Day Trips from Ruidoso

Ruidoso is just a short drive away from of some of New Mexico’s most popular attractions.  Here in Lincoln County, experience the history of the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway: discover the Wild West at Fort Stanton and Lincoln State Historic Sites and in the ghost town of White Oaks.

Further afield, the UFO Museum in Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns National Park are both located southeast of Ruidoso. The New Mexico Museum of Space HistoryWhite Sands National Monument and the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site are nearby in Alamogordo, NM. The Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, home to tens of thousands of migrating sand hill cranes each winter, is located due west. And to the southwest of Ruidoso, you can reach for the stars at Spaceport America near the natural hot springs of Truth or Consequences

Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway

Lincoln County and the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway are rich in history. Native Americans, the U.S. Cavalry, miners, cowboys, trappers, hunters, ranchers, outlaws and pioneers have all left their mark. Great ranches, ghost towns, mining camps, and Mexican villages can still be seen unspoiled in this beautiful drive and diverse country. From the heights of 12,000’ Sierra Blanca to the rolling pastures of Fort Stanton and the streams of the quiet valleys, this area has something to offer everyone. Take some time to discover our version of paradise. Directions.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Bosque del Apache is Spanish for "woods of the Apache," and is rooted in the time when the Spanish observed Apaches routinely camped in the riverside forest. Since then the name has come to mean one of the most spectacular national wildlife refuges in North America. Here, tens of thousands of birds--including sandhill cranes, Arctic geese, and many kinds of ducks--gather each autumn and stay through the winter. Feeding snow geese erupt in explosions of wings when frightened by a stalking coyote, and at dusk, flight after flight of geese and cranes return to roost in the marshes. The annual Festival of the Cranes is a highly acclaimed event, with hundreds of attractions and thousands of visitors. Directions

Lincoln Historic Site

Lincoln Historic Site is unique in that it manages most of the historical buildings in the community of Lincoln. This most widely visited state monument in New Mexico is part of a community frozen in time—the 1870's and 1880's. Walk in the footsteps of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and other famous and infamous characters of the Wild West. Trace the events of 1878 through the Courthouse and the Tunstall Store, with their preserved 19th-century atmosphere.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Take a turn in the comfortable 56°F climate and behold Carlsbad Caverns' stunning formations borne out of the earth's own vibrant imagination. The creation of the caves began some 250 million years ago, when the region was part of a vast inland sea. The park contains more than 100 known caves, including Lechuguilla Cave—the nation's deepest (1,567 feet) and third longest limestone cave. Don't miss The Big Room; it's the size of eight football fields combined. Directions

Hondo Iris Farm and Gallery 

One of our favorite spots for a picnic or a wedding - especially during the spring when the Iris' are in full bloom! The Hondo Iris Farm and Gallery offers an escape into the beautiful Hondo Valley. Relax on the Hummingbird porch, enjoy the artwork, bring along your lunch & enjoy the picnic tables set among the flowers. Directions.

Hot Springs of Truth or Consequences

Soak in the hot mineral waters of Truth or Consequences - yes, that is the City's real name - located southwest of Ruidoso and easily accessible on I-25. Natural hot springs await you at 10 commercial bath houses, from riverside to roof-top, or book a lodge with private hot springs in-room. Directions

Visitors soak away their cares at one of the many hot springs in Truth or Consequences.  (Albuquerque Journal)

Visitors soak away their cares at one of the many hot springs in Truth or Consequences. (Albuquerque Journal)

New Mexico Museum of Space History

Located just an hour south of Ruidoso in Alamogordo, the New Mexico Museum of Space History educates the people of New Mexico and our visitors from around the world in the history, science, and technology of space. Directions.

Roswell International UFO Museum

In July 1947, something happened northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, during a severe thunderstorm. Was it a flying saucer? Was it a weather balloon? What happened? ...Famous for what is now known as the Roswell Incident, the town of Roswell hosts an annual UFO festival and the International UFO Museum and Research Center where you can decide for yourself about the flying saucer that allegedly crashed here in 1947. Whatever you decide, you’re likely to be intrigued by the many exhibits and programs about the crash itself and the phenomenon of UFO research. Directions.

Spaceport America

Spaceport America is the world’s first commercially-built and purposed spaceport. Spaceport America is home base for two space tourism companies – Virgin Galactic and Armadillo Aerospace. While this is the “glamour” aspect of the Spaceport, a bigger focus of the facility is on research and development and educational launches. Directions.

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

The number and concentration of petroglyphs here make it one of the largest and most interesting petroglyphs sites in the Southwest. More than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs are scattered over 50 acres of New Mexico's northern Chihuahuan Desert. Directions.

Valley of Fires Recreation Area

Valley of Fires recreation area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow, just west of Carrizozo. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States. Directions.

White Oaks Ghost Town

Home of the world famous No Scum Allowed Saloon, named by AMERICAN COWBOY MAGAZINE as one of the Best Cowboy Bars in the West, White Oaks is not your typical flat-roofed adobe New Mexico historical experience. It's more cowboy/frontier than adobe Disneyland. There were no Conquistadores bringing the word of God to the native population. It was a frontier wild west cattle community right up until gold was discovered... an almost pure vein going down into Baxter Mountain. Directions.

An experience that cannot be matched is sledding down the sand dunes.   NPS Photo

An experience that cannot be matched is sledding down the sand dunes.

NPS Photo

White Sands National Monument

At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies a mountain ringed valley called the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Directions. 

Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Cloudcroft, New Mexico, is a charming Old West town at 9,000 feet in elevation in the Sacramento Mountains a short drive from Ruidoso. The tiny town with one main drag and 674 residents is unknown even to many New Mexicans. Rebecca's Restaurant at the Lodge is a longtime local and visitor favorite.  Directions.