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Experts say this year could be historic for the Rio Grande

Laura - April 18, 2019

Megan Abundis
April 09, 2019 10:45 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Now that spring has hit the Land of Enchantment, the temperatures are warming up and the snow is melting. That warm-up is creating some ‘New Mexico Moments’ that you maybe haven't seen in more than two decades.

Last year the state saw a historic low for river levels, but river raft experts say this year it could be historically high.

All of the mountains surrounding the Rio Grande had epic winters this year. So much so, that it's been more than 150% of the normal snowpack.


All of that flow coming right through to the New Mexico Gorge.

“My name is Matt Gontram and we go boating and that’s what we do for fun," Gontram said. "My wife Wendy and I run New Mexico River Adventures and we’re right here in the middle of the Rio Grande Gorge and the river is right across the street. It's a beautiful day in April and we are going to go boating.”

The higher the snowpack the higher the river, and the white water rafting season has already started.

“It’s just getting higher and higher and it’s going to be spectacular," Gontram said.

Boaters say it will be the most challenging and intense white water in the Southwest in 25 years!

“Some people don’t realize, how special this is, he said. "I mean it’s world-class up here.”

Right now the river is flowing at 550 cubic feet per second, but that will change in about a month as temperatures warm up.

“We could potentially see 10 times that this season," he said. “The phenomenal ones, the seasons that everyone talks about... those extraordinary water levels that only happen every 10 or 15 years. The last time it happened was in 2005. The time before that was in 1995. I have a feeling that 2019 is one that we are going to remember.”

Adventure trips range from $50 to $100. You can find that information here.

Also, the Mother Day Rio Grande White Water Races are back again, click here for more information.