Content Produced in Partnership with Discover Ruidoso

Home to Lincoln National Forest, the Capitan Mountains, and even Smokey the Bear (we’ll get to that soon), Ruidoso is a laid-back mountain town that’s full of adventures around every bend. Located in south central New Mexico, Ruidoso is within easy reach of some of the state's star attractions, including Carlsbad Caverns, Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge , and White Sands National Monument. Whether you’re seeking thrills or a quiet stay tucked in the woods, it’s pretty easy to fall in love with the outdoors while you’re here.

Get Lost in the Woods

Ruidoso is surrounded by millions of acres of national forest and protected wilderness land, and, as an added bonus, it’s also home to the original Smokey the Bear. Y’know, the one who taught you not to start forest fires? As the story goes, officials rescued a small bear cub from a tree in the Capitan Mountains after — you guessed it — a forest fire. Not long after, the lovable cartoon character became an instantly recognizable national symbol. The best way to show your support for Smokey’s cause is to head out for some hiking in the specially marked Smokey Bear Ranger District, where you’ll find several campsites, cabins, horseback riding, ATVs, and mountain biking. Make sure to grab a souvenir from the nearby gift shop and museum because you're experiencing part of American history.

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Create your own Walden

Henry David Thoreau escaped to New England for some quiet time beside Walden Pond, and new-age explorers can recreate their own version in this quiet corner of New Mexico. It all begins with a picturesque cabin in the woods. With names like Mountain Air and Whispering Pine, you’re sure to find one that offers incredible canyon views that’s just close enough to a Ruidoso River for some leisurely tubing and just far enough away from the rest of the world for the sweet escape you’ve been craving. Keep your eyes peeled for elk and deer ambling by who enjoy paying a visit to inspired vacationers.

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Chase the Night Sky

Whether you need an adrenaline rush flying through the trees via zip line or some R&R on horseback, Ruidoso will deliver. The entire area is sprawling with family-friendly outdoor activities that are most importantly, kid approved. Ski Apache is your base for fun year-round, but from late August through October, families can experience a Moonlight ZipTour over the mountain. Fueled by a country buffet and invigorated by a sunset gondola ride, the tour is sure to be the highlight of your vacation as you fly amongst the stars.