Advice for paddling in and around Albuquerque?

My wife and I will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a couple of weeks during the Balloon Fiesta, and we are planning on bringing our pack rafts with us (they’re Kokopelli Castaways, for use up to Class II). I saw this route:

which looks to be our speed (we’re green novices). Does anyone have any experience on this stretch? Is there anything we’d have to watch out for being in inflatables?

I also saw this list of no wake lakes, which look nice:

Any advice on these?

And is there any place calm right around the city/balloon fiesta where we can put in?

All of our paddling has been up north (Juneau, Alaska) so far, so we’re looking forward to some warmer climes.

Thanks so much for any advice or suggestions!

Not a no-wake environment, but Navajo Lake is worth checking out. It lies in both
CO and NM. I paddled a bit of the NM side. Water and air temps are warm, and there is a nice campground.

Have fun at the balloon festival. I went to it in 1987. Fireworks at dawn while munching a burrito and sipping hot cocoa…something different.

Great, thanks for the suggestion!

I have not paddled there, but have seen the Rio Grande in town and it looks like a decent place to paddle for a flat water trip. Might be worth following the advice of the link you listed.

Thanks for the comment, Peter. We live in Southeast Alaska now, so most of the short paddles we’ve gone on have been in very remote places. It will be interesting to be in the water in a metropolitan area for the first time!