at its peak.

Boat Type – Kayaks and Rafts

What to Bring – Weather can be quite extreme in the early spring, with chilly temperatures one day and scalding heat the next. Dress in layers as your trip down the Gila River will require an overnight stay. This means you’ll need clothing of various weights during your trip.

Outfitters – Check locally for outfitters for Gila river rafting

Reviews – None available at this time, please feel free to leave a comment and or review about this river.

For more posts about New Mexico rafting and more, click here.

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