Days Trips in the Ruidoso Area
Billy The Kid Scenic Byway
This beautiful scenic byway through the Hondo Valley and along Hwy 380 has many different stops including The Hubbard Museum of the American West, The Billy the Kid Scenic Byway Visitor Center, Capitan, and Lincoln.
The Billy the Kid Byway Visitor Center is located next to the Hubbard Museum of the American West and is a good place to start your journey. Visitors can view the layout of the Byway inside the visitor center.
The Fort Stanton State Monument is a must-see attraction when visiting Lincoln County. Nestled on Highway 220 that bisects the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway, New Mexico’s newest State Monument features over 155 years of southwestern history.
Visit Fort Stanton in mid-July where the annual Fort Stanton Live! event brings costumed re-enactors from the Civil War and Indian War eras to the Fort for demonstrations, presentations, a candlelight tour, concert and a military ball which will have visitors dancing in to the night! This year, Fort Stanton Live! will be held July 12-14, 2013. Additionally, the event brings authors, historians, photographers, artists, and a variety of historical vendors to the site to share their work and crafts. Special tours of the WWII internment camp are also available – so that one can take a peek back at one of the most important chapters on world history. Local food vendors are on hand to provide sustenance for your day at the Fort as well, so bring a healthy appetite for knowledge, food and fun.
On the third full weekend of each month, the Living Historians of the Fort Stanton Garrison re-enact the pre-Civil War Company K, 8th US Infantry (1858). The soldiers set up camp at Fort Stanton on Friday evening, and on Saturday they present interactive historical interpretations 10 am – 4 pm.
Visitors will enjoy the regular morning drill exercises followed by a variety of military activities throughout the day. Guests could witness everything form musket firing to mounted saver drills to the roar of the artillery! Anyone interested in becoming a Living Historian is invited to join the drill at 8 am on Saturday.
Hubbard Museum of the American West is located on Hwy 70 next to the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and Billy the Kid Casino. This museum has a few permanent collections including the Anne Stradling Collection and a Native American Fine Art Collection. Call 575.378.4142.
The Hurd La Rinconada Gallery is located along the Byway at mile marker 281, on the family’s ranch in San Patricio in the beautiful Hondo Valley. Call 1.800.658.6912 for more information about their guest homes and hosting events.
The Hondo Iris Farm and Gallery is located on Hwy 70 at mile marker 284. During April, May, and part of June, the gardens are filled with hundreds of blooming iris. During the other summer months, lilies, poppies, wild flowers and other varieties of native plants are in full bloom. Bulbs are also for sale. The Iris Farm Gallery is next to the flower beds and features the art of Alice Seely. Call 575.653.4062 or go to www.aliceseely.com.
The historic town of Lincoln is located on Hwy 380, and if you blink, you might miss it. The whole town is part of an historic district. There are several buildings to tour including the old Lincoln County Courthouse. Call the Lincoln State Monument at 575.653.4372.
Capitan is located on Hwy 380 and has shopping, restaurants and scenic drives. Capitan is also home to the original Smokey Bear.
Smokey Bear Historical Park is located at the intersection of Hwy 380 and Hwy 48 in Capitan. This visitor center is run by the Forest Service and has an exhibit of displays that tells the story of Smokey Bear. It also includes exhibits of how the forest service fights fires and prevents them. Outside of the center are the original Smokey’s grave and a walking path. The Smokey Bear Gift Shop and Museum is next to the visitor center. Call Smokey Bear Historical Park, 575.354.2748.
At Fox Cave, you can shop inside a real cavern and there’s a surprise in every nook and cranny. Have you ever wanted to pan for gold? At Fox Cave, you can. History buffs can appreciate this gem of Lincoln County. Although Fox Cave was never actually Billy the Kid’s hideout, it is in “Billy the Kid Country.” Highway 70 cuts through areas in which Billy and his friends rode, slept, ate, and went to parties (not to mention had various shoot-outs during the Lincoln County War). Fox Cave is a fabulous place to enjoy a cold drink and marvel at the natural architecture of the cave and the area’s scenic mountains. Inside the cave’s enormous interior are hundreds of pieces of jewelry as well as aisles of rocks and crystals.
Fox Cave is open seven days a week. It is located on the edge of Highway 70 West and is clearly marked by roadside signs. For more information, please call 575.378.9954.
The Carrizozo Heritage Museum is located on 12th St. and shows Carrizozo’s railway history.
The Carrizozo Women’s Club on 11th Street is an outstanding example of Pueblo Revival Architecture built of adobe. The ceiling in the unique round room, which is completely freestanding, contains viga logs in an intricate wagon wheel pattern. Built in 1929 by the WPA, the building is one of the showplaces in Carrizozo and is included on the State and Federal Registers of historic buildings.
12th Street is home to most of the art galleries in Carrizozo.
Roy’s Gift Gallery and Soda Fountain on Main Street, Hwy 54, is on the New Mexico Register of Historic Buildings. It was originally a doctor’s office and is now a real old-fashioned soda fountain.
Three Rivers Petroglyphs is located on Hwy 54, about 30 miles South of Carrizozo. More than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs are scattered over 50 acres of New Mexico’s northern Chihuahuan Desert. For more information, call The Las Cruces BLM District Office at 575.525.4300.
The Trinity Site is where the first atomic bomb was detonated and is a National Historic Landmark. One entrance is on Hwy 380 West of Carrizozo. The other is near Alamogordo. The tours take place twice a year, the first Saturday in April and October. There is no charge. Call 800.826.0294 or 575.479.6124.
The Valley of the Fires is the youngest lava flow in the continental US and is located on Hwy 380, about 3 miles west of Carrizozo. There are picnic tables, RV and tent sites, and walking trails. Call the recreation area, 575.648.2241.
The beautiful little town of Cloudcroft is at about 9,000 feet and offers shopping, hiking trails, camping, mountain biking, Cloudcroft Ski Area and many other activities. Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce, 575.682.2733.
Spaceport America is located just west of the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in Sierra County, New Mexico. Approximately 55 miles north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Spaceport America is about 30 miles southeast of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and about 30 miles northeast of the village of Hatch, New Mexico.
Spaceport America is the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport designed to enable affordable, efficient and effective space access and unlock the potential of space for everyone. Spaceport America is home base for Virgin Galactic, expected to launch its first space tourism flights in 2014. While this is the “glamour” aspect of the Spaceport, a bigger focus of the facility is on research and development and educational launches. Tours of Spaceport America are available through Follow the Sun Tours; ftstours.com.
Alamogordo is about an hour south of Ruidoso on Hwy 70. It has the Alameda Park Zoo, the toy train depot also in Alameda Park, the New Mexico Museum of Space History, and an IMAX Theater. Call the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce at 1.800.826.0294.
White Sands is past Alamogordo on Hwy 70. Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders — the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dune field. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dune field, along with the plants and animals that live here. Call the White Sands Monument at 575.479.6124.
Carlsbad, NM is often the main point of entry for those visitors heading to Ruidoso from Texas. Although leaving from Ruidoso to Carlsbad is a long drive, near 2 and a half hours. There is either the opportunity to stop through Roswell on the way, at the excellent Roswell UFO Museum, before heading south on 285; or, stopping through Alamogordo would be the scene route, driving through the full bulk of Lincoln National Forest.
No matter which way you visit Carlsbad, there is plenty to do. For one, the renowned Carlsbad Caverns are a natural wonder of the world and a national park. Marvel in the alien like natural beauty of the caverns underground and experience several hundred thousand mexican free-tail bats. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens are off the beaten path, but just as memorable as the caverns. This is one of the few places in New Mexico where your family can see local wildlife in their natural habitat.