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Explore Ruidoso New Mexico

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with the Village of Ruidoso. As always all opinions are my own.

One of the interesting things about living in the Southwest is how surprising it is! In Arizona, we live in a state that is part of the Sonoran desert, but we've seen firsthand that we can be in the mountains within 2 hours. The same can be said for New Mexico. It was one of the most amazing discoveries to have encountered New Mexico on our RV travels, in fact, it was voted my favorite state! But even though we spent a couple of months visiting New Mexico in and around Las Cruces, Santa Fe, and Farmington areas, we missed a whole bunch.

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We missed the mountain paradise of Ruidoso. Something Mr. Misadventures and I plan on remedying asap.

Alto Lake in Ruidoso

We're planning another New Mexico road trip and this off-the-beaten-path mountain village is high on the list of stops. Like our own trips to Flagstaff and Mt. Lemmon, the beautiful Sacramento Sierra Blanca mountains offer a reprieve from the heat while also being a great escape for “snow stuff” in the winter. But it's got one more card up its sleeve, it's one of the best-kept mountain biking and fly-fishing secrets around!

Mountain Biking in Ruidoso

Mountain Biking in Ruidoso

You know it's a shame. We hauled our mountain bikes on the back of our RV for 18-months and barely used them. We've been thinking of how we can stay fit while road-tripping if we don't feel like hiking. Mountain biking is a good solution, but I also have an ulterior motive. I think that when we hike, it is impossible for Mr. Misadventures to not bring his heavy photography equipment.

I believe that from time to time it would benefit him to leave the camera behind and just enjoy the outdoors. One way to do that is to mountain bike. It's not as easy to strap a whole bunch of stuff on your back. It will be a nice break and something that will put the focus on our surroundings.

And in Ruidoso, we are talking about mountain views for days! There is a trail for everyone, in fact, there are 41 miles of them. All within 5 minutes of Ruidoso’s midtown. A biker (or hiker) has direct access to them right from town!

Some of the local favorites are:

  • The Grindstone Trail System – 18-miles multi-use trail, good for beginners
  • Cedar Creek Spaghetti Bowl – 12-mile trail
  • Perk Canyon – 6-mile trail
  • Ski Apache – 6-mile trail
  • Philadelphia, Kraut, and Littleton Canyon – old mining roads that turn into single track trails
  • Lots more trails listed here.

If you aren't traveling with a bike you can still enjoy all the amazing trails by renting a bike at Ski Apache or the Inn of the Mountain Gods.

Fly Fishing in Ruidoso

Fly Fishing in Ruidoso

I'm going to let you in on a secret. I think I might be a fisherwoman! I know I haven't written about my Alaskan fishing adventures yet (they are coming soon!) but I had a blast. It was my first time fishing and I liked it. No. I loved it! I can't wait to try my hand at it again..this time, maybe without the Dramamine! Fly fishing in Ruidoso looks like the perfect challenge! The fine folks in town advertise world-class Brown and Rainbow Trout fishing and I intend on giving it a whirl!

You can tell that fishing is serious business in Ruidoso just by the sheer amount of places you can do it!

  • Grindstone Lake
  • Alto Lake
  • Ruidoso River
  • Lake Mescalero
  • Eagle Creek and Eagle Lake
  • Seeping Springs Trout Lake

There are more spots on the Mescalero reservation near Ruidoso as well!

Just remember you need a valid New Mexico Fishing License for anyone 12 years and older, you can get one online.

Cowboying in Ruidoso

Cowboying in Ruidoso

One of my favorite things about living in the Southwest is the cowboy history! And Ruidoso is surrounded by it. Before trying my hand at actually getting on a horse (it's been more than 30 years since I've done that) I'm going to check out the Hubbard Museum of the American West first, you know ease into the process a bit.

In the Hubbard, I'll find wagons, Native American art, guns, and other iconic items from Western history. Outside the museum, I've seen enough photos to know that I shouldn't miss the horse metal sculptures that often make their way onto Instagram.

I'm hoping to time our trip during the Smoky Bear Stampede days where I can watch other cowboys and cowgirls doing their cowboy thing. This annual festival takes place in July and is dedicated to one of the region's most famous inhabitants (more on that in a second). There is also the Mescalero Apache Ceremonial Dances and Rodeo in July and the Annual Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium, or cowboy festival, in October. Lots of ways to enjoy and celebrate the cowboy life.

And in the end, when it is my turn to hop on a horse, I'll be hitting the Ruidoso Trail Rides by heading over to either Grindstone Stables and Bonito Stables in order to mosey down the trails through the incredible Ruidoso scenery. I'm guessing the view is pretty good that high up, what do you think?

Forests & Parks

Ruidoso Parks and Forests

Ruidoso is surrounded by forests and parks which really makes it feel like an escape, all that fresh air those beautiful trees are producing is hard to resist! If I wasn't a fan of our park system before our sabbatical, I am a super fan now! I think the United States is blessed with an amazing portfolio of national, state, and local parks and it is so important to use (and protect) them so that they aren't forgotten.

It's always fun to teach Mr. Misadventures about American history and while we were traveling around in the RV visiting lots of parks and forests I introduced the hubby to the concept of Smokey the Bear and his importance to adults and children alike. How he represented the forest and reminded us about fire safety. He doesn't know it yet but he's going to love to visit the Smokey Bear Historical Park where the actual Smokey the Bear is buried.

The real Smokey was a black bear cub rescued in 1950 by firefighters who discovered him while fighting a fire in the nearby Capitan Mountains. The cub was taken in by a rancher and then gained national attention as a reminder of why fire safety and protecting our forests is so important. The monument is just 25 minutes from Ruidoso.

Also a little under 30 minutes away is the Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area which you get to via Billy the Kid Trail. Yep, that Billy the Kid, I tell you the awesome cowboy history is everywhere! In this BLM recreation area, you can hike, bike, and horseback ride to your heart's content. Of course, there are also caves, in fact, it's the longest cave formation in the world clocking in at 15 miles.

Personally, I want to check out Petroglyph Trail along the Rio Bonito where you can find petroglyphs from the ancient people known as the Jornada Mogollon. I'm always astounded that thousands of years later, the etched rocks are still around! The Historic Town of Lincoln is just down the road from Fort Stanton and
was once home to the infamous Billy the Kid.

Day Trips from Ruidoso

Using Ruidoso as a home base there are a few spots that make fabulous side/day trips.

White Sands National Monument (1 hour, 20 minutes)
Bosque del Apache (2 hours)
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (2 hours)
Lincoln National Forest (2 hours)

It's clear to me that Ruidoso is a great escape any time of the year, whether it is cooling off outdoors or relishing a winter wonderland, this off-the-beaten-path mountain village has it all. It is absolutely going to be on our next New Mexico road trip itinerary. Here are 10 more fun things to do in Ruidoso from my friend Cacinda!

How about you? Have you been to Ruidoso before? Would you consider it now? Do share!

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  1. Kathleen Betancourt says:

    Your pics make me feel like im there!! deff gotta visit 🙂

  2. What a great post! I hav ot admit I have never heard of Ruidoso bu tlooks like it has so much to offer. Glad you have discovered your new found talent in fishing! LOL. I can’t say I have the patience for it nor the knack for it either. My fishing skills are dismal! Would love a bit of cowboying too…. not something I am exposed to very much.

  3. Nice photos! I have never been to the village of Ruidoso. Really beautiful place.

  4. I’ve never heard of Ruidoso, but it sounds amazing! My parents live in the middle of Arizona, so I have seen how you can drive from desert to forests in a matter of an hour. Your pictures are wonderful! I’ll have to check out this area next time I’m in the States.

  5. This looks awesome, I think i’d be doing the bike ride on my own – my partner is not a fan of the peddling! Though for these views he might be persuaded!

  6. Brianna Simmons says:

    I’ve been longing to get to New Mexico and I love all of the ways you can get outside in Ruidoso. I’ve always wanted to try fly-fishing and Ruidoso looks like a great place to cast my first line!

  7. Bob Bales says:

    It has been many years since I was in Ruidoso, I remember it being absolutely beautiful. I need to schedule a fishing trip.

  8. I have never heard of this place- i am not much a fisherman but i would lvoe to do the parksand mountain biking!!

  9. Medha Verma says:

    Ruidoso, although I have never heard about it, looks like an outdoor lovers haven! I am not much of a mountain biker, though I do enjoy an occasional hike or two but I’d still love to explore the outdoors. I’d probably go for the 6-mile trail – take it easy initially and see how it goes. I think it’s smart of you to choose biking over hiking to ensure Mister doesn’t get his camera equipment along haha. Smokey Bear Historical Park looks superb, I’d love to meet the bear cub too!

  10. I love the sound of exploring the forests nearby. Anywhere with outdoor activities is perfect for us although we’d maybe need a little practice before hitting the mountain biking trails!

  11. Jenn and Ed Coleman says:

    I went to Ruidoso once to explore the gypsum cap caves. Great story there too. We had the combination to the cave but the lock was stuck, so we drove back into town. Just before closing, we popped into a hardware store to buy bolt cutters. That’s all, just bolt cutters. The store owner gave us a dubious glace and said – have fun tonight. We assured him that we would and headed back out to the cave. It turns out we got the lock open the second time and didn’t need the bolt cutters after all, but I bet the owner remembered us too.

  12. Erin | The Epicurean Traveler says:

    Here is the sad thing — I haven’t traveled in the Southwest at all yet! However, there are definitely some destinations in New Mexico and your new home base that I’d love to explore. So I’m hoping to change that by the end of 2019. While I hadn’t heard of Ruidoso before, I can certainly see the appeal now, especially for travelers who like to be outdoors. I wouldn’t mind going for a hike or an easy mountain bike ride if I visit someday. Also, I’ve never been fly fishing, but I feel like it is the one kind of fishing I might enjoy as an activity. Can’t wait to read about your experience in Alaska!

  13. Beautiful area. I lived in New Mexico as a teen and escaping the city was always a treat. I hope you love Ruidosa and all it has to offer. Good luck on that fly fishing. I haven’t tried that variety yet, but two of my good friends say it’s the very best kind of fishing. Fishing in Alaska is a lot of fun though, so it has some competition.

  14. Toti and Alessia says:

    Mexico is an awesome place, we will land there soon and enjoy the sun, beach and relax. But also will be great to discover some history of this amazing place.

  15. I found the natural environment of New Mexico to be fascinating. As you say, you can go from desert to mountains in a short drive. I had to laugh at your ulterior motive for bike riding. My hubby too carries far too much camera equipment everywhere we go. Ruidoso looks like a fantastic spot to get mountain views. Biking would be fun, but so would riding a horse. But I would be passing on the fishing. A good place to remember for the next time we are in New Mexico!

  16. Neely Moldovan says:

    I went once when I was super young and I loved it! With these insanely hot temps I wish I could go now!

  17. Catherine Sargent says:

    Ruidoso looks like a wonderful place to take a vacation. I would love to go and try out fly fishing!

  18. Renata - www.byemyself.com says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit New Mexico – and your pictures are tickling my wanderlust. Ruidoso sound like a great experience, and as soon as things change a bit in the US, I go; I need to meet the cute little bear in person 😉

  19. I’ve never been to New Mexico before, but man Ruidoso looks like it has a lot to offer the resident and visitor. I’d love to experience this area some day in my future!

  20. I had never heard of Ruidoso, till I read your post. We are outdoors people and would absolutely love going there. Not much of mountain bikers, but we are awesome when it comes to hiking. So yes, Ruidoso is a place we would love. Not sure about cowboying but would love to know all about them. Yes, their culture part excites me. I know I would also enjoy all the forest and its nuances. Smokey the bear sounds interesting.

  21. Lara Dunning says:

    I was born in Los Alamos and have a natural love for the state. But, it has been so long since I’ve been there that I really need to go back and explore more. Thanks for the tip about Ruidoso as I love small towns! Would love to try fly fishing.

  22. Elaine Masters says:

    Wow. I need to spend some time in this area. Love that you love fishing. Fly fishing is something I always thought would be wonderful to try. Great pictures too – especially the little bear. New Mexico is definitely calling.

  23. Rudioso sounds like a fun place to explore. There are so many things to do there! My hubby would enjoy fly fishing I am sure 🙂

  24. Julie @ Running in a Skirt says:

    So many gorgeous places to visit! I love the mountain biking options- sounds like some great trails.

  25. Ruidoso looks like the perfect spot to enjoy the great outdoors! My sons would really enjoy it there too. They used to go with their grandfather on fishing trips so I know a trip to Ruidoso would be nostalgic.

  26. Alix @A Hedgehog in the Kitchen says:

    Hi Andi! Ruidoso looks incredible – we are definitely adding it to our travel bucket list! I love that you love to fish, so do we!

  27. Omgd that baby bear is so cute. I keep hearing great things about New Mexico and would love to do a trip out there. Good to know that Ruidoso makes a good base for visiting White Sands — that’s definitely on my list.

  28. I didn’t know New Mexico had so many amazing outdoor adventure opportunities! Honestly speaking, it’s never even been on my radar as a destination to visit but I’m totally converted now! Would definitely love to attend the Smoky Bear Stampede and we actually have something similar here in Canada too called the Calgary Stampede 🙂

  29. Thanks, Andi! You just inspired me to start making plans and get out in my RV! Your travels to Tuidoso sound amazing and it’s so helpful to know that New Mexico is a place I’ll want to allot plenty of time. Ruidoso will definitely be one of my spots. Love the cowboy culture you shared and the natural wildlife to explore there, too.

  30. Ruidoso village in New Mexico looks very beautiful and my type of place for holidays. Mountain biking along this village must be exciting.

  31. I have never heard of this part of New Mexico. It sure does look like you are a fisherwoman! Get it girl! You look pretty cool standing in the water. I have only been to Albuquerque, but I would love to check out this area. Such beauty in that state.

  32. I didn’t know much about Ruidoso, but sounds like a fun place for outdoor lovers! I also didn’t know you are into fishing! You got me curious about your Alaska fishing adventures 😛 I have never tried fishing before but maybe I will give it a try sometime!

  33. Jennifer Melroy says:

    I want to go hiking in Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area. I would love to explore and just enjoy being in the nature. I love how much there is to do in New Mexico. Fly fishing is a lot of fun as well.

  34. It’s been more than ten years since I’ve visited Ruidoso, but I loved it then, and your photos really take me back there. It’s so different from other parts of New Mexico I’ve visited — this wonderful forested oasis in the middle of much drier and more desert-like surrounding. I would love to try fishing there 🙂 .