A resort venue amid cool mountain beauty
Ruidoso-bound—long, lonely Texas miles eventually lead travelers nearly 600 miles northwest of Georgetown to timeless beauty, soaring pines, and crisp air. Rugged Sierra Blanca peers down from 12,000 feet, gleaming in sunshine, shrouded in clouds, or capped with snow. The town meanders through a valley cut eons ago by glaciers and streams; Ruidoso streets, with two major exceptions, reel crazily up and down. And Ruidoso breathes through the seasons, expanding and contracting with visitors and residents.
Summer weekends through Labor Day bring Quarter Horse races at Ruidoso Downs, where the season culminates with the All-American Futurity. If horse racing doesn’t suit, there’s hiking or camping in Lincoln National Forest, picnicking at Monjeau Lookout, fishing, horseback riding, or just lazing on a deck under impossibly clear skies. History lovers can venture to nearby Lincoln for reenactments of Billy the Kid’s final shootout with Pat Garrett or to peaceful Fort Stanton. Kids of all ages enjoy games, go-carts, and miniature golf at Funtrackers. Flying J hosts unique family entertainment throughout summer with dinner (amazing biscuits!), country music, and yodeling. High temperatures hover around the mid-eighties, and naptime beckons in mid-afternoon when clouds puff into brief showers. Living (for visitors, at least) is easy.
Winter changes the tempo. Fall festivals sustain Ruidoso as aspens turn to gold, but then, year-round residents burrow down until snow blankets the town. Sierra Blanca’s Ski Apache reigns as the southernmost U.S. ski resort, but no snow means no visitors and a precarious economy. Post-holiday crowds disappear, and weekdays slow to a crawl unless quiet snows reinvigorate the weekends. Then, skiers flock from Texas, Arizona, and Mexico; chimney smoke wafts from cozy cabins, and nights drop into the twenties and teens.
Year round, visitors enjoy local casinos like the well-known Inn of the Mountain Gods, operated by the Mescalero Apache. Downtown shops offer gemstone jewelry, chic styles, artwork, pottery, and leather goods. Chain-saw artists, prominently displayed throughout Ruidoso, tempt tourists to take home carved bears, eagles, moose, and totems.
Regardless of season, Mother Nature blesses Ruidoso. Wildlife abounds. Flop-eared mule deer, much larger than Texas varieties, appear on roadsides. Raccoons raid, chipmunks chirr, and ravens, woodpeckers, and mountain jays flit among the pines. Families return, sometimes generation after generation, to spend time at decades-old favorites like Casey’s Cabins and Whispering Pine Cabins. Ramshackle add-ons neighbor splendid structures bedecked with soaring windows.
The mountain stands guard over all.