TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – Avid river rafters are excited to paddle down the Rio Grande this season. “I don’t get to run this stretch a whole lot and it’s usually not worth it to me to even come out and make the effort, but in this case, it definitely is,” said rafter Yates Sanford.

Sanford, who was enjoying the river on Sunday near Taos, said conditions were great. This comes after officials mentioned the Rio Grande is not experiencing drought conditions due to the amount of snowmelt.

“The snowpack is way above average and there’s a lot of it. More importantly, it’s staying really cold at night which is saving it, to melt later which is exactly what us river rafters want,” said the owner of Los Rios River Runners, Cisco Guevara.

Guevara said his guides and their boats are making their way down the river quicker in Taos due to stronger running water. The U.S. Geological River Gauge said the Rio Grande got over six feet high Sunday near Taos and reached more than 2,600 cubic feet per second.

“We haven’t seen that much water in this canyon in over four years,” said Guevara.

Guevara added this time of year is when more people tend to go rafting because of the high water and this year, he is even busier than usual with rides in Taos. “We’re busier this time of year than we’ve been in quite a few years. There’s a lot of excitement. People are aware of the amount of water that’s up in the mountains that’s starting to come down. It’s getting higher every single day,” said Guevara.

Guevara’s company runs rides through the Chama River and Rio Grande. According to him, the Rio Grande tends to have more white-water rafting. The season lasts through the summer into October and Guevara said ‘high water season’ lasts up to eight weeks. This year, he expects it to last longer in the Rio Grande. 

“This is the time that people are very excited about rafting because high water is way fun. All rafting is fun – even low water – but high water is way fun. It’s a lot more exciting,” Guevara says.

The Bureau of Reclamation in Albuquerque said that based on current water levels, it’s unlikely for the Rio Grande to go dry this year as it did last summer.