Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande: A 9 Day Canoe Trip

Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande: A 9 Day Canoe Trip

The Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande, is one of the most remote stretches of wild river in the Lower 48. Straddling the border between the USA and Mexico, this 200km stretch of the Rio Grande makes for a  challenging, remote river trip, that sees fewer than 200 paddlers attempt each year. The first Spanish conquistadors who entered this area called it El Despoblado, desolate or worthless land. This section of the Rio Grande was the last segment of the U. S. boundary to be surveyed. Up to challenge, In March of 2017, our group set out on a 9 day canoe trip to experience this wild river for ourselves.   

We began our adventure  at Rio Grande Village in Big Bend National Park, exactly where Wayne and I finished our 175km paddle through the Great Unknown back in 2015. The first stretch would take us through the majestic Boquillas Canyon to the abandoned Mexican mining town of La Linda. From there, we would leave almost all traces of civilization behind, as we entered harsh landscape of sprawling desert,  jagged  mountains and imposing chasms.  This lower stretch is flanked by remote river canyons  with walls towering nearly 2,000 feet overhead. 

Additional footage from David Lee @ The Pursuit of Passion: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP9jsHQperIbKzBGEO_ijPQ

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Thanks for watching.


  1. Doug Underwood on June 22, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Awesome trip. Love the bonus Five Man Electric Butterfly Band song. I haven’t heard that in about 40 years. Fantastic!

  2. charles ludo on June 22, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Boring . Just send a robot next time . No fishing no swimming no fun no exploring .

  3. Hadouken Hadouken on June 22, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    Will an outbreak on the horizon maybe shelter away from people is the best solution.

    – Who wants to be village Mayor?

  4. 2010chingonoutdoorsman on June 22, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Nice trip you all took, I live in Rio Grande area. Actually the river is about 100 yards from my backyard. Since I noticed you took "A LOT’ of water out of curiosity I wanted to know why take all that water if you are surrounded by fresh water & it only takes a filter &/or boil?

  5. James on June 22, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    fantastic video, it deserves more views

  6. Patrick Najera on June 22, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Dessert Sports are great!

  7. Stuart M. on June 22, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    If no one has mentioned it, it should be "Las Vegas de los Ladrones" which I think means "The Meadows of the Thieves." You guys really "stole" a beautiful adventure on the Rio Grande.

  8. Pete Walton on June 22, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    meanwhile, i’m watching this in northern Ont. during a snow storm.. thanks for making me feel warm lol

  9. jim burns on June 22, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    Great video! Backcountry angling Ontario is a great channel for those interested in canoeing

  10. David Lemke on June 22, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Great video, I did this trip @20 years ago with 5 co-workers, it was an amazing trip. Very interesting that we camped in some of the same places………………David

  11. Annette Millette on June 22, 2020 at 6:36 pm


  12. Daniel Glen Timms on June 22, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Beautiful…looks like fun!

  13. Chronic Awareness on June 22, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    id love to do that… only id have a metal detector and search every cave and crevice lol … i bet frontiersmen traveled and the natives heavily traveled it and all the history…

  14. jim carson on June 22, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks for a great video of an epic trip, very postive people. I was surprised that you do not see anyone else the whole trip.

  15. Al Al on June 22, 2020 at 6:38 pm


  16. Jerad Laxson on June 22, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    This video could not have premiered at a better time. Me and a group of paddling buddies are setting off through the lower canyons towards the end of March! We were worried about the low March flows and this video was incredibly reassuring! Excellent cinematography and editing. I sent this to all my buddies to get them even more excited than they already are! Good job!

  17. Di Strachan on June 22, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    What time of year did you go?

  18. UnderBridge Rock on June 22, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    I would have thought this was Utah if I didn’t know better. I guess I need to come paddle Texas/Mexico

  19. Deets on June 22, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    totally wow!💯

    4 hr ride bk, long trip.
    9 days in a canoe, not long enough! 👍

  20. Daniela Pennycook on June 22, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Hey! Great to see you in Texas. Excited to plan this trip!! Thanks for the info <3

  21. siegfried bernhardt on June 22, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Shit talking all the time

  22. Explore The Backcountry on June 22, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks a lot for watching the video of our paddle down the Lower Canyons! Please hit those like and subscribe buttons if you enjoyed the film and want to catch more of our upcoming adventures!
    Thanks to all of you for the continued support!

  23. carlosw2006 on June 22, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    What a great video! I’m happy to say that I was able to do this canoe trip when I was about 12 or 13 years old. I am now 32 and dream of trying this again. Thank you for the awesome video to help remind me of what I was able to do at a young age. Difference for us was that we put in at La Linda instead. The hot springs was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The head winds and hot sun were my major dislikes. Cooking/food is always better on the river! Nice to see y’all didn’t flip the canoe. We managed one flip while the other canoe flipped 7 or 8 times. Other things I remember that were not in the video was a tall man and dog white painting. A camper that was on the top of a tall mountain due to floods. I believe there was a pump house up on the cliff side near the hot springs. Again, what a nice video!

  24. Bri Guy on June 22, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    I’ll just sit here with a stupid grin on my face. Thanks for that. 😁👍

  25. Ipswitch on June 22, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Can you camp on the Mexican side?

  26. Jim Forbes on June 22, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Just an observation but you guys should turn those paddles around. At 4:25 it looks like the power face of the paddle is facing upstream. By turning the paddle around you would get more purchase with each stroke. Great video! Thank you for sharing.

  27. Steve Cole on June 22, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    People disappear Gringos

  28. Sold to be Diers on June 22, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Obliged for draggin us along.
    Blessin’s from the north bank; final resting place state of those two blood baptized Texans Crockett & Bowie.

  29. StereoSpace on June 22, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Great trip and awesome, fun video. Thanks so much.

  30. Brian Shutter on June 22, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Loved this video! I never had any desire to canoe the Rio Grande . This changes everything. Great video!

  31. carlosmante on June 22, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Rio Bravo Grande del Norte.

  32. Scott Brooks on June 22, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Did you come across anyone else?

  33. maria da salete alves on June 22, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Muito lindo Deus abençõe

  34. Al Tokarchik on June 22, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    What a great video! That looks like an awesome trip. What a great time.

  35. jim vanderwood on June 22, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    I agree w/ tomjeffersonwasright – excellent cinematography and film making!

  36. Hiking with Marty on June 22, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    This was a great watch, really enjoyed it! Great scenery and some very beautiful skies, mostly in the morning and evening shots, amazing! love it!! 😀

  37. Joel Reeder on June 22, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Enjoy the Rio Grande now because the wall is going to shut it off.

  38. Dave Hansen on June 22, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    Come on you guys, "neat, cool, amazing, spectacular" What things? springs? beaver? fish? snakes" birds(I can hear some in the backgrounds even above the music) did you drink the hot water? Thanks for sharing.

  39. Two4adventure on June 22, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Great video, start to finish!

  40. David Stillman on June 22, 2020 at 7:06 pm


  41. Blackjáck Music on June 22, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Ahh man you guys are so lucky to paddle that stretch of river…I’ve been floating since I was just a young lad on Ozark rivers…spring feed, fast , clear, and mostly remote…My canoe was stolen a few years ago but today I’m going to order a brand new Old Town Discovery 169 and plan on doing some eastern Kentucky rivers (class two and three) And will head to south Mo.to my old stomping grounds.

  42. Rosaline Oh on June 22, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    @31:45 Anita is such a warrior. Looks like a trip of a lifetime! Thanks for bringing us along

  43. Tipi Dan on June 22, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    "Las Vegas De Los Ladrones"— not LARDones. It means "the plains (or meadows) of the thieves."

  44. David Mueller on June 22, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Brad you should try the canyons of the Colorado River that divides California and Arizona. Drop in at Hoover Dam. Beautiful colors, water levels controlled by dams. The water is ice cold. Some small rapids but not much.

  45. Michael Fitzgerald on June 22, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Pretty darn cool, y’all! I had no idea this portion of the Rio Grand was so beautiful…

  46. gogerwi on June 22, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Very nice, thanks.

  47. Tim Gruver on June 22, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    I assume you were very well armed? And what about the Border Patrol- did they mess with you?

  48. Izzi Michaels on June 22, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    were there any border issues? check points etc? just curious, thanks!

  49. C Q on June 22, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Very nice. Rugged, steep walled, narrow canyon at beginning. Hot spring at 24:40. Narrow canyon at 28:05 with boulders in river and 31:40 also. Good filming and editing. Thanks for sharing.

  50. Greg McCracken on June 22, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    I stumbled across your informative, professional video of this trip today and thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife and I just spent half of the month of January, 2020 in Big Bend, half of that time at Rio Grande Village Campground. We too live in Ontario, near Guelph. I just stumbled across a Field and Stream Magazine article about that same river route from 1972 and thought you would find it interesting, if you haven’t already seen it. It starts at pages 56/57 in the magazine. https://books.google.ca/books?id=gl31ZxmtlioC&printsec=frontcover

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