Rio Mulatos


Rio Mulatos

August 26-August 31 or (September 4), 2017; 45 to 150 miles – 6 to 10-day Escorted Trip $250-$350/Person PLUS Shared Shuttle and Food

The Rio Mulatos carves a spectacular canyon through multiple layers of rock, ranging from reds and oranges in the upper section to some pink shades in the Barranca Mulatos. The lower sections before the Rio Aros confluence are heavily vegetated (and quite green during the monsoons) with large bluffs eroded to form high rimrock headlands above the river. A few ranchettes are found along the river below the Barranca Mulatos, becoming more numerous near the confluence with the Aros. Although the entire Mulatos/Aros trip has spectacular scenery, the whitewater of the Mulatos is the highlight of the trip.

Click here for a more detailed itinerary.

In 2010, 2011, and again in 2015, Neil and Lacey put in near the town of Mulatos to run the Rio Mulatos and continue on the Rio Aros and Yaqui. In 2010 the estimated flow in the Rio Mulatos was around 50 cumecs (approximately 1,750 cfs) which was an average and ideal level for the Mulatos. In 2011, the flow at the put-in near Mulatos was only around 5 cms (less than 200 cfs)! It took 5 hard days to reach the confluence with the Aros, a distance that took 2 days with adequate water in 2010. Flows in 2015 were estimated at about 20 cms (700 cfs) at the start, but quickly rose to over 150 cms (5,000 cfs) which is quite high in the barranca, so, in the interest of safety we waited until it dropped to more reasonable levels (under 2,000 cfs) before continuing. This year we are hoping to run the Mulatos again at near optimal levels . We will probably take out at Natora after a 3 day run, but may continue down the lower Aros and Yaqui, depending on the group.

Participants should have extensive Class IV boating experience, desert camping experience, and their own boating equipment. Participants must also be comfortable running solid Class IV rapids without scouting. It is often impossible to stop and scout many of the rapids once we have entered the barranca. We may have at least one cataraft package for rent (at additional cost) if you cannot transport your own equipment down to Mexico. The inflatable kayaks will rent for $200 for the trip and the cataraft for $350 for the trip. The trip cost of $250/person that covers Lacey and/or Neil to arrange shuttle, purchase food, and serve as leaders for the trip ($350 for the longer trip). In addition, participants will be responsible for their share of the shuttle and the food costs. We anticipate that total cost per participant will be on the order of $500 to $600 if they supply their own boat (see rental above). Participants should plan on bringing and additional $100 or so for incidentals such as food on the drive from and back to the border, and hotels in Sahuaripa before and after the trip. There is no option to do your own food on this trip and all boats must be light due to the potential for portages.

Note: depending on the group size, experience, and vehicles, participants may be required to drive their own vehicles in Mexico. These added expenses for fuel and insurance are NOT included in the trip cost or group shared expenses.

Trip Highlights:

  • Experience a river that few have ever seen – although this river is relatively close to the border, the difficulty of finding the right water level, difficulty of whitewater, and remoteness seems to keep many people from running it.
  • Amazing Scenery – see for yourself this incredibly beautiful canyon carved by the Rio Mulatos
  • Quality Whitewater – in the Barranca Mulatos there are several Class IV and many Class III rapids
  • Interact with the locals in Natora and possible sample some of the local Bacanora (tequila)

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