Travel & Destinations

Visit Ruidoso, New Mexico, a Four-Season Destination

If you are looking for a vacation spot for any time of the year, especially for winter getaways, look no further than Ruidoso, New Mexico, located at 7,000 feet in southeast New Mexico in the heart of the Sierra Blanca mountains, with excellent skiing, alternate snow fun, and other exciting adventures.

If you are looking for a vacation spot for any time of the year, especially for winter getaways, look no further than Ruidoso, New Mexico. Known as a four-season destination with 300 days of sunshine, Ruidoso is located at 7,000 feet in southeast New Mexico in the heart of the Sierra Blanca mountains, with excellent skiing, alternate snow fun, and other exciting adventures.

Getting to Ruidoso

It’s an eight-hour drive from Dallas/Fort Worth, or you can fly to El Paso and drive two and a half hours. However you get there, it’s a much closer ski destination than Colorado. The Mescalero Apache-owned Ski Apache will often have snow when Colorado doesn’t. 

Winter Sports Fun

Opening for the ski season around Nov. 26, hit the slopes at Ski Apache (11,500 feet elevation) and fly down the snow tube runs at Ruidoso Winter Park (base elevation 9,600 feet.) Enjoy an average snowfall of over 15 feet at 55 runs. with trails that are 20% expert, 60% intermediate, and 20% beginner. You’ll find 11 lifts and a passenger gondola to the top of the Gazebo. Indulge in world-class skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking. The Ski Apache Zipline, the longest zip line in the lower 48 states, will open on November 23 for winter visitors.

Backcountry Attitudes in the Backcountry c Janie Pace W jpg
Janie Pace and guide Kevin, hitting the backcountry

There’s lots to do when you are not on the slopes

Backcountry Attitudes offers exciting four-wheel OHV adventure tours through the magnificent wilderness and mountains around Ruidoso, guided or self-guided with a GPS. 

Screaming Eagle Mountain Coaster, the only one in New Mexico, boasts 5,100 feet of dips, waves, climbs, and a 360-degree spiral. You control the speed of your cart up to 25 mph while you enjoy a safe mountain coaster ride. 

You can ride horses at Grindstone Stables and enjoy one-hour guided trail rides, mid-town carriage rides, and, in the winter, upper canyon sleigh rides. Delight in beautiful mountainous scenery on horseback at the Inn of the Mountain Gods.

Take time to relax and regenerate
Take time to relax and regenerate

Looking to yoga out and relax? Visit Blue Lotus Day Spa & Yoga, a women-owned business offering client-centered professional treatments. Indulge in therapeutic massages, specialty facial treatments, and yoga classes, focusing on healing from within. 

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and Casino is the home to the $3 million All American Futurity, quarter horse racing’s richest race. Brendan’s at The Jockey Club offers members and guests exquisite dining and drinks while watching every race. Brendan’s is open to the public for dinner after the races on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so make your reservations.

Mike Cheney, owner of Win Place and Show Bar, serves a tasting of New Mexico-made spirits with a lesson in axe throwing (yes, you do have to sign a waiver).

There's a lot of golfing going on
There’s a lot of golfing going on

Hit the Links

Play 18 holes at The Links At Sierra Blanca with rolling hills and Scottish-style golf. Alto Lakes Golf & Country Club offers three unique golf clubs, two 18-hole courses, and a hybrid 18-hole course (no par fives) among soaring mountain scenes, emerald greens, and glittering lakes. Reserve a tee time at Inn of the Mountain Gods Championship Golf Course, ranked #23 in Golf Digest’s “Top 40 Casino Golf Courses,” or play at Cree Meadows Ruidoso, the oldest public course in Lincoln County. 

For those who take to the challenge of Disc Golf, you’ll find four courses in the Ruidoso area. Backcountry Attitudes has all your disc golf needs and advent.

Brewery Bound in Ruidoso

Downshift Brewing Company and Hidden Tap, with their new Riverside Taproom, serve great brews, tasty eats, and live music. 

Lost Hiker Brewing Company, Ruidoso Downs, and Lost Hiker Brewing Co. Taproom in town are family-owned and focus on growing the home brew craft. 

Bonito Valley Brewing Company in historic Lincoln creates beers like the Billy the Kid Amber, with a tap room in a 150-year-old home. 

Wine tasting in Ruidoso— Perfect!
Wine tasting in Ruidoso— Perfect!

Wineries and Wine Tastings

Noisy Water Winery owner and winemaker Jasper R. invites you to a tasting of their private collection in the Library and winery tours. The Cellar Uncorked, sister to Noisy Water Winery and three stores down from the winery, offers award-winning wine tastings like the Chimayo Red Chile or Ruidoso Bubbly.

Eateries and Restaurants

Tina’s Café serves an excellent omelet for breakfast and my favorite migas: eggs with green chili, corn tortillas, cheese, and a side of potatoes and pinto beans. For lunch, savor the green chili cheeseburger or red chili enchiladas.

Wendell’s at Inn of the Mountain Gods is an award-winning place for a steak and seafood dinner.

Grill Caliente serves southwestern burgers, tacos, and steaks on a large patio surrounded by woods. 

Enjoy Elk grazing all around Ruidoso
Enjoy Elk grazing all around Ruidoso

Places to Stay

Ruidoso River Resort is ideally situated in midtown Ruidoso and is part condo and cabin. It is a block off the main street along the scenic Ruidoso River, where deer and elk graze. You are near all of the action, including restaurants, wineries, breweries, and shops. 

Story Book Cabins offers upscale rustic log cabins and vacation homes among the tall pines. 

Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino on the Mescalero Apache reservation has comfortable lodging, an upscale casino, excellent food, golfing, horseback riding, and relaxing spa amenities.  


Janie Pace

Writer/photographer Janie Pace is a native Texan covering restaurants, wineries, breweries, travel destinations, and cruises. A member of the ITWPA International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance, IFWTWA International Food Wine Travel Writing Association, and USPA United States Press Agency; she’s a retired advertising and sales professional.

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