Bavispe - Upper Bavispe - Tres Rios



The Rio Bavispe from the put-in down to Barranca Bavispe contains mostly flatwater to easy Class II; the major hazards are trees in the channel and low-hanging overhead wires carrying water pipes. The upper canyon is pretty but there were plenty of cows in this section and several large fields of marijuana visible from the river (hence the cables and pipes!). The scenery gets better and better as you approach the Barranca Bavispe and there are several formations with multiple caves visible from the river. All of the serious whitewater on the trip is concentrated in the 6 mile Barranca Bavispe that includes several Class III-IV rapids and Muralla, a Class IV+ (P) rapid with additional dangers (sieve). There is a long stretch of mild water before entering the Barranca Bavispe and then many more miles of flatwater after the barranca in the valley leading to Bacerac. An additional hazard is the large amount of marijuana (mota) being grown in this area, with the potential for hostile farmers.

For rafters, the hardest rapid (Muralla) would almost certainly require a portage or lining for rafts (at any flow). The portage at Muralla would be much more difficult at higher water. Muralla would be a very dangerous rapid for large boats or inexperienced kayakers at higher water levels. Several other rapids may require lining or portaging as well, depending on flows. Perhaps the first descent occurred many years ago (in 1974) when S. Keith Bowman accompanied a group of Explorer Scouts that floated from Tres Rios to Huachinera.


Neil Nikirk
Class III+ to V-
Current Flow Visual or Unknown
Recommended Flow Minimum: 300.0
Average: 600.0
Maximum: 1500.0
Typical Season Begins: July
Ends: September
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: Yes
Canoeing: No
Packrafting: Yes
Fishing: No
Primary Gauge Visual or Unknown
Length 70.0 Mile(s)
Gradient 20.0 FPM