Best Things To Do In Ruidoso New Mexico
Ruidoso is a small town in New Mexico, located at the foot of the Sierra Blanca range. In the winter the nearby Ski Apache resort offers runs of varying difficulty and a terrain park. Lincoln National Forest, to the southwest, has hiking trails and waterfalls. The Ruidoso Downs Race Track hosts summer horse races and events. Northeast of the village, Lincoln Historic Site has 19th-century adobe and stone structures, including a store and church, as well as a museum and a brewery.
Midtown Ruidoso is the downtown Ruidoso, filled with shopping and entertainment. Here you will find shops, wine tasting (Noisy River Winery), local eateries, and nightlife including live music and dancing.
In addition to winter activities, Ruidoso New Mexico has a number of attractions that are perfect for families year-round.
Our favorites things to do in Ruidoso in the summer
Hiking in Ruidoso, New Mexico is some of the best in the area for nature lovers. With several options for all levels, hikers are sure to enjoy exploring Lincoln National Forest trails on their next trip to Ruidoso.
National Forest Recreation Areas
The Village of Ruidoso is home to the Smokey Bear District of Lincoln National Forest and ranges in elevation from 5,400 to 11,580 feet. There are two wilderness areas with year-round outdoor recreation including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, hunting, skiing in Ski Apache, and snowboarding.
There are several beautiful lakes surrounding Ruidoso, perfect for fishing, kayaking and hiking. You need a fishing license to fish.
Alto Lake and Recreation Area in Alto, is a great place to fish or hike. Fishing equipment for catch and release is available at the recreation area office. In addition, there is a hiking trail around the lake and in the forest where you can see a waterfalls.
Grindstone Lake is located closest to midtown Ruidoso. 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 you’re visiting when the weather is warm, this is one lake in the area where swimming is allowed. Head to the water for a day of paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and more. The Dam House at Grindstone Lake is open for boat and bike rentals, fishing equipment, food, and drink at Grindstone Lake from May to September.
Lake Mescalero is located on the Mescalero reservation at the Inn of the Mountain God’s Resort. The lake is stocked with fish and open daily. This lake is a fantastic place to fish or kayak (they have rentals there). Zip-line rentals are also available. You may even see some wildlife, including bald eagles and waterfowl.
Enjoy horseback riding, with plenty of options to ride horses in Ruidoso, visit Grindstone Stables Horseback Rides for guided trips through the forest above Grindstone Lake or a covered carriage ride through Midtown.
Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort– If you enjoy gambling, The Inn of the Mountain Gods offers slot machines, blackjack tables, and more. They also have a craft beer bar, restaurants and live music events.
Casino Apache Travel Center– Blackjack, Roulette and Three-Card Poker in a non-smoking casino.
Billy the Kid Casino is located at the Ruidoso Downs Race Track. Enjoy a casual dining restaurant and slots. Ruidoso Downs Race Track- Enjoy horse races, casino games, and entertainment at the year round.
Along the streets of Midtown Ruidoso discover the incredible works of art created by local artists and the Ruidoso Midtown Association. Ten colorful murals decorate the buildings of the area. Some of them are easily found from the main road, while others are hidden.
Ski Apache offers some of the best downhill skiing & snowboarding. Located on the north ridge of the 12,002′ Sierra Blanca Peak, the 360 view of our mountain is sure to take your breath away.
Ruidoso Winter Park – a family-fun park that offers everything from tubing to a snow play area! The park also has the largest snow-making system in the Rockies.
Nearby Worthy Day Trips
Three rivers petroglyph site. Within an hour’s drive of Ruidoso, find the visitor shelter and go for a short half-mile hike. You’ve arrived at a place where you can take a giant step back in time. The petroglyphs are easy to find, and you can walk right up to them.Imagine 21,000 messages in the form of images carved on rock, none within the last decade or even the last century, but 10 centuries ago.
Fort Stanton Historic Site is located just outside the town of Lincoln county in south-central New Mexico, along the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway. Surrounded by Lincoln National Forest and 1,300 acres of undeveloped BLM land, including the Fort Stanton Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area, they offer self-guided and guided tours, and are open every day of the week. Fort Stanton museum also hosts a variety of living history events. Admission is $7 for adults. Free for children 16 years and younger.
Lincoln Historic Site-the historic site now includes 17 structures and outbuildings, 7 of which are open year round and 2 more seasonally as museums. Most of the buildings in the community are representative of the Territorial Style of adobe architecture in the American Southwest. While you are there check out the local brewery Bonito Valley Brewing, for some craft beers and cider (the cider here is my favorite). They also have live music on weekends.
White Sands National Park about an hour and fifteen minutes drive from Ruidoso. Enjoy the white, dry gypsum sand dunes that cover 275 square miles of the park. You can hike and sled on the dunes. They have a gift shop where you can buy the sled (don’t forget the wax too). Pets are allowed.
Cloudcroft is about 50 miles from Ruidoso Downs is a wonderful place to get away from the heat and enjoy the delightful pleasures of the mountains. There are several off-roadings, biking & hiking trails. The small town has many local restaurants that include a craft brewery, wine tasting, amazing bbq & awesome homemade pies (strawberry rhubarb is my favorite).
Rosswell is about an hour and 20 minute drive from Ruidoso. It’s renowned as the site of an alleged 1947 UFO crash. The International UFO Museum and Research Center has display panels and a library. The UFO Museum offers a wide range of merchandise and souvenirs, including models of flying saucers, T-shirts and posters.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for fun things to do in Ruidoso like hiking in nature, relax at the lake or enjoy some year round outdoor activities this summer we know Ruidoso is the perfect place.
You may also enjoy reading: 16 FUN THINGS TO DO IN DURANGO WITH KIDS — FAMILY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES!