The canyons and rivers that run through them in the Yaqui drainage are like nothing else the author has run in the United States. The canyons are spectacular, with rocky headlands towering over thorn bush and cactus covered hills above the river. The river corridors range from lush riparian areas with sycamore trees to rocky walls adorned with agaves and cacti to areas of solid rock carved into spires and hoodoos and filled with caves. The geology is incredibly variable, giving rise to multi-hued canyons filled with reds, blacks, oranges, and whites. There are multiple arroyos and side streams, some with tight slot canyons, waterfalls, and palm oases. Wildlife observed include an untold number of birds, river otters, deer, inquisitive coatis, snakes, Gila monsters, frogs and toads, even an ocelot! Another common animal seen are cows, lots of cows. Still, this area is truly one of my favorite places to visit.

The boatable river sections range from mellow floats to canyons filled with rapids formed by giant boulders and bedrock ledges. Some sections are for experts only and may require portages. The rapids range from tight, technical Class II and III rock gardens, to mini-gorges with Class III and IV water; wide open Class III’s with big waves and whirlpools to thundering Class V (or more). There truly is something for everyone. Well, not everyone… It takes a special breed of boater to enjoy dropping into this no-man’s land of northern Mexico to go boating!

Run Name Class Current Flow Status
Upper Aros III+ to IV Visual or Unknown Visual
Lower Aros/Yaqui III- to III+ Visual or Unknown Visual