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Explore Ruidoso New Mexico

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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.

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!

For a visual summary of this post, check out my Ruidoso web story!

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