A note from our president:
Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures was born of passion – passion for paddling, and a passion for the middle Rio Grande, the long-neglected treasure of central New Mexico.
A native of Michigan, I arrived in the Albuquerque area in 2007, with a pop-up camper, two canoes, and a desire to pursue a long-time dream of operating my own business. I was thrilled to discover the Rio Grande, and soon found myself canoeing the river regularly, as I researched numerous business opportunities. Although the access points were (and still are) difficult, as well as few and far between, I soon fell in love with the beauty of the Middle Rio Grande, and the remarkable serenity it provided. Given that I'd arrived with two canoes (a solo and a tandem), it wasn't long before I found myself introducing others to the river. Even though I would rarely encounter others floating the Rio Grande here, I was shocked to find myself acquainting life-long New Mexico residents to the joy of paddling these gentle waters. The feedback I heard – not just from the locals, but tourists as well, led me to incorporate and found Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures in the summer of 2009. (The watercolor on this page was a gift from a tourist, Carolyn Lewis, whose enthusiasm for a trip in early 2009 was one of many encounters that encouraged me to pursue my passion professionally).
It was early 2010 before we actually began operations, and although the feedback from our guests was overwhelmingly positive, I was again startled to discover that the common perception of the Rio Grande among the local population was largely negative – one acquaintance told me that I'd need to rely exclusively on tourism, because as far as the locals were concerned, “no one wants to do that”. The comment didn't really offend me, as we'd already sent several hundred locals home raving about the experience, but I did find it intriguing. As I'm someone who has had an opportunity to canoe some pretty spectacular rivers over the years, the Rio Grande struck me as every bit as spectacular of a Class I river you'll find anywhere. The fact that it is surrounded by a major metropolitan community also makes it exceptionally unique. As I write this at the beginning of our fourth season, I must admit to no small measure of satisfaction to be playing a role in starting to change those negative perceptions, and am grateful for the continual support of our guests, who have gone out of their way to spread the word about the beauty and peace of the Rio Grande here in Albuquerque.
I've also been thrilled with the extensive positive press we've received in such a short time. Although there's no doubt that the experience of the river here is exceptional, it does puzzle me that so few had ever recognized it as such – it's not as if the Rio Grande was recently installed. I'm also somewhat humbled by all the amazing press. We strive to provide an extraordinary experience for our guests, but I recognize that ultimately it's the river that's resonating with people – we're just making the experience accessible to many who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity.
We do strive to be exceptional, though. When I first conceived of Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures, I knew that if I was going to do this, I would do it on as high a level as I was capable of. Growing up in the Midwest, I'd seen plenty of canoe and kayak operations that . . . well, let's just say they weren't what I would aspire to.
The first step in arriving at a canoe and kayak operation that I would aspire to had to do with education. Although recreational paddling is a relatively low-risk activity, tragedies occur every year, with the majority happening on small lakes and quiet rivers. Canoe and kayaks seem like such simple boats, but there are fundamentals that everyone should understand before embarking on any paddling outing. I'm personally a long-time member of the American Canoe Association, and the first step I took after forming the company was to join the Professional Paddlesports Association (recently merged with America Outdoors Association) providing us with tremendous safety materials, including the excellent 12-minute video which all guests are required to view before they leave our shop on any tour.
Step two had to do with selecting our boats – you won't find banged-up aluminum canoes in our shop. Once again, safety considerations came into consideration. (A study on paddling fatalities from 2004 found, among many other factors, that victims of fatal canoeing accidents most commonly were operating inexpensive canoe brands at the time of the accident – this is worth considering if you're eyeing that shiny new $300.00 canoe on display at your favorite big-box retailer). We offer extremely high-quality paddlecraft from only the best manufacturers. Information on the specific boats we offer can be found elsewhere on the site, but briefly, our tandem canoes all retail in the vicinity of $1500.00, and our kayaks are exceptionally stable recreational hulls (the vast majority from Jackson Kayak), that retail at $500.00 to $1000.00 each. There's a reason that a quality canoe or kayak costs more, and it's all in the design and materials involved.
The next decision, also safety-driven, was to provide an alcohol-free experience for our guests. I certainly have no objections to enjoying a cold beer after a day on the river, but paddling while intoxicated can be deadly. I also felt that the amazing serenity of the river was intoxication enough, and I wanted our guests to experience that, and not have to deal with the occasional (but inevitable) obnoxious guest who'd over-imbibed. This policy discourages some people, but I'm quite certain that those are outnumbered by those we attract.
Next, although most outfitters operating on Class I water don't do so, I felt that offering guided tours of the river would expand our appeal, encouraging many who may want to experience the Rio Grande, but don't have the time, money or inclination to pursue formal instruction and would be properly concerned about venturing out for several miles on an unfamiliar river without at least some education and guidance. Our guided tours have been a major success, and it's been extremely rewarding for me personally to have this opportunity to introduce so many people to an activity I have such a deep passion for.
Finally, we make an effort to continue our own education, about paddling as well as the myriad issues faced by the Rio Grande. Our guides, drivers and all other employees are encouraged to learn and share what we know with our guests. We strive to take the experience well beyond a simple paddling trip, and I think we succeed in doing so more often than not.
I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our guests for their support and feedback along our journey. We'll continue to seek to improve, and hope to expand our offerings in time. I hope to see you on the water soon.
“Chief Executive Guide”
How to find us:
We’re located at 105 D Pleasant View Drive, Bernalillo, New Mexico, 87004. (Google Maps)
From Albuquerque or Santa Fe via I-25:
Take Exit 242 (Hwy 550). Travel west approximately ½ mile to Camino del Pueblo (Hwy 313). Turn right (north) and drive ½ mile. Pleasant View Drive is immediately past a small party store on the right (“The Country Store”). Turn right onto Pleasant View, then take the first drive on the right into our parking lot.
From Farmington/Rio Rancho:
Take Hwy 550 east. Once you’ve passed over the Rio Grande, look for the second traffic light, Camino del Pueblo (Hwy 313). Turn left (north) and drive ½ mile. Pleasant View Drive is immediately past a small party store on the right (“The Country Store”). Turn right onto Pleasant View, then take the first drive on the right into our parking lot.