Set against the Sierra Blanca mountain range Ruidoso, New Mexico shows its wonder to you. Located an hour west of Roswell and three hours south of Albuquerque – Ruidoso’s pine covered forest makes for a serene vacation that will calm even the most stressed. It also assures an array of activities from the solo vacationer to fun for the whole family.

The Sierra Blanca peak looms over Ruidoso, with almost 8,000 feet of elevation it’s not surprising that its snow-capped summit is visible well into summer. The opulent mountain setting keeps Ruidoso’s evenings cool and helps make this unique mountain area a delightful summer and winter retreat.

If you love the great outdoors you need to look no further. Ruidoso is a paradise for hikers, skiers, mountain bikers, fishing enthusiasts, and of course one of our favorite activities horseback riding! Set against a spectacular backdrop it is hard not to want to stay here longer than planned.

Here are a few reasons we think Ruidoso, New Mexico is the ultimate mountain playground:

Ruidoso Horseback Riding

One of the ways we enjoy taking in the sites is on horseback. Horseback riding is a great way to escape, explore & experience the scenic mountain side of Ruidoso with 360 views of the mountain ranges. With riding choices ranging from 30-minutes, 1-hour rides or full-day excursions, it’s an activity all can enjoy. During the winter, these rides become sleigh rides through the upper canyon.

Horseback riding in the Lincoln National Forest, near Ruidoso, New Mexico, USA.

Ruidoso Hiking

To get back to nature all you need is some great walking shoes. The Lincoln National Forest offers trails ranging from day hikes to backpacking. You will find over 200 miles of established trails near Ruidoso. In Lincoln National Forest you’ll be at one with peace and tranquility with more than 50,000 acres of land. The forest is designated as a wilderness area, meaning no mechanized equipment allowed including mountain bikes. You can also choose to hike at Fort Stanton Recreation Area or Alto Lake. Regardless of your experience level, there are trails for every kind of hiker. If you’re hiking you might run into some fantastic wildlife like wild horses, deer, moose and even bears.

Ruidoso New Mexico Alto Lake

Ruidoso Thrilling Zip Line

Take in the fresh air while you experience the thrill of a lifetime.  Wind Rider ZipTour offers an adrenaline-pumping, zip tour reaching more than 8,900 feet in length on one of the longest lines in the world. As you speed along as fast as 65 mph you can take in the spectacular view of the mountain range.

Ruidoso Apache Wind Rider Zip Tour

Biking in Ruidoso

Mountain biking and paved biking trails around Ruidoso cover a wide range of difficulty for cyclists of all experience levels. The area is famous for its beauty and the variety of biking terrain with roads and trails.

For those who want a leisurely cruise go out to Grindstone Trail System with 18 miles of multi-use for hiking, biking, and equestrian usage. You can also spend some time at Ski Apache 5.5 miles of amazing mountain biking. It boasts a train grade between 6 and 8 percent that travels under the Sierra Blanca peak from the top of the gondola to the base of the Ski Apache. Ski Apache also offers guided tours for those who want to start out with a professional.

For the more seasoned biker and Ironman riders, you can take on the ultimate local road bike challenge with a steep climb up to Ski Apache on the 12-mile Hwy. 532, known as Ski Run Road in the summer. In this ride, you will gain 2,500 feet from the base and pass just under the 10,000-foot mark at Windy Point Recreation Area, along the way.

Ruidoso Mountain Bike

Skiing, Snowboarding, and Tubing in Ruidoso

In winter and early spring, ski resorts boast plenty of powder and skiing, which is one of the biggest draws in winter. Just 15 miles from Ruidoso, Ski Apache offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in New Mexico. With 55 trails served by 11 lifts on 750 acres of terrain. The lifts have the capacity to usher more than 16,500 guests up the mountain per hour, assuring even busy days have minimal lines. Better yet, Ski Apache boasts high elevations that provide abundant snowfall. The southerly latitude, however, allows for mild winter temperatures. That means more sunny days than just about any other ski resort. Make sure to pack your sunscreen, as you will need it. The terrain is suitable for all abilities, from first-day beginners to experts.

Don’t miss taking the kiddos to Ruidoso Winter Park, Ruidoso’s one and only dedicated tubing park just four miles from downtown.  No need to climb up with hill with that big tube, cruise up the hills effortlessly using tow cables or one of three “Magic Carpet” moving sidewalks. That means you have more time to experience twists, turns, bumps, jumps, and bobsled curves, and lots of fun for the whole family.

Snowboarding & Skiing Ruidoso

Other Ruidoso Activities

If you have read our other blogs you know we here at A Southern Traveler love museums and cultural activities.

The Hubbard Museum of the American West is a monument to times and places from the past. Here you can experience the west as a Native America, Hispanic and Pioneer. The Hubbard Museum is one of the state’s most respected museums. Housing a stunning collection of wagons, saddles fine art and Indian artifacts.

Discover the Old West where Billy the Kid roamed in Lincoln County, Fort Stanton, and Fort Sumner. Many early cultures lived along the Bonito River, leaving behind rich archeological evidence of human occupation. Spanish and Mexican settlers established communities in the nearby area, long before the United States sent the military west. The Fort was established in 1855 and operated as a military fortification through 1896.

Historic Lincoln is where the Lincoln County War took place and where Billy the Kid made his famous escape by shooting his way out of the Lincoln County Courthouse. Walk in the footsteps of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and other famous and infamous characters of the Wild West. The whole town of Lincoln is a living museum frozen in time—the 1870’s and 1880’s. The buildings include the courthouse, Masonic Lodge, and jail as well as 17 structures and outbuildings. Most noteworthy, you can also see The Dolan House where James Dolan, who was involved in the Lincoln County War, lived, as well as The Wortley Hotel is still serving lunch, just as it did on the day Sheriff’s Deputy Bob Olinger ran out and was shot by Billy the Kid (call ahead for details).

There is so much more to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico that we ever thought possible. It’s a thrilling location any time of the year with its distinct seasons and endless actives. We were pleased to find an array of entertainment options such as casinos, theaters, and horse racing.

Your magical vacation awaits in Ruidoso. Learn more about the town, activities, and logging by clicking here.

Ruidoso New Mexico Art

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