Ruidoso, New Mexico is in the southern part of the state, about 120 miles north of El Paso, Texas. Ruidoso is a resort community of approximately 8,000 people that can grow to over 30,000 during the winter peak of our skiing season and in the summer for horse racing. When the snow flies thousands head for the slopes of Ski Apache, owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Nation. In the summer, the attention turns to the Ruidoso Downs Race Track, the home of the richest quarter horse event in the world!
If you’re not into skiing or horse racing you may want to consider a stay in Ruidoso during our “low season”. There are some outstanding values from the last week of March through the middle of May or from the last week of September through until Thanksgiving. Area lodgers have specials during these periods and Ruidoso abounds with low cost accommodations. Local restaurants, galleries and attractions are less crowded and you can enjoy the “Mountain Cool” of the area.
Noted wild west outlaw Billy The Kid hung out in Lincoln County and there are many museums and displays depicting the times. Smokey Bear Park in Capitan is perfect for the youngsters and the young at heart. Particularly emotional, Smokey’s final resting spot is on the park grounds. Did you know that old Smokey is the only celebrity with his own US zip code? Several staff members answer thousands of letters yearly as the message of Wild Fire Safety continues.
Ruidoso is truly an artist’s community. Almost everyone, the guy at the convenience store, your waitress or the folks next door are aspiring artists. Ruidoso is alive with galleries containing every form of expression imaginable. At the very least plan on one of the rather unique carved bears…a Ruidoso signature!
Three casinos add the element of chance the year round. The Billy the Kid Casino, and two Mescalero Apache casinos will give ample opportunity to try your luck in search of the elusive “jackpot”.
If you like the excitement of a bustling resort community, by all means come in season! Ski Apache, at 12,000 feet, has the largest lift capacity in the state. More skiing…less waiting! Horse season has it’s own magic…with summer residents from all over the country. Naturally, lodging in Ruidoso books solidly for many prime weekends. Due to the laws of supply and demand, room rates rise during the “high season”. During many periods Ruidoso is booked solid, with many quite content to stay in adjacent communities as much as an hour away.
One of the more economical lodging alternatives are the area’s vacation rentals. Private owners place their cabins, condos and homes on the rental market when they are not occupying them. Units offer amenities not available in commercial accommodations…private hot tubs and pool tables only begin to scratch the surface. Due to the fluctuation in lodging rates they can be an economical and enchanting alternative for your stay. The key to staying in Ruidoso is….BOOK EARLY! It’s NEVER too early to plan that journey.
Ruidoso has a variety of lodging accommodations. The big chains are here…Motel 6, Hawthorn Suites, Comfort Inn and many more. After having traveled more than a few times on business, I’ve seen enough of the chains formula. It is clean, comfortable and predictable but then again that is what they want! For my money, locally owned and operated hotels, cabins and lodges add charm and intrigue to your stay. No two are the same and each has their own brand of amenities and environment. Let’s meet some of Ruidoso’s best!
The Village Lodge in an all suite facility. The entire lodge is non-smoking with one and two bedroom suites. Each suite has a kitchenette and fireplace with a shared hot tub and picnic area on the grounds. The Village Lodge is owned and operated by Charles and Jane who have a knack for making each and every stay enjoyable. The lodge is located at 1000 Mechem (Hwy 48) in Ruidoso.
Further north on Highway 48 is the Casa del Cocinero Bed and Breakfast. Translated from Spanish that would be “House of the Chef”. The inn is operated by Hal who happens to be quite a chef and one of the most accommodating men I’ve ever met. Breakfast is the event but other amenities including an in-room hot tub make the Casa del Cocinero one of the areas most rewarding “finds”.
The Sitzmark Chalet is a touch of old world Europe in the heart of the New Mexico Mountains. Your hosts, Todd and Lori have a small but extremely comfortable hotel. Located near the heart of Ruidoso on Sudderth Drive the Sitzmark has reasonably priced rooms, a hot tub and picnic area. Stop and say Hi! Todd and Lori will provide a generous dose of area hospitality.
Nestled in the heart of Ruidoso is the West Winds Lodge. Bob and Kristine will welcome you to a warm, inviting getaway complete with a hot tub and indoor swimming pool. The lodge is just a short walk from the restaurants, galleries and shops dotting the Ruidoso mid town area. A walk through the Porticos of the West Winds Lodge will create memories for a lifetime.
We’ve only just scratched the surface on planning your visit to Ruidoso. For more Ruidoso vacation information, try the official Ruidoso tourism website http://www.goruidoso.com