The Rio Chama, a major tributary river of the Rio Grande, is located in the U.S. states of Colorado and New Mexico. The river is about 130mi long altogether. From its source to El Vado Dam its length is about 50mi, from El Vado Dam to Abiquiu Dam is about 51mi, and from Abiquiu Dam to the mouth of the Rio Grande is about 34mi.Put Rio Chama and other New Mexico attractions into our New Mexico route tool , and watch your holiday take shape.
The name "Chama" is a shortened version of the Tewa term '''', meaning "wrestling pueblo-ruin".
The Rio Chama originates in south-central Colorado, just above the New Mexico border in the San Juan Mountains and Rio Grande National Forest. The main stem Rio Chama begins at the confluence of two short headwater tributaries called West Fork and East Fork. The West Fork flows eastward from the Continental Divide. Across the divide lies the Navajo River, one of the headwater tributaries of the Colorado River. The East Fork extends a few miles into Conejos County, Colorado to a source near one of the headwater tributaries of the Conejos River. The confluence of the forks lies just within Archuleta County, Colorado. From there the Rio Chama flows generally south. After a few miles the river enters Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and flows by the town of Chama. The tributary Willow Creek joins the Rio Chama after being impounded as Heron Lake by Heron Dam. Willow Creek flows from the dam about 1000ft to the Rio Chama. A couple miles below that the Rio Chama flows into El Vado Lake, a reservoir created by El Vado Dam.
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Rio Chama Reviews
The views of OKeeffe territory are spectacular. The river I understand is temperamental so check the weather and the dam For release of water. We had a super family float. The rapids were enough for s... more »
We decided to continuing our fly fishing this summer while we were in Santa Fe, so we returned to the Reel Life fly fishing shop in the Sanbusco shopping center in Santa Fe to hire our favorite guide,... more »
The view is amazing. Love this place.
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