The Leasburg Dam State Park is a great place to go for a Sunday outing and only about 15 miles North of Las Cruces, New Mexico. When coming from Las Cruces, go North on I-25, take the Radium Springs exit and turn left on Fort Selden Road. In about 1.7 miles you will cross over an irrigation ditch, take an immediate right on Leasburg Dam Road, you should now be driving along the ditch-bank, the park is at the end of the road.
Although the water below the dam may look inviting and many people do swim and play in it, the Rio Grande must be respected. The river has a sandy bottom and powerful undertows claim the lives of many every year, by sucking them underwater. If you do choose to swim in it, my best advice is if you find yourself being pulled underwater, hold your breath and don’t fight the current, just let it take you and, if you’re lucky, it should spit you out a little further down stream. I would not swim in it if I were you. After it has been raining upstream, you should see all the “gunk” coming down stream. Not to mention all the tiny red worms and other organisms!
You don’t need to go into the water to enjoy the park. Fish along the bank or relax in the shade of a big Cottonwood tree. There are picnic tables, BBQ grills and lots of space to play.
After a long day at the park, instead of taking the Interstate back to Las Cruces, you could take a leisurely scenic drive on North Hwy 85, also known as North Valley Drive. When leaving the park, take a right at the end of Leasburg Dam Road, go a few feet and at the stop sign take a left on North Valley Drive. The beautiful Robledo Mountains will be on your right and in the summer you will travel past fields of cotton, chile, corn and alfalfa among others. Take some pictures!
For more great places to visit in Southwest New Mexico please visit: www.sungardensinc.com
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