Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River

Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico.

The Rio Chama, a major tributary of the Rio Grande, flows through a multi-colored sandstone canyon whose walls increase to 1,500 feet above the river as you travel downstream. Co-managed by BLM and the Forest Service (FS), 24.6 miles of the river is Congressionally designated as a Wild and Scenic River and flows through the Rio Chama Wilderness Study Area managed by the BLM, and the Chama River Canyon Wilderness managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Towering cliffs, heavily wooded side canyons, and historical sites offer an outstanding wild river backdrop for the angler or boater. To protect the river environment from overuse, and to maintain an opportunity for a high quality experience, boating is limited to set number of boaters per day. There is a lottery system to assign launch dates.

Activities and Experiences

Nearby Activities


El Vado Ranch is reached via NM 112 from US 84 near Tierra Amarilla. Forest Road 151 just north of Ghost Ranch on US 84 reaches the lower part of the river. Forest Road 151 is a dirt road and not easily accessible when wet.

Additional Information