Tucked away in the Sierra Blanca Mountain range, Ruidoso beckons as a vibrant oasis in New Mexico. At an elevation of 7,800 ft., this small village of only 8,000 residents is a hidden gem destination just waiting to be discovered. Prepare for an extraordinary retreat filled with thrilling outdoor adventures and unforgettable experiences. Summer is the ultimate season to immerse yourself in Ruidoso’s natural splendor and community, but fear not winter enthusiasts, because Ruidoso boasts the southernmost ski-resort in the entire country!
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Going to Ruidoso was for my first-ever press trip! As a travel content creator, this is the type of work I live for! Essentially, getting paid to travel. This isn’t my first time traveling to New Mexico. In 2020, I went specifically to visit White Sands National Park, which I was able to briefly stop by at on this trip as well. Let me share with you all the cool things I got to see and do while I was there.
Embarking on your Ruidoso adventure is part of the excitement! I didn’t research too much into this since my travel arrangement were handled for me, but from what I’m aware there are two main options to choose from. The first option is flying into El Paso, Texas, which is about a two hour drive to Ruidoso, and on this route you can make a pitstop at the magnificent White Sands National Park. Alternatively, fly into Roswell, New Mexico’s regional airport which is about an hour to Ruidoso.
During my stay in Ruidoso, my accommodations were at the Ruidoso River Resort, which was amazing. The name of Ruidoso is a direct Spanish translation meaning “noisy river” It’s the only resort in town that’s next to the river and allows you to immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of flowing water. They have huge condo-style rooms, offering a cozy retreat after a day of exploration. Step out onto your riverfront balcony and soak up the tranquil ambiance. Ruidoso River Resort truly captures the essence of a mountain retreat and promises an unforgettable experience.
While Ruidoso may not be hailed as a foodie paradise just yet, there are still spots to satisfy your cravings. Here are some establishments I ate at during my own Ruidoso escapade:
This culinary spot dishes out delectable creations bursting with Southwestern Bistro flair. Whether you’re craving savory tacos, juicy burgers, or refreshing salads, get ready to eat some delicious bites that will keep you coming back for more.
I’m a major breakfast girlie, so kickstart your day with a visit to the heartwarming Tina’s Cafe. This eatery offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, accompanied by hearty breakfast options that will fuel your adventures. From fluffy pancakes to mouthwatering omelets, Tina’s Cafe serves up classic breakfast food that will leave you energized and ready to conquer the world.
Calling all craft beer aficionados! This family-owned microbrewery serves up a wide selection of ales, lagers, and specialty brews that will delight your taste buds. There are two taprooms in town, the Hidden Tap and Riverside, which is a nine minute walk from each other. The Riverside location is aiming to be a one stop shop from morning to night, so you’re able to get coffee and pastries followed by an evening of shareable food and more brews.
Since I was here as part of a press trip, I was served off-menu food like wild elk. The meat was tougher than I expected and it was paired with a polenta that was rather bland. However, dinner was saved with a cheesecake that had the most incredible beer-infused syrup and I came back in the morning for an amazing cinnamon roll.
Even though it’s a small town, there are an array of activities that will make your Ruidoso experience truly unforgettable!
Unleash your adventurous spirit with a thrilling off-roading experience at Back Country Attitudes. Whether you opt for a 3-4 hour guided expedition or a 2 hour self-guided drive, you’ll have the opportunity to explore paved streets and dirt roads through the back woods of Ruidoso. Hop on one of their OHVs and embark on a ride that will take you through the towns mountainous landscapes.
A burgeoning haven for wine enthusiasts! I got to meet the owner, who is well respected around town and is leading the charge to make New Mexico the next wine scene in the country. Noisy Water Winery offers their own brand of New Mexico wines infused with the unique flavors of green chile. Sample their delightful creations and indulge in the rich, distinctive tastes that showcase the essence of New Mexico.
For an extra treat, make your way to The Enchanted Vine Barn, their production facility located just outside of town, where you can enjoy their wines in a charming and relaxed setting. The space is beautiful and can be booked for weddings. My favorite part is that the barn has also become an unofficial animal rescue.
Take a moment to rejuvenate your mind and body at the Blue Lotus Day Spa & Yoga. This full spectrum wellness yoga studio offers a tranquil sanctuary where you can unwind and restore your balance. Treat yourself to a range of treatments and services designed to pamper you and provide an oasis of serenity in the midst of your adventures.
The horse racing industry may be controversial, but this racetrack is home to the richest horse race in the country, the All-American Futurity, and is what put Ruidoso on the map. The triple crown that we typically hear about is about thoroughbred racing, but here they race quarter horses. I can see why hanging out at the Jockey Club, which is the only privately owned one in the country, and placing bets is such an addictive pastime. Marvel at the speed, skill, and beauty of quarter horses and witness the incredible athleticism on display.
Prepare for a true western honky-tonk bar! Start off with guided tastings of New Mexico-made spirits, including bourbons which the state is known for. Afterward, let loose and channel your inner lumberjack with some axe-throwing. While this is not a spot I would typically hang out at, I can see why many people enjoy the atmosphere here. As you enjoy the lively atmosphere, both indoors and outdoors, accompanied by live music, you’re guaranteed a night filled with laughter and lasting memories.
Drive out of the village to check out the historic town of Lincoln, where you’ll be transported back in time. There’s only a population of 50 people and you can literally wander through the streets and immerse yourself in what the 1870s and 1880s was like. Discover the town’s storied past, including its association with legendary figures like Billy the Kid. Tours are led by former resident and owner of of Bonito Valley Brewing Company which has their taproom in the historic Lesnet-Garcia home that was built over 150 years ago.
Admire the works of renowned artists such as Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth-Hurd, and their son, Michael Hurd. The gallery showcases their incredible talent and provides a glimpse into their remarkable contributions. It’s a chance to experience the magic of art and be inspired by the creative spirits that have graced Ruidoso. Part of the property includes Sentinel Ranch Winery, which offers Noisy Water wines along with finger foods.
Overall, Ruidoso is an extraordinary hidden gem that awaits travelers seeking a memorable getaway. With its stunning mountain landscapes, thrilling activities, and welcoming accommodations, Ruidoso offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.
Whether you choose to visit during the summer months to explore the outdoor wonders or prefer the winter season to hit the slopes, Ruidoso has something to offer every type of traveler. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the magic of Ruidoso—it’s a journey you won’t soon forget!
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