Discover Ruidoso: A Unique Mountain Village in New Mexico

This post is sponsored by Discover Ruidoso

The warm glow of the rising sun is still lingering in the sky yet the crisp mountainside is slowly waking up. I sip on my freshly brewed coffee welcoming the cool mountain air on my face. I contemplate what we should do today as I go over the long list of activities in my head.

Welcome to Ruidoso

This is how I picture my first visit to Ruidoso, a unique mountain village in south-central New Mexico. There’s nothing that says relaxation like getting off the beaten path and surrounding yourself with nature.

Tucked away in the foothills of the scenic Sacramento Mountains, the area offers a wide-range of activities to either stop you in your tracks for a relaxing trip or keep you active in the great outdoors.

With my goal of traveling to all 50 states, the land of enchantment is high on my list for many reasons.

New Mexico offers dazzling diverse terrain, a chance to connect with nature, and a glimpse into the American Old West. Let’s see how Ruidoso measures up!

visit ruidoso

Outdoor Adventures for Every Season

Situated at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet, Ruidoso is a great place to get outside in all seasons. The location provides an escape from the heat in late spring to early fall.

From therapeutic hiking to exhilarating zip lining, it’s easy to find something for everyone. Like to fish? Cast a line in the pristine mountain lakes, rambling rivers or small streams.

With the exception of hiking alongside grizzlies (read more on that story here), one of my favorite outdoor activities is experiencing wildlife in their natural habitat.

With the Lincoln National Forest just a hop, jump and a skip away so are elk, deer, and black bears, oh my! The forest also provides a breathtaking backdrop in the fall when the trees paint the mountainside with a splash of color.

Winter is also a magical time of year to visit Ruidoso. Adventure doesn’t stop when snow falls, instead visitors frolic in it. Skiers hit the slopes, children giggle as they bounce down the hillside, adventurers jump on a snowboard or zip line, and romantics take a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh. visit ruidoso

History and Legends

A city girl myself, the American Wild West filled with stories of cowboys, Indians and outlaws, has always intrigued me. In Ruidoso, you’ll be transported back to the era when land was up for grabs and guns were a’blazing.

Once home to Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Lincoln County will show you what it was like to survive during these times. Take a short road trip along the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway to not only experience the rugged beauty of the west, but the rugged history as well.

I would begin my journey at the Hubbard Museum of the American West, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. It’s a fascinating introduction to the Old West and the history of Native American and pioneer life in the region.

Important landmarks along the route include Fort Stanton, built in 1855 to protect settlers from Native American invasions, and the Lincoln courthouse and jail which became famous when the Wild West legend escaped killing two guards on his way out. Another must-stop is the town of Lincoln, considered one of the best-preserved Old West towns in the country.

The byway is also home to Smokey Bear’s final resting place. Did you know Smokey the Bear is based on a real bear? I had no idea!

In 1950, a wildfire was sweeping through the Capitan Mountains and as rangers fought to keep it under control, they came across a badly burned cub in a completely scorched tree. The cub survived and became the face of the ever well-known slogan, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.Ruidoso New Mexico

Small-Town Charm Mixed with Culture

We love the simplicity and coziness of small town America. We could spend at least a day perusing through the galleries, art studios and artisan shops of Ruidoso’s main strip.

The Spencer Theater of Performing Arts, considered one of the finest theaters in the world, is just north of downtown Ruidoso. The $22 million structure is praised for its unique architecture, excellent acoustics and impressive line-up of performers.

It is yet another building decorated with multiple blown glass installations by the acclaimed Dale Chihuly. We became fans of his when visiting Seattle a few years back and now feel like we see his work everywhere!

Ruidoso New Mexico

Is Ruidoso for Us? For You?

Ruidoso’s lush mountain setting and small town feel combined with historical relevance is a great escape from the mundane. It is an area with beautiful mountain vistas, countless adventures, and a fun place to rediscover yourself.

If you are looking for an offbeat fun experience in New Mexico, think Ruidoso, I know we will!

If you would like to plan a trip to New Mexico, visit Discover Ruidoso to learn more.

Don’t forget to sign up below to be the first to know when a new post comes out so you can follow along on our adventures!

What would you like to do on a visit to Ruidoso?

*Photos provided by Discover Ruidoso

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Tucked away in the foothills of the scenic Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico, Ruidoso offers a wide-range of activities to keep you busy any time of the year.

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Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

11 Responses

  1. Sue Foyster

    We stayed in Ruidoso a couple of years ago, sadly only for one night as part of a really great road trip. We had planned to make an early getaway the next morning but go waylaid by the hummingbirds, so wonderful to watch.Are you heading to Santa Fe?

    • Dang Travelers

      It sounds like even though it was only one night that it was a great stop at least! We are heading out next week for our Route 66 and beyond road trip and will be staying in Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

  2. Jing

    I love the fact that Ruidoso is a great destination for an outdoor adventure anytime of the year. Hiking with the grizzlies just around somewhere sounds scary to me though.

  3. Edith

    We definitely enjoy a good hike! Especially with beautiful views like the ones here in Ruidoso. That’s awesome that you are working your way towards visiting every state. I’m sure each has its own spark!

  4. Miranda

    omg I totally didn’t know that Smokey was a real bear! So sad the poor little guy got burned, but glad he survived it!

  5. Kerri

    It looks absolutely gorgeous Angela. I guess my visions of the American small towns was formed around the movies I watched when I was younger….all seemingly taking place in the Wild West. The landscapes and natural parklands of the US are just beautiful and it’s nice to see some images of this area in the snow as well, and your recommendations that there are still so many activities to do in this particular season. I’d love to walk the tracks and and fishing is something we would definitely do.

  6. Juliette | Snorkels To Snow

    As soon as you mentioned Ruidoso as a winter destination, I was sold! As a skier, I’m always on the lookout for great winter destinations! Looks like there would be some beautiful views from the top of the mountain. And beautiful walking tracks too.

  7. Punita Malhotra

    How picturesque that first photo is! I would never have guessed it to be Mexico. I suppose I still have very limited knowledge of the area. Time for more research.

  8. Claire

    Never heard of this place before but anywhere with great outdoors to explore is always a winner for us. Would love to go hiking here one day

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