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“We loved the whole experience, from the professional instruction and service, to the fall colors along the bosque, to the wildlife (Great blue heron, Canadian geese, Sandhill cranes... and a curious coyote), to the open skies above. Truly, you made our day!”
Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures' guided tours of the middle Rio Grande are truly an exceptional experience. Although we're located just ten minutes north of Albuquerque, the middle Rio Grande offers a genuine wilderness feel with little sense that you're adjacent to a major metro area (you'll rarely even hear traffic!).
Guided or Self-Guided - Which should I choose?
If you have limited experience (or none at all) in controlling a canoe or kayak on moving water, we strongly suggest that you begin with one of our guided tours. Although the middle Rio Grande is primarily Class I water, there are hazards present. Sweepers and strainers are common, as are occasional obstructions in the river. There are a few tricky bends and some small rapids to contend with as well. Varying water levels throughout the year create very different paddling environments, and floating with a guide who is familiar with the river can enhance your experience.
Those who do have some experience paddling on moving water will find little along the middle Rio Grande they haven’t encountered before. As long as you know how to avoid sweepers and strainers, (and what to do if you can’t avoid one), the difference between an upstream and downstream “V”, know what an eddy is, and have a fundamental understanding of river dynamics and reading a river, you should be fine. On the other hand, if you’re asking yourself what “sweepers”, “strainers”, “V’’s, “eddy’s”, “river dynamics” and “reading a river” are . . . please start with a guided tour.
All tours include a short safety and instructional video before we leave our shop, and our guided tours incorporate an additional orientation prior to launch.
"Paddling down the Rio Grande River with Quiet Waters still remains my #1 adventure in the Albuquerque area! The staff was courteous, pleasant, and well informed about the flora, fauna, and history of the river . . . "
Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures’ guided tours offer an opportunity to take in the tremendous scenery of the middle Rio Grande valley with the added benefit of a professional guide who is familiar with the nuances of this particular stretch of river, and we also provide a picnic along the way and bottled water throughout the tour.
Our guides are very helpful – they are accomplished paddlers familiar with this section of water, and will provide basic instruction on everything from paddle strokes to “reading” a river. They are also trained in rescue in case of a mishap, and are required to maintain certification in First Aid and CPR at a minimum.
Guided Adventures Include:
Your choice of canoe, kayak, or SUP, and paddle.
PFD (life vest) and all required safety equipment.
Shuttle to and from the river.
Pre-launch orientation addressing the fundamentals of river dynamics and basic paddling instruction.
Bottled water throughout the tour.
A light picnic, typically including an assortment of meats, cheeses, crackers, fresh fruits and/or vegetables, and cookies.
Guided Adventure Options and Rates:
All rates are per-person, and assume four adult participants or more (in total) on a given tour. (You do not need four adults to make a reservation – If there are less than 4 in your party, please call and inquire as to the current reservation status on the date and time you are interested in).
Children under twelve who float along with a parent or guardian in the same boat do so at half price, and count as one-half of an adult. (Applies to children floating along with one adult in a kayak or two adults in a canoe).
We currently offer five different tour options, and several different start times daily. Choices are listed below, in ascending order of actual time on the river – please allow an hour both to and from the river for planning purposes. Please see the “Tour Descriptions” section below for more details on the various options. Our current schedule follows immediately below.
One Hour of “River Time”:
"One Hour along the Bosque" – Bernalillo to Corrales – 4 miles
Tandem Canoe or Solo Canoe or Kayak: $49.00 per-person
Stand-Up Paddleboard: $54.00
"The Coronado" (Abbreviated) – Algodones to Bernalillo – 5 ½ miles
Tandem Canoe or Solo Canoe or Kayak: $54.00
Stand-Up Paddleboard: $59.00
Three Hour Options:
"The Coronado" – Algodones to Corrales – 9 ½ miles
Tandem Canoe or Solo Canoe or Kayak: $64.00
Stand-Up Paddleboard: $69.00
"The Bosque" - Corrales to Alameda – 8 1/2 miles
Tandem Canoe or Solo Canoe or Kayak: $59.00
Stand-Up Paddleboard: $64.00
"The Bosque" (Extended) - Bernalillo to Alameda – 13 miles
Tandem Canoe or Solo Canoe or Kayak: $69.00
Stand-Up Paddleboard: $74.00
"The Expedition" – Algodones to Alameda – 17.5 miles
Tandem Canoe or Solo Canoe or Kayak: $99.00
Stand-Up Paddleboard: $104.00
2014 Season: Friday, March 14 - Sunday, April 27th Fridays through Sundays
(Monday through Thursday are available for Group Outings)
Times indicated reflect your expected arrival at our facility. You will generally be on the water approximately one hour following your arrival.
“The Coronado" (Abbreviated) (2 Hours)
"The Coronado" (3 Hours)
"The Expedition" (6 Hours)
"One Hour along the Bosque" (1 Hour)
"The Bosque" (Extended) (4 Hours)
"The Bosque" (3 Hours)
Specialty Guided Adventures
We also offer several specialty tours at various times throughout the year. Our popular Sunset Float provides an opportunity to take in the Sandia Mountains bursting into their rich, watermelon colors in the light of the setting sun, while the Full Moon Floats deliver an incredible atmosphere along the river, with abundant beaver sightings common. Both of these tours are followed with a campfire, an assortment of snacks, and S'mores at Bernalillo's Coronado Campground.
Albuquerque’s annual Balloon Fiesta provides a lucky few with an opportunity to “Float the Fiesta!”, and take in the balloons as they soar over the river from the best seat in the house: relaxing in your canoe or kayak, far from the maddening crowds! Please see the dedicated Float the Fiesta! page for additional details and rates.
"Sunset Float" and "Full Moon Float"
Algodones to Bernalillo, followed by a campfire, snacks and S'mores!:
Canoe or Kayak - $64.00, SUP - $69.00
Please see the Waiver, Terms and Policies page for a link to our waiver, as well as our reservation policies, terms and procedures.
We are currently operating along approximately 18 miles of the middle Rio Grande, from the village of Algodones in the north, to the Alameda Bridge at the northern city limits of Albuquerque. Tour offerings will vary depending upon time of year, current flow levels and other factors, although we generally schedule tours from north to south throughout the day.
Our most popular tour, covering a stretch of river that encompasses the area the Coronado campaign wintered in 1540, this adventure will put in among a beautiful stand of cottonwoods in Algodones, then traverse approximately 9 1/2 miles of remarkably secluded Rio Grande valley. The upper section of this trip features several interesting ancient volcanic formations and two small, Class I rapids. Once south of the Hwy 550 bridge in Bernalillo, the Rio begins to widen and slow, while the Bosque opens regularly to reveal spectacular views of the Sandia mountains.
Coronado Tour "Adventurers" can choose either the abbreviated two-hour float, stopping at Coronado campground in Bernalillo, or extending the tour to three hours by continuing on to just north of Corrales.
As the Rio Grande passes through Corrales, the river widens and slows considerably, braiding into multiple channels as it meanders through seemingly endless cottonwood Bosque. Although this tour is quite close to the sprawling development of greater Albuquerque, the participants will not see any of it, as the east bank is dominated by the Sandia Pueblo lands, while the west bank is entirely protected Bosque preserve.
Approaching Alameda, the Rio spills into numerous narrow channels, winding its way through several small islands, providing an almost tropical feel. Songbirds and waterfowl are plentiful in this section, and the views and sense of solitude are remarkable. This is a very mellow float trip with few sections of fast moving water.
Bosque Tour Adventurers may select either the four hour "Extended" tour, starting at Bernalillo, the three hour standard version, putting in just above Corrales, or the brief “One Hour along the Bosque” tour exploring the section of the Rio from Bernalillo to Corrales.
If you're looking for a full day on the river, "The Expedition" tour provides an opportunity to float the full 18-plus miles of the Rio Grande, experiencing the river changing character from the narrower, quicker channel to the north, to the braided, wetlands-flavored bosque immediately north of Albuquerque proper. The guided version of this tour includes stops for two picnic breaks along the way.
Note: "The Bosque", "Extended Bosque" and "Expedition" Adventures are offered dependent upon current flow conditions. Please see the Current River Conditions page for more details, or call for availability.