The days are growing shorter, leaves are starting to turn, and kids are heading back to school…. fall is definitely in the air! I’ve got autumn getaways on the brain, happily checking out all the cool outdoor things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico. This mountain village is located in south-central New Mexico, between Roswell and Alamogordo — a great locale if you’re road-tripping off the beaten path in the Southwest U.S. (You can also fly in from afar to Albuquerque in the north or El Paso, Texas, to the south — each about 150 miles away.) At nearly 7,000 feet in elevation, expect glorious arid temperatures in the autumn months — cool crisp mornings and warm, sunny days in Ruidoso. This enclave gets 300 days of sunshine a year!
With this perfect mountain weather, outdoor activities abound: Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, golf, ziplining…. the list goes on and on. Ruidioso’s network of mountain-bike trails is especially impressive, with 18 miles of trails (including marked singletrack) around Grindstone Lake, plus a whopping 90+ miles of multi-use trails at Fort Stanton (where you’ll share the paths with hikers and horses). Road bikers aren’t left out, with plenty of low-traffic backroads for pleasant cycling in temperate weather nearly year-round!
Enjoy a slice of the Old West with a horseback ride from Grindstone Stables — a popular activity for families. Hour-long trail rides are mellow and offer a different perspective for taking in evergreen forest, wide-open meadows and pretty mountain vistas. Children as young as 5 years old can ride their own horses!
Even if you prefer a more leisurely pace to your vacation, Ruidoso is a great place to get outside by simply strolling through town to stop for a bite to eat, do a little shopping or browse the art and jewelry galleries. The opportunity to view wildlife is abundant; pack a pair of binoculars to spot elk, deer, bear, and even wild horses. And train your eyes to the sky, too, as more than 200 species of birds live in or migrate to the area, including bald eagles.
Of course, if a fall visit to Ruidiso isn’t in your plans, this laid-back vacation destination is appealing year-round, with downhill skiing and snowboarding, tubing, sleigh rides and winter zip tours offered when the snow starts to fly.
Have fun exploring Ruidoso whenever you visit!
The Village of Ruidoso Tourism Department sponsored this post and provided photos.