JD's Tree House
Ruidoso, New Mexico
Attractions and Activities
Attractions and Activities Information
by Laura Doth
Ruidoso is an enchanting place in southern New Mexico where outlaws once roamed and Indians dance with the spirits of their ancestors. This is a place where breezes softly rustle majestic pines, and where trout leap from their watery homes. This is Ruidoso, New Mexico and it is home to all of these images and so much more.
Nestled in the mountains of the southern-most Rockies, Ruidoso is a bustling village opening its arms to thousands of visitors annually as they discover the area’s many treasures.
At an elevation of 7,000 feet, it was the cool mountain pines that originally brought visitors to this area; it was the wealth of things to do that made them stay. Outdoor recreation is part of the over-all appeal of “Billy the Kid” country. Much of the county is devoted to the one million acre Lincoln National Forest, and nature is the primary passion of the forest’s many visitors. For the avid angler, local streams and lakes are stocked at different times of the year with rainbow trout.
The rich mountain area is dotted with trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. All of them are easily negotiated. Several stables provide rental horses at hourly or daily rates and mountain bikes are available for rent. Big game hunting opportunities abound, with deer, elk, bear and turkey being the most sought-after game. Visitors can contact several local outfitters to schedule a hunt.
Many of the area’s terrific attractions are found along the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway. This driving loop circles much of the county, allowing visitors the chance to see a wide range of local topography, attractions, historic and artistic venues.
When it comes to excitement of a different nature, Ruidoso Downs Race Track is the obvious place to go. Home to the world’s richest Quarter Horse race, the $1 million All American Futurity, the Downs features the best Quarter Horses in the world and the finest Thoroughbred racing in the southwest. Live racing begins in May and runs through Labor Day weekend. The track is also home to the Ruidoso Downs Race Horse Hall of Fame, a tribute to the people and horses who have made Ruidoso Downs Race Track the world's most renowned Quarter Horse track.
The area’s three casinos offer even more fun for your money. Full gaming can be found at Casino Apache and the new Casino Apache Travel Center. The Billy the Kid Casino is located next door to Ruidoso Downs Race Track, and offers 300 slot machines that provide all the noise and glitter of Vegas, while the off-track betting facility broadcasts races from around the country.
The Hubbard Museum of the American West is one of the most respected museums in the state, housing an extensive permanent collection and ever-changing schedule of shows and activities. The Hubbard Museum houses the Museum of the Horse and the Anne C. Stradling Collection and is affiliated with the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Featuring a magnificent collection of carriages, wagons, saddles, fine art and Indian artifacts, the role of the horse in the American West is highlighted in great detail. "Free Spirits at Noisy Water" a landmark Dave McGary bronze installation of seven larger-than-life horses graces the entrance to the Museum.
The old West is much more than a distant memory for Lincoln County and the surrounding area. Just down the valley from Ruidoso is the historic town of Lincoln. During 1878 and 1879, the citizens of this town experienced a full fledged war between two opposing merchants. Known as the Lincoln County War, this hard fought conflict brought notoriety to a young gun slinger called Billy the Kid. Today, old Lincoln, through careful preservation and restoration, has emerged as a visible reminder of the past. Within the town’s limits are 11 state monuments, including four museums. The museums pay tribute to the Lincoln County War, Mescalero Apache Indians, the Buffalo Soldiers, and of course, Billy the Kid.
After soaking up some history, you will be more than ready to soak up some sun at one of the area’s three public golf courses. Ruidoso’s only municipal facility, the Links at Sierra Blanca, is a world class, 18-hole course. The Scottish style course is designed to be both challenging for the experienced golfer and fun for the novice. Other notable area courses include Cree Meadows Golf Course, the area’s oldest and most established course. The nearby Inn of the Mountain Gods Golf Course winds around a man-made lake, and is ranked among the top 20 resort golf courses in the United States. An added advantage of the courses in Ruidoso is that they are open year ‘round!
For reservations call: 1-800-545-9017 or click the link below to take you to our reservation pages.
The telephone number is answered 24/7 by a real live person.