Mariscal is the most remote of the Park River Canyons, and the only way to see it is by river. Getting to the put-in point at Talley requires over 30 miles of driving on rough dirt road. It is important to check road and weather conditions before entering this remote desert backcountry. Difficult as it may be to get there, the trip is worth well worth the effort.
Mariscal is the narrowest and deepest of the Rio Grande Canyons. The total trip length is 11 miles from Tally to Solis, and 7 miles of that distance is pure canyon. Some walls rise over 1600 feet in a single vertical leap. There are two rapids of notice within the canyon, the “Rockpile” and the “Tight Squeeze”. Both rapids require careful navigation at high or low water levels. The Tight Squeeze is easily scouted from above, and from the scouting point, there it is a short scramble up to the “Hermit’s Cave”, which is on a ledge overlooking the river just beyond the rapid.
Halfway through the trip is “The Break” or “Cross Canyons” which interrupts the vertical nature of the canyon for a few hundred yards. Most groups taking overnight trips choose to camp here. Another excellent camping spot is just outside the canyons, a little over two miles from the take out at Solis. For those seeking a longer wilderness experience, it is possible to go another 23 miles to Rio Grande Village, and pass through both San Vicente and Hot Springs Canyons.It is always a good idea to check with local outfitters for current condition and help with trip logistics.