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Boquillas Canyon, photo by TRPA member Richard Grayson

Rio Grande, Boquillas Canyon: Rio Grande Village to Heath Canyon (34 miles)

Boquillas Canyon Rabbit Ears, photo by TRPA member Richard Grayson

Recreation & Access

Launching at Rio Grande Village is routine for Boquillas paddling trips. Always tie up your boats overnight because you just never know when a pulse flow from upstream rains might come. But more likely, extremely high winds can blow away boats and tents. It happens!

Quick Info

Length34 miles
Class (I-VI)I-II
Minimum Flow200 cfs
Ideal Flow300 – 2,000 cfs
Maximum Flow5,000 cfs
Current River ConditionsUSGS Rio Grande Village
Put-in mapRio Grande Village
Take-out mapHeath Canyon
Boats Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts
SeasonYear-round, weather/flow permitting
HighlightBig canyons, easy paddling, good camping
Distances to
Rio Grande Village
Dallas 630 miles; Houston 650 miles; Austin 485 miles; El Paso 350 miles

Conservation & Threats

Bacterial infections are easy to contract. Use soap and clean water, especially with open sores on hands or feet. Development encroachment, water pollution. Invasive Giant reed (Arundo donax) and Tamarisk or salt cedar are ubiquitous along the river banks.

Historical/Cultural Significance

Conflict with Mexico continued when the United States annexed Texas as a state in 1845. Mexico claimed that the new border between Texas and Mexico was the Nueces River, while the United States contested the border was the Rio Grande. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, that brought an official end to the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), was signed on February 2, 1848, at Guadalupe Hidalgo, where the Mexican government had fled with the advance of U.S. forces. By its terms, Mexico ceded 55 percent of its territory, including parts of present-day Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah, to the United States. Mexico relinquished all claims to Texas, and recognized the Rio Grande as the southern boundary with the United States. The United States paid Mexico $15,000,000 “in consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States” (see Article XII of the treaty) and agreed to pay American citizens debts owed to them by the Mexican government. The treaty gave rise to development of the IBWC International Boundary and Water Commission which governs all concerns of flow and sharing of the boundary waters of the Rio Grande and other boundary waters of New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Natural Features

Boquillas is the singularly most massive of all the Big Bend canyons. It is best paddled over 3-4 days with a layover day built in.

Additional Resources

Flow information