Ruidoso New Mexico

Ruidoso, New Mexico

Ruidoso, New Mexico

Ruidoso is home to several standout hiking trails.

A quintessential mountain getaway, Ruidoso nestles within the high country of the Lincoln National Forest, where New Mexico's second-largest ski area, stellar performing arts, and Billy the Kid's former stomping grounds are all close at hand.

Outdoor adventurers in El Paso and Southern New Mexico head to Ruidoso for high-mountain fun. The Lincoln National Forest offers more than a million acres of forested peaks, including Sierra Blanca, the tallest in Southern New Mexico. The park has an iconic place in American forestry: the real-life Smokey Bear, the living embodiment of the forest-fire prevention campaign, was rescued in these mountains, which are home to two wilderness areas suited to backcountry exploration.

The Mescalero Apache tribe owns Ski Apache, the state's second-largest ski area and the southernmost continuously operated ski area in the United States. An eight-passenger gondola — the only one in the state — carries passengers to prime slopes. Its zip line tours are another adrenaline-inducing way to experience the mountain. Another zip line helps visitors soar over the waters of Lake Mescalero, at the Inn of the Mountain Gods.

For a bit of fun on stable ground, travelers head to the Smithsonian-affiliated Hubbard Museum of the American West, home to one of the most extensive horse-related collections in the world. The town doubles down on its equine admiration at Ruidoso Downs. It's the only horse track in the United States and Europe with separate quarter horse straightaway and oval thoroughbred tracks, as well as host of the All-American Futurity — the richest purse for quarter horse racing in the country held in September.

Ruidoso's Wild West past is on display at the Lincoln Historic Site. The town of Lincoln is Billy the Kid's former stomping grounds and it has remained a time capsule of the 1870s. Tour the Tunstall Store, where 19th-century merchandise is still in the original cases and spot the bullet holes in the walls of the Lincoln County Courthouse put there by Billy the Kid when he made his famous escape from a cell there.


Ruidoso Downs

Ruidoso nods to its Western roots at this track with live horse racing May through September. This is the only racing facility in the United States and Europe with separate quarter horse straightaway and oval thoroughbred tracks. It's fitting, then, that it's also home to the All American Futurity, the richest purse — approximately $3 million — for quarter horse racing in the country. The Billy the Kid Casino is also on-site.
raceruidoso.com

Hubbard Museum of the American West

This Smithsonian-affiliated museum features one of the most extensive horse-related collections in the world, all thanks to heiress Anne Stradling, whose personal anthology makes up its equine-related collection. R.D. and Joan Dale Hubbard, museum founders, also gifted their art collection.
hubbardmuseum.org

Spencer Theater

In neighboring Alto, this venue welcomes touring acts ranging from a capella singing groups to Broadway productions and bluegrass bands. Don't miss the four major glass sculptures created by artist Dale Chihuly; his brightly colored works have been called the Tiffany glass of the 21st century.
spencertheater.com

Lincoln Historic Site

Tour the Tunstall Store, where 19th-century merchandise is still in the original cases, and spot the bullet holes in the walls of the Lincoln County Courthouse put there by Billy the Kid when he made his famous jail-cell escape.
nmhistoricsites.org/lincoln

Lincoln National Forest

Explore more than a million acres of forested peaks and wildflower meadows at this national park. Smokey Bear, the living embodiment of the forest-fire prevention campaign, was rescued in these mountains, home to two wilderness areas suited to backcountry exploration.
fs.usda.gov/main/Lincoln

Did You Know?

Ski Apache is the southernmost continuously operated ski area in the United States. An eight-passenger gondola — the only in the state — carries passengers to prime slopes. Zip line tours are another adrenaline-inducing way to experience the mountain. The site, owned by the Mescalero Apache tribe, is situated on the tribe's reservation, along with the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, which features a top golf course and a lineup of touring entertainment acts.
skiapache.com, innofthemountaingods.com