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Río Escaleras, upper & lower, Chiapas, Mexico (area: South Central; click here for the Chiapas table of rivers)

river photo

Class: III upper, IV- lower; Ave. Gradient: 9 m/km upper, 5 m/km lower; Portages: 1-3 class IV in lower; Length: 9 km upper, 14 km lower; Time: 1:00 upper, 2:30 lower

Season: August to October; rafts? no; Highlights: class III micro-creeking in upper section; Crux move: avoiding wood

Water Quality: good; Water Temperature: not noted

PI: upper: near highway bridge (elev: 715 m), lower: Francisco Madera (elev: 635 m); TO: lower: Reforma

Description: (click here for general notes about my descriptions)

The Río Escaleras (neighbor to the similar-volume Río Nueva Palestina and the bit-bigger-volume Río Jaltenango) is in the way-off-the-beaten-path area of the middle Grijalva valley. The area is mainly of interest to explorers who are around during the height of the rainy season and who are looking for something rarely-visited. Here, they'll find it. The Río Escaleras is a pretty creek with a relatively wide bed that needs extra high water to be interesting. It also has more than its share of wood to watch out for

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater: Chiapas & Belize guidebook.

Flow Notes: There is a convenient streamflow station at the lower TO, and the latest charts are also shown below. The gauge appears to read a bit high: in 2012, a reading 4000 cfs gave a real flow of about 3000 cfs. The Escaleras contributes about 25% of the total La Reforma flow, and you'll see only a fraction of that at the upper PI. My impressions are from a run with about 200 cfs at the upper PI. Also here I include some historical data from INEGI.


click here for the height graph

cfs graph

Accommodations: There are basic hotels in Ángel Albino Corzo town.

Nearby Tourist Attractions: This area is far off the gringo trail. Nature buffs will appreciate the unspoiled "Reserva de la Biosfera El Triunfo" which borders the lower Río Escaleras though it has no tourist services.

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