Things to do: Raft the Rio Grande in Las Cruces NM to support a great cause!

Young Rafters on The Rio Grande

If you’re looking for things to do this summer in Las Cruces NM, then Mark your calendar for the Southwest Environ­mental Center’s 14th annual “Raft the Rio” will be held Saturday, June 11, on the Rio Grande, near Las Cruces.

I blogged about this family-friendly Raft the Rio event last year in this post. I attended the event with my grandson and we had a blast!

The event is open to individuals and teams of all ages willing to get wet and have fun. Creativity and the use of discarded materials in building rafts are highly en­couraged.

The 3-mile rafting adven­ture will begin at La Llorona Park beneath the Picacho Ave­nue bridge, and end upstream from the Calle del Norte Bridge (“Mesilla Bridge”). Re­freshments, food vendors and live music will be available at the finish line.

Homemade Raft Contest


Prizes will be awarded to homemade boats in the fol­lowing categories: first to fin­ish, least likely to finish (must be floating at start of race), best use of recycled materials, most spirited (most enthusi­astic crew), best theme (most thorough application of a theme to vessel and crew), and Champion of the River (best promotes appreciation for the Rio Grande).

This year there are two divi­sions – kids and open. Prizes will be awarded in both divi­sions. The kids division race begins at 10 a.m, followed by the open division at 10:15 a.m.

To be eligible for the kids’ division, at least half the sail­ors on a boat must be under 13 years of age. Advance registra­tion will open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning Monday, May 23, at the Southwest Environmental Center, 275 N. Main St.

The river is expected to be full, due to releases of irrigation water from Caballo Reservoir. Teams may register at the start­ing line beginning at 8 a.m., or in advance by contacting the Southwest Environmental Center.

The entry fee is $10 per raft in advance or $20 on race day, plus $5 for each crew member 13 years and older (after the first two). Motorized crafts are not al­lowed. New Mexico law requires that children 12 and under wear personal flotation devices.

Participants who are also members of the Southwest Environmental Center will be entered in a drawing to win an exciting whitewater raft trip for two on the Rio Grande near Taos, N.M., courtesy of event sponsor Far Flung Ad­ventures. In keeping with the environmental spirit of the event, participants are en­couraged to minimize their purchase of new materials for making rafts.

For more information, visit or call the Southwest Environmental Center at 522-5552.

Contact us today at 575-523-2500 for more information about all that Las Cruces, New Mexico has to offer and the spectacular custom homes at Picacho Mountain. Custom Homes, Patio Homes, Town Homes, Neighborhood Retail, and more!

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