Home | Destinations | Getaway Guides | Magazine | Great Drives


Ruidoso - New Mexico

In 1878, the Lincoln County War pitted cowboys and ranchers against bankers and politicians. A three-day shootout resulted in several deaths and no victory for either side. William "Billy the Kid" Bonney was one of the cowboys who fled during the siege. Three years later, Billy was re-captured and brought back to Lincoln to be hanged.

He escaped from the Lincoln County Courthouse, killing two guards, only to be chased to Fort Sumner by Pat Garrett (the county sheriff) and shot to death. The spirit of the murderous events of 1878 still hovers over the area ,and the entire little town of Lincoln -- still very much as it was then -- has been designated a National Historic Site.

Lincoln County lies in high country, north of Cloudcroft and east of Roswell. Sierra Blanca Peak, with an elevation of 12,003 feet, is the highest mountain in southern New Mexico. On its eastern slopes is the Ski Apache downhill ski area, which has a vertical rise of 1,800 feet and lots of powder skiing.

This historic region is located in the San Francisco Mountains, southweast of Albuquerque, and a half-day's drive from Las Cruces.Nearby communities include Cloudcroft and Alamogordo.

Ruidoso, a town that is synonymous with quarter horses, is located thirty-five miles southwest of Lincoln. Ruidoso Downs -- the racetrack -- is famed as the prime racing center for quarter horses and the site of the All-American Futurity, the world's richest horse race, which is held annually on Labor Day. A full season of quarter horse and thoroughbred racing is staged each summer, with horse sales taking place several times during the summer and fall.

Ruidoso Downs

Thoroughbreds and quarter horses race from May until Labor Day. Bleacher seating is free. The Hubbard Museum of the American West, located beside the racetrack, houses the extensive Anne C. Stradling Collection of horse art and memorabilia -- from a Russian sleigh and an 1860 stagecoach to Remington statues and paintings by Charles Russell and many other Western artists. The museum is open daily and a fee is charged. For information, call (505) 378-4142.

Smokey Bear Historic Park

The Lincoln National Forest straddles the Sacramento Mountains, offering recreational opportunities. This park commemorates the original Smokey, a local forest resident who survived a fire and became famous as the symbol of forest fire prevention. Smokey died in 1976 and was buried in nearby Capitan. The park visitor center has exhibits on the beloved ursine and on forest firefighting.

Outdoor Attractions

Two Rivers Park, located 2 miles from downtown Ruidoso on Sudderth Drive, is situated beside the Ruidoso River, with pine groves and a picnic area. A short trail is availablefor walking.

Bonito Lake, 16 miles north of town on New Mexico Route 37, is a scenic forest lake that is popular with anglers and also offers a great site for a picnic. There are trails to old mine sites in the mountains. Horseback riding is a natural thing to do when visiting this horse-driven town

The Inn of the Mountain Gods, a resort and casino complex with hotel rooms and suites, has a stable for riding. It's locaated at 287 Carrizo Canyon Road, in Mescalero.

New Mexico Destinations




Bandelier National Monument

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Chaco Culture National Historic Park



Las Cruces

Los Alamos



Santa Fe

Silver City





Hundreds of top vacation destinations in the U.S. and Canada

Great Drives

Scenic off-freeway vacation drives from California to New Mexico

Getaway Guides:

Las Vegas, NV

San Francisco, CA

Reno, NV

Lake Tahoe, CA & NV

British Columbia & Vancouver

Magazine - Features:

Great Drives
in the US and Canada
Traveling with Kids
Top-Ten Lists






British Columbia







New Mexico


South Carolina






Home | Destinations | Feature Articles | Getaway Guides | Great Drives
Travel Books | World Tourism Bureaus | U.S. Tourism Bureaus