A May 2005 trip
to Ruidoso by TedandDonna
Quote: This is a description of some of the interesting things you can see and do in southern New Mexico.
There are many museums in the area for anyone who enjoys them, including Billy the Kid Museum and Casino. There is even horse racing at Ruidoso Downs. We were more interested in sightseeing and hiking, but we did enjoy coming upon Fort Stanton and learning about the Marine cemetery there. We also stopped in the little town of Capitan to have lunch and were told the story of Smokey the Bear. Of course, this is where he was born and where he died, so there is a burial site. We had planned a stop in Roswell, but ran out of time. There was a UFO museum there. There is a lot to see and do in this area, summer or winter, but also lots of places to visit outside the area as well, if you don’t mind driving. If you are interested in a chuck-wagon dinner and Western show, wait until after Memorial Day. This is the beginning of their summer season. You can also go for a stagecoach ride, but these things don’t start until after the holiday. There is wine tasting in Alamagordo about an hour away and also a pistacio grove. So much to see and do, and normally a place to escape the heat of the lower plains.
This destination we highly recommend for nature lovers, for the physically active who love to golf, play tennis, bike, horseback ride, and ski, but also for anyone who just likes sightseeing and learning interesting facts of history. You can gamble, shop, visit art exhibits, enjoy the performing arts, or just try out all the restaurants in town. Happy exploring!
The resort staff were very helpful, and the maintenance man came right away to fix our screen door when it would not close properly. There was a very nice laundry facility with coin-operated machines for the guests, as well as irons and ironing boards available upon request. There was an indoor pool and small hot tub, but it was just too warm to be indoors. We were quite satisfied with our accommodations and would recommend this resort to others, since it is in a good location and close to shopping and restaurants. If you prefer a fancy new resort, we would recommend Inn of the Mountain Gods, with its golf course and riding stables nearby - and don’t forget the casino and restaurant.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 19, 2005
401 Highway 70
Ruidoso, New Mexico
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 12, 2005
Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino
287 Carrizo Canyon Road
Ruidoso, New Mexico 88340
Restaurant | "K'Bobs Steakhouse"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 20, 2005
157 Highway 70 (at the Y)
Ruidoso, New Mexico 88345
Restaurant | "Pasta Cafe Italian Bistro"
2331 Sudderth Drive
Ruidoso, New Mexico 88345
Hours: 7am to 5pm
8am to 5pm
across from municipal parking lot
113 Rio St
Ruidoso, New Mexico 88345
Attraction | "Sandia Peak Tramway"
Sandia Peak Ski Area
#10 Tramway Loop Northeast
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87122
+1 505 242 9133
We were fortunate or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it, to have arrived on the weekend that several thousand Harley Davidson motorcyclists hit Ruidoso for their spring rally. Actually, the noise of the bikes never bothered us, and it was kind of interesting to see that many in one place. There was a concert for the bikers Saturday night starring Brooks and Dunn, held at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort just outside of Ruidoso.
One of the first things we did after settling in was to check at the Chamber of Commerce, located in Mid Town, for things to see and do. I had already read about Monjeau Lookout, so we inquired how to get there. Take Ski Run Road one mile to the Monjeau turnoff (Forest Rt 117). The road gets pretty steep and rocky, and it would be easy to puncture a tire if you’re not careful. At the top, you are at an elevation of 10,356 feet. There are several picnic spots and the manned Forest Service tower. Take the steps up to the base of the lookout and enjoy a spectacular view of the Sierra Blanca Mountains and Ruidoso below. Along the way, you will notice the groves of Aspen, so pause and listen for the songbirds. We witnessed a spring phenomenon. There are just a few weeks each spring when the ladybugs gather in mass at the higher peaks. The air becomes thick with them, as well as the shaded corners of buildings. There are also many mule deer in the area that wander about people’s yards and in the golf courses, feeding at will. We also took a drive up the winding Ski Run Road to its end at Ski Apache. There are places to pull over and enjoy the view. The ski resort was not open, but there is a hiking trail if you are so inclined.
If you like to hike, there is a nice trail not far from town at the south end of South Fork Campground just past Bonito Lake. It follows the river at a gentle slope, and you can go for a day hike as far as you want to go, or you can do a loop and make it a backpacking trip. Visit ruidoso.net.
One thing we really wanted to see was Carlsbad Caverns. Plan on a 4-hour trip each way. We were advised to take Hwy 244 off of Hwy 70 going over the mountains and through the Indian reservation. This was a good choice, as it was more scenic and enjoyable and didn’t take any longer. It joins in with Hwy 82, and then you would head east to Hwy 285 and south from there. For a side trip or a trip all its own, you can go west on Hwy 82 through Cloudcroft and south out of town toward Sunspot Observatory. Sunspot takes 1 to 2 hours, depending on your interest level. If this is a separate trip from Ruidoso, you may want to go west out of Cloudcroft and down through the rugged mountains into Alamagordo. There you can take in the Space Museum and the Imax theater and spend the latter part of the day at White Sands National Monument. Try to hit it during a full moon. The 300 square miles of gypsum sand glows after dark.
We paid a visit to Bosque Del Apache Bird Sanctuary at San Antonio, NM before arriving back in Albuquerque, but it was the wrong time of year to see the cranes or the snow geese. November or December is the time to be there. Even then, you have to be there at just the right hour to witness the fly-out, when hundreds of birds take to the air all at once at the crack of dawn. It is a self-guided tour by car, getting out at strategic locations to walk into the natural habitat of the birds. For a few dollars, you can purchase an informative CD to play in your car that explains the points of interest.
It was such a long way from Ruidoso to Albuquerque that we decided to return a day early and rent a room closer to the airport. While there, we drove to Old Town just to look around and happened on a Porsche drive-through in the town square. All of the cars were vintage, so it was quite interesting to see. A few Native Americans were playing the drums and chanting all the while. This was on Route 66, which crosses the Rio Grande River. And a muddy river it is!
We found that this vacation was fairly inexpensive, since most museums and points of interest have low entrance fees, if any at all. We put 1500 miles on the rental car, so that was our biggest expense. You can eat very cheaply by frequenting the fast-food chains. It is harder to eat healthy, but not impossible. For anyone who likes the mountains and an outdoor experience, we highly recommend this area. We tend to find something interesting wherever we go.
The Dalles, Oregon