5 Outdoor Adventures in Ruidoso, New Mexico
Located just under three hours from Albuquerque, Ruidoso is known for its mild climate and mountainous landscape. Nestled in the Sierra Blanca mountain range, this quaint village brims with flowing streams, hiking trails, waterfalls, and even sand dunes. Consequently, Ruidoso is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. If you’re looking for an adventure, and maybe an adrenaline rush, don’t miss out on these five outdoor activities in the charming western town.
1. Hike in Lincoln National Forest
Consisting of the Sacramento, Guadalupe, and Smokey Bear mountain ranges, Lincoln National Forest spans four counties. With considerable differences in elevation throughout the park, the landscapes vary from desert to forest, resulting in diverse vegetation. For an easy hike, head to the Grindstone Lake Loop Trail, which is roughly a 1.9-mile round trip. The trail offers spectacular views of Grindstone Canyon and the nearby lake. For a more challenging hike, Perk Ridge Trail is about 2.7-miles and offers great views of the mountains and local wildlife.
2. Visit an iris farm
A short 20-minute drive will land you at Hondo Iris Farm. With over 400 varieties of the Iris flower as well as lilies, peonies, and roses, the farm has a multitude of photo opportunities. Complete with a hummingbird porch, a pond, picnic tables, a botanical garden, and a gallery built in a 100-year-old adobe home, the farm is ideal for a quiet picnic in the countryside.
3. Visit White Sands National Monument
Just over an hour from Ruidoso is one of the world’s most unique, natural marvels. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, White Sands Monument covers 275 square miles of desert land and sand dunes. The dramatic, wave-like sand dunes created from eroded gypsum are a true testament to New Mexico’s unique geology. Playa Trail, Dune Life Trail, and the Interdune Boardwalk are all short hikes venturing through the mystical scenery.
4. Explore the countryside on horseback
Grindstone Stables is located just minutes from the village and has guided horseback tours all year round. The trail weaves through rural areas, past Grindstone Canyon and to the top of Townsend Ridge. The three-mile ride combined with knowledgeable guides offer the chance to see diverse landscapes and wildlife in Ruidoso. The trail is very family-friendly, as it caters to all skill levels.
5. Go zip lining over Lake Mescalero
For the ultimate adrenaline rush, head to the Apache Eagle Ziprider. The ride soars over Lake Mescalero with a birds-eye view of the Sierra Blanca Mountains and famous Inn of the Mountain Gods. The company even has parallel cables for those who want to ride with a partner. The activity certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, as speeds often reach up to 55 mph.
Single ride or full day passes are available, along with discounts for children, seniors, and military.