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Ruidoso: New Mexico’s Best Kept Secret

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I’ve always imagined New Mexico to be the land of adobe and desert, mostly shades of reds and oranges. But as I research my next trip out west, tentatively for New Mexico, I’m learning more and more about the state. The landscape is diverse, with mountain vistas, cosmopolitan skylines, and vast open ranges. I can think of nowhere better for my next summer adventure.

Get Outside

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Ruidoso, New Mexico is a mountain town that is a bit off the traditional tourist route of Santa Fe, Roswell, and Albuquerque. Neighboring the Mescalero Reservation, the area appeals to the adventurous type looking to experience the great outdoors. Along with hiking, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, geocaching, and zip lining are all part of the fun. You never know when you might spot wildlife like deer, elk, and bears.

The town is a short drive from nationally protected areas. You might have seen deserts before, but none quite like White Sands National Monument. The natural wonder is over 200 square miles of gypsum. Massive dunes are just asking to be explored, and maybe even ridden down on a sled. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is a favorite of birdwatchers, especially those in search of sandhill cranes. And Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area includes a petroglyph site, a cave, and 1800s fort.

Small Town Charm

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The small-town vibe is best seen downtown, where you can browse the shops, stop for a bite to eat, and admire the galleries of western art. Gallery events take place regularly and the Hubbard Museum of the American West is a Smithsonian affiliate that showcases the cultures of the region. Take in history at Lincoln State Historic Site and the White Oaks Ghost Town.

Walk the same Lincoln County streets where Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett roamed before a stop for a meal at one of Ruidoso’s local restaurants. Jorge’s Cafe is known for their authentic Mexican fare while Alto Cafe offers hotcakes the size of your head. Later on, sit around the fire pits with a drink at Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden.

I can’t wait to plan my trip next summer to New Mexico’s well-known destinations as well as the smaller towns like Ruidoso.

Have you been to this part of the country? Leave your tips below!

This post is sponsored by Discover Ruidoso in collaboration with Blog Meets Brand. All images are their property and used with permission. 

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5 Responses to Ruidoso: New Mexico’s Best Kept Secret

  1. Brian Lange August 15, 2017 at 2:45 am #

    Wow I like you post.
    Thank you for share this nice post
    hope it will help us

  2. Steve Lankford August 15, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    Panther Lodge is an amazing log home just a mile from downtown. It was built in British Columbia and transported to Ruidoso. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, huge stone fireplace , 28 foot ceilings and logs 2-3 ft. wide. It’s a truly amazing lodge situated on 2 acres for your viewing of deer, elk, etc. and exploring nature!! Panther Lodge has been featured in Log Home Living, New Mexico and Cowboy and Indians magazines. You must experience Ruidoso by staying in this beautiful lodge! You can book Panther Lodge thru “Condotel Ruidoso ” and ask for Panther Lodge!!

  3. Doris August 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    Give me a shout if you are looking for a cabin in the most desired section of Ruidoso, the Upper Canyon, I have a cute one! Ruidoso is a great place to get out of the heat and humidity. Summers offer not just the town and fun dining and shopping but one of the worlds highest ziplines, another zipline over the lake, downhill biking and more as you mentioned. Thanks for bringing attention to our little piece of the mountains away from the rest of the world.

  4. Dixie August 15, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    You should also check out Cloudcroft NM. It’s even smaller and so beautiful. Go to The Lodge and check out Rebecca’s the restaurant and you might just run into her ghost. Then head up to Sunspot for amazing views. Not a far drive from Ruidoso. I think you will love it.

  5. Shelley August 15, 2017 at 10:31 pm #

    Hi, where is the second picture, the trail by the water, taken?

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