A Guide To Ruidoso Nm: The Best Things To Do In The Small Nm Town
And if you are like me, and sometimes you just want to disappear for a while. There is no better place to do it than Ruidoso, New Mexico. This place is super remote, so much so that you could drive for hours across this lonely stretch of desert. But when you do make it there, be sure and tell the roughly 8,000 townspeople I said hello, as you are in for a treat!
Ruidoso New Mexico is a hidden gem for those looking for an adventure-filled vacation. The small town in the mountains has plenty to offer with its natural beauty and outdoor activities, but its not as crowded as other, more popular destinations. Its a great escape from the stress of everyday life that everyone should know about! So if youre in the market for a new place to explore, then Ruidoso New Mexico should be on your radar. As you would be exploring an untouched land with some of the most gorgeous views that cant be found anywhere else!
Discovering it tucked away in the Sacramento and the Sierra Blanca Mountains of Southern New Mexico will be an excellent adventure for you and your family. Ruidoso is a beautiful getaway with picturesque mountain views, a national forest, and a gorgeous lake. Located directly next to the Lincoln National Forest, it is THE place for city dwellers like me who are ready to get out of traffic jams and city heat to visit the great outdoors!
Ride Up The Ski Apache Gondola
All year round you can ride up the only gondola in the state of New Mexico: the Ski Apache scenic gondola.
The gondola seats up to 8 people and takes you 11,500 feet high on the Sacramento Mountain Range.
It is one of the most relaxing things you can do at Ski Apache and the view is breathtaking!
If you are planning to ski, you can actually bring your ski/snowboard with you and ski from that high up!
Hike At Grindstone Lake
Another lake to visit in Ruidoso is Grindstone Lake, a gorgeous body of water with a vibrant turquoise color.
We visited on a Sunday and it was not crowded at all.
If youre looking for some hiking, check out Fisherman Trail, a roughly 2 mile loop that goes all around the lake and the dam.
If youre wanting a longer hike or a good bike route, there are actually 18 miles of hiking trails in the system around Grindstone Lake.See them all here!
Stocked full of trout, fishing is allowed here, but requires a permit.
Likewise, you may boat on Grindstone Lake as long as you have a permit.
And if youre visiting when the weather is warm, this is one lake in the area where swimming is allowed!
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Grindstone Lake Ruidoso New Mexico
Grindstone Lake is a scenic lake up in the mountains. Visitors can make use of over 18 miles of trails by foot, bike, or horse, and the lake is great for swimming, kayaking or canoeing, boating, and fishing, with an abundant population of rainbow trout, catfish, and smallmouth bass. There is even a 27 hole disc golf course at Grindstone Lake, where friends and families can navigate the heavily wooded course for a fun game. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails and also in the water of the lake, and Grindstone Lake also has plenty of parking as well as public bathrooms available for visitors.
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Birdwatch At Bosque Del Apache
When driving to Ruidoso, you simply must stop at this stunning nature preserve along the way.
When you arrive at Bosque del Apache, the first thing to do is to drop by the visitors center.
There you can ask about any recent bird sightings so that you know what to look for and where to look for them.
Bosque del Apache covers a huge expanse of land and its flooded plains are home to over 300 bird species!
Conservationists established this sanctuary after seeing the negative impact that modernization had on the land and its animals.
Now you can see plenty of different waterfowl, cranes, geese, and so much more.
When we visited, others had seen eight eagles that morning alone!
Just keep in mind that it is $5 cash to enter the nature loop.
There are also hiking trails around Bosque del Apache if you want to explore even more!
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Art And Wine Festivals
See, I told you there are plenty of things to do in Ruidoso! A trip to the Ruidoso New Mexico Art and Wine Festival is a must! Be sure to coordinate your trip to come during the summer months so that you can come during the festivals. Dont forget also about the Cowboy Symposium. A live performance at the Spencer Theater of Performing Arts is awesome as well.
What Will The Weather In Ruidoso Be Like
Ruidosos weather is pretty simple to understand. As you can see from this graph, the weather is almost shaped like a bell curve, where the highs are 48 degrees Fahrenheit in January to mid-June/July to 81 degrees, and the lows are 20 degrees in January to mid-June/July lows of 50 degrees! Perfect weather in the Summer and the Winter, depending on your choice of activities. But high up in the mountains it certainly can get pretty windy, so be aware.
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Attend A Show At The Spencer Theater
Speaking of the arts, a great thing about the small town of Ruidoso, New Mexico is that it has a state-of-the-art theater called Spencer Theater. Literally, they give world-class performances of things like Broadway plays, concerts, and even orchestra sounds. And since it is a smaller theater, you can get the best seat in the house of the 514 seated theater! All the seats are awesome with great views of the stage. And the acoustics are just as incredible.
While there, you can visit the Dale Chihuly installments that are within the Spencer Theater itself. Also, dont forget to stop by and see the two pear treats that were brought in and installed in the courtyard! This gives the actors a breath of fresh air whenever they need a chance to take a break from honing their skills.
How To Get To Ruidoso New Mexico
Ready to book your trip? You can either drive to Ruidoso or fly into one of these three airports!
I also mentioned youll need a car to get around. I highly recommend if youre coming during the winter time and snow may be in the forecast that you get a car with 4WD. I just called ahead of time to make sure one was available and my rental car company had it all setup when I arrived.
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Inn Of The Mountain Gods Concerts & Events
Inn of the Mountain Gods regularly features some of the best country artists like Clint Black, Kutless, Kane Brown, who have all performed here at Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort!
Not only do we have live music, but our New Mexico resort also has all kinds of family-friendly entertainment including Cirque Zuma Zuma, Dr. Seuss Day, and Sunday Under the Stars! Our Sunday Under the Stars is one of the best free things to do in New Mexico featuring a family-friendly movie every Sunday, on our lawn just after sunset.
Heres our concert checklist of items allowed in the venue.
*Not responsible for 3rd party ticket sales. No exceptions.
Immerse Yourself In Cowboy Life At Flying J Ranch
Another popular family attraction in Ruidoso, NM is Flying J Ranch, known for their chuckwagon dinner and western show.
Flying J offers ranch-style dinners, pony rides, gunfight reenactments, gold panning, a live music show, and more for your family to enjoy.
Although we didnt make it to the show during our time in Ruidoso, New Mexico, our friends took their children and said they all had a great time!
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Inn Of The Mountain Gods Resort And Casino Ruidoso Nm
Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino is a beautiful place to stay on any vacation, but guests and daily visitors alike will love the many amenities on this gorgeous mountain resort. Zip lining over Lake Mescalero, kayaking on the lake, hiking or biking through the surrounding nature, and even hunting for elk or other big game in the Southern Rocky Mountains are just some of the attractions that await, and thats not even mentioning the ones right at the resort. Inn of the Mountain Gods is home to a full casino, with all sorts of games from blackjack to roulette, and the resort also offers frequent entertainment like concerts from nationally touring artists.
287 Carrizo Canyon Rd, Mescalero, NM 88340, Phone: 800-545-9011
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Things To Do In Ruidoso:
There are many things to do in Ruidoso, NM while visiting this area of the Southwest United States. Whether it snows, rains, or shines, the town of Ruidoso can adapt to any climate and there are plenty of adventurous activities for you to do. Ruidoso has its own ski resort which offers great snowshoeing trails in the winter months as well as ice skating rinks during the summer season. Youll also find plenty of hiking opportunities including Mt. Loma Prieta, Capitan Peak, and Eagle Creek Trail just to name a few. You can hike in the National Forest, which allows you to see mountain views every day.
You could go horseback riding, fly fishing, and even mountain climbing within the Lincoln National Forest. Ruidoso is known for its mountain biking and fly-fishing locally but is really one of their best-kept secrets!
I wont even begin to tell you about the time I found a few fishing spots. I will leave that for another day! Lets just say I have done my share of fishing! Other active things that visitors can take a stab at areskiing and tubing in the winter and ziplining in the summer. There are plenty of waterfalls too!
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Billy The Kid Scenic Byway Loop
The Billy the Kid Scenic Byway Loop provides a view of the past and a little bit of the present and it exudes the aura of the legendary West.
Start your trip at the Billy The Kid Interpretive Center where you can get some maps and travel brochures.
Near the center is The Hubbard Museum of the American West, which includes exhibits of antique firearms, collections of bridles, saddles, and Native American art.
Next up on the route is the famous racetrack Ruidoso Downs and the Spencer Theatre which hosts several diverse performances.
The Mescalero Apache Lands are situated nearby, boasting perfect winter and summer recreation opportunities. The road will take you to Fort Stanton, home to many popular figures like Kit Carson and John J. âBlackjackâ Pershing.
Stop also at the conservation area to explore an important scientific and archeological site, the Snowy River Cave System.
Other must-visits include Capitan, home to the Smokey Bear Museum and Smokey Bear Historical Park.
Spa Day At Inn Of The Mountain Of The Gods Resort
Heck while you are at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort, you might as well stay awhile and have a spa day at their brand new spa! They have a relaxation area, jacuzzi, and other amenities that are free for use as a spa guest. Next time I go, I want to try out the tranquil body cocoon body treatment! It sounds amazing!
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Explore The Infamous Lincoln Historic Site
What is today a sleepy little town, was once one of the most dangerous cities in America and was home to Billy the Kid and lawman Pat Garrett.
It was here in Lincoln that the Lincoln County War took place in the late 1800s. And upon entering the small town, you feel as if it has been kept in a time capsule!
The Lincoln Historic Site monument includes 17 historical buildings and structures. Several of the buildings are open year-round and a few are only open seasonally.
Start your tour at the Old Lincoln County Courthouse that contains a museum exhibit that teaches you all about the Lincoln County War.
After finishing up at the old courthouse, you can walk in the steps of outlaw Billy the Kid as you explore the other structures throughout the town. There are informative signs along the way to teach you more about the history of Lincoln.
Dont miss a chance to see the Anderson Freeman Visitors Center and Museum which is also located in Lincoln. This museum teaches about history as far back as the American Indians. A great addition to your historic Lincoln itinerary.
Not only is Lincoln one of the fun things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico, but it is also the most visited historic site in New Mexico!
Weather In Ruidoso New Mexico
Ruidoso is a great year-round destination due its climate, with warm summers and beautiful crisp, snowy winters.
Summers are comfortable, with highs around 27°C / 80°F, perfect for outdoor adventures.
Despite being towards the south of the United States, you can expect cold, dry winter temperatures in Ruidoso as it sits at high altitude. Expect lows in the winter months as cold as -7°C / 44°F.
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What Things Are There To Do In Ruidoso
A lot! With over 300 days of sun a year, there are tons of things to do in Ruidoso and no bad time to visit. Its surrounded by over a million acres of forest to hike, bike and horseback ride to your hearts content. The area is also home to Smokey the Bear and herds of wild horses. Your neighbors will be of the furry and fuzzy variety, as elk, deer, and bears are known to amble about. Grindstone and Alto Lakes are the perfect places to unwind fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or simply walking amongst the wildflowers. There are over 200 species of migratory birds that flitter about, so youll really be one with the birds as they say.
Casino Apache Travel Center
Located right outside of Ruidoso, the Casino Apache Travel Center offers locals and travelers a place to stop and enjoy. Their non-smoking casino has all the classic games visitors would expect to play such as slot machines, roulette, blackjack, three-card poker, and many more. The travel center isnt only home to a casino, but also to a convenience store, car wash, restaurant, and AAA Four Diamond Award-winning Inn. Owned by the local Mescalero Apache Tribe, many of the center’s attractions pay tribute to their culture. The Red Hat Grille, for example, is decorated in honor of the first Mescalero Apache firefighters, and they serve up Apache tacos amongst other American classics.
25845 US Highway 70, Mescalero, NM, Phone: 575-464-7059
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Pillows Funtrackers Family Fun Center
Funtrackers is a great place for families to play and have a fun time together. First, you might play a round of miniature golf. Following that, race around the track on the goKarts . Then perhaps youll want to cool each other off with a giant splash from the bumper boats and then go get lost in the Mountain Maze.
For weeks after we visited this place my sons favorite thing to call out was, Grandpas lo-oost! Yes, Grandpa got a bit mixed up in the maze, which was of endless amusement to the children.
There is just so much to do here you could literally hang out most of the day or until the kids get there fill and wear out. The goKarts were great. Lots of fun for all!
Plus An Authentic Western Vibe
When you think of Ruidoso do you think of cowboys? If so then I have some good news! There are plenty of rodeos to go see in this town too! The small town is home to Ruidosos historic district with loads of old-time restaurants and shops that give off an authentic Western vibe. If youre looking for something new and exciting to explore this summer, then head on over to Ruidoso today before everyone else does and book your stay now because summer wont last forever!
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