There is nothing like a hike to get some exercise and truly enjoy the natural beauty of the great outdoors during your Ruidoso, New Mexico vacations. Why sit on a stationary bicycle in a workout room, when you can take pleasure in every calorie that you burn, walking in the woods? Lincoln National Forest offers more than 50,000 acres of terrain that are designated as Wilderness Area. There is no mechanized equipment allowed of any kind, including mountain bikes. To explore this as any wilderness area you go by foot or on horseback. This preserves the peace and integrity of the environment. You will find over 200 miles of established trails in the immediate Ruidoso area, so there is plenty of choice and variety of difficulty.
Sometimes you just feel like getting out to stretch your legs without committing yourself to a long outing. Grindstone Lake just 2 miles from downtown offers a well established path around the lake, which is also a popular fishing spot. Keep your eyes tuned to the sky as it is not uncommon to spy osprey, golden eagles or even bald eagles doing some fishing of their own. Just a mile up Cedar Creek Drive the “spaghetti bowl” has its base at the picnic area. Many trails zigzag up the foothills in this location. The walking path around the Links Golf Course is paved and the most popular walking spot close to town.
Pack a knapsack with your basic needs and find dozens of routes for half day to even overnight hikes. Always bring an extra layer of clothing as temperatures vary with elevation and weather changes – a summer hail storm can cool things off over 30 degrees in a few minutes. Check in at the Smokey Bear Ranger Station on Mechem Drive for maps and information about current fire restrictions. The most popular trails are accessed from Hwy 532 to Ski Apache or off Hwy 37 from the road to Bonito Lake. You may stay along creeks under the tall pines in the canyons or find your way to over 21 miles of the famous Crest Trail on the spine of the Sacramento Mountains with spectacular panoramic views.