Ruidoso is the perfect place to stay while you explore some of the great attractions found within the region. We’ve listed some of our favorite “Day Trip” suggestions below. Enjoy!
Hondo Valley–Traveling east from Ruidoso on Hwy. 70, the beautiful Hondo Valley provides visitors with a scenic drive through a peaceful, pastoral valley. Fruit stands along the highway are stocked with country grown fruits in season. Flower, herb and fruit farms allow the visitor to explore a twist on the traditional farming way of life. Nestled in the Hondo Valley at San Patricio, one can find treasures from world renown Peter Hurd and his artistic family at the Hurd-La Rinconada Gallery.
Lincoln – at Hwy. 380, head northwest to Lincoln home of the Lincoln County Wars and the legendary outlaw, Billy the Kid. Take a stroll down the main streets and see the Tunstall Museum, a general store furnished in period, the 1887 Mission of San Juan, the home of Dr. Earl Woods, the Lincoln County Courthouse, and the main street where the famous shootouts took place. Don’t miss the Visitor’s Center and Museum, 1-800-263-5929, or 575-378-4142, for tour info. Capitan, home of Smokey Bear provides visitors with a visitor center dedicated to the education of forest fire prevention and is also the site of the tomb of Smokey Bear. Phone: (575) 354-2748.
Carrizozo is located at the junction of US Highways 380 & 54 and offers the 12th Street Art District housing a variety of fine arts, local crafts, furniture and more.
North of US Hwy. 54, is White Oaks, once a gold mining town in the late 1800s. Group tours of the Old School House Museum and cemetery may be arranged. (575) 648-2521.
The Valley of Fires Recreation Area is located 4 miles West of Carrizozo. The youngest lava flow in the state is referred to as Malpais, translated as bad lands. There are nature trails and camping. (575) 648-2241.
This incredibly beautiful and historic route is designated as the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway.
Inn of the Mountain Gods, west of Ruidoso off Highway 70, in the Mescalero Apache Reservation, is a 4 Diamond resort complete with 18-hole golf course, Las Vegas style casino, fine dining, outfitter guides and convention center.
Mescalero, is the heart of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. The Mescalero Fish Hatchery, 8 miles from Ruidoso, established in 1965, supplies game fish to Native American waterways, and has displays of fish & culture info. (575) 464-4401. The Mescalero Cultural Center exhibits baskets, clothing and photographs from the Apache culture. (575) 464-4494, ext. 254.
Tularosa. Round Mountain can be seen on the south side of Hwy. 70 coming out of the Sacramento Mountains. The cross on top of Round Mountain was placed there by Tularosa villagers in remembrance of those who fought at the battle of Round Mountain in 1868.
The Tularosa Museum has artifacts and historical accounts of those who lived in the Tularosa area. For tours call (575) 585-2057. The Tularosa Vineyards, approximately 2 miles North of Tularosa, grow several varieties of grapes from which they make their wines, including the Mission grape brought to the area by the original settlers. Tours, tasting and sales. (575) 585-2260, 1-(800) 687-4467.
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is about 23 miles North of Tularosa on Highway 54. A trail beginning at the visitor’s shelter winds through piles of rocks decorated with thousands of drawings carved in the rocks by the Jornada Mongollon Indians as far back as 1,000 years ago. There is also an ancient dwelling site and a picnic and camping area. (575) 525-4300.
Eagle Ranch Pistachios Groves and Visitor Center, approximately 5 1/2 miles south of Tularosa, has a gift shop featuring pistachio nut products, NM wine, homemade treats, local crafts, and unique southwestern gifts. Visit the Art Gallery, Coffee shop, and ask about tours. (575) 434-0035. McGinn’s PistachioLand is located between Tularosa and Alamogordo. They offer pistachio samples, 12 flavors of ice cream in their ice cream parlor, daily tours 10 am to 4 pm, and free wine samples from the Arena Blanca Winery. They are home to the World’s Largest Pistachio. 800-368-3081.
Extra Ordinary Places
Day Trip 3 – Alamogordo, Space Hall of Fame, Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, White Sands National Monument/
Alamogordo, just 45 minutes from Ruidoso was established in 1899 as a railroad town, and the proximity of Holloman Air Force Base has caused the town to grow substantially. The NM Museum of Space History in Alamogordo includes the International Space Hall of Fame, Museum, Stapp Air & Space Park, Astronaut Memorial Garden, and the Tombaugh IMAX Dome Theater & Planetarium. Displays relate to mankind’s exploration of space and experimentation in the field of rocket science. (575) 437-2840 or 1-877-333-6589. The Toy Train Depot, on White Sands Blvd., features rides on miniature trains through the park, and a model train display. (575) 437-2855. The Tularosa Basin Historical Society Museum, located next to Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce, contains many historical items of the area. (575) 434-4438. Alameda Park Zoo, established in 1898 with a small collection of animals, is now home to 300 species of animals and has a picnic area and playground for children. (575) 439-4290. Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is located 12 miles South of Alamogordo, against the base of the Sacramento Mountains. Oliver Lee came to the Tularosa Basin in 1885. His ranch house at Dog Canyon was restored and authentically furnished in 1987. (575) 437-8284 for info. on ranch house tours.
White Sands National Monument, 15 miles West of Alamogordo contains the world’s largest deposit of gypsum sand dunes. The visitor center has exhibits detailing the origin of the dunes. Summer activities include a Sunset Stroll, Nature Walk, Full Moon Nights and Lake Lucero Tours. (575) 479-6124
Located south of Ruidoso, Cloudcroft was settled in the late 1800s, when the Southern Pacific Railway ran a spur up the mountain from Alamogordo to transport lumber down the mountain. The Sacramento Mountain Historical Museum, on Highway 82, has many interesting relics of the pioneer days. (575) 682-2932. The Lodge was originally built by railroad magnates in 1899 when Cloudcroft was a booming lumber town. The ghost of Rebecca, a pretty chambermaid who met her death at the hands of a jealous lover in one of the rooms at the Lodge, is said to inhabit the premises. Enjoy fine dining, golf and more at The Lodge. Phone: (575) 682-2566.
Sunspot National Solar Observatory and Apache Point Observatory are located about 20 miles south of Cloudcroft. The site affords a fantastic view of the Tularosa Basin. A visitor’s center is open to the public and visitor’s may take the self-guided tour or guided tours. (575) 434-7000.
Timberon. Turn south off Hwy. 6563 onto Hwy. 537 (unpaved) to get to the beautiful community of Timberon. The legacies of the wild west live on here where Oliver Lee’s elegant Circle Cross Ranch House still stands. The ranch is now privately owned.
Trestle Vista, one mile west of Cloudcroft, offers a spectacular view if the what remains of Mexican Canyon Trestle from the turn of the century Cloud Climbing railroad tracks. Further west on Hwy. 83 is Tunnel Vista. A lookout point on the West side of the highway offers a view of the Tularosa Basin and the White Sands. The tunnel is the only natural rock tunnel formation in the state.