Spending a single day in Ruidoso is like eating a single potato chip — it leaves you wanting more! So, let’s assume you are just passing through and arrived at your lodging late the evening before. With just one day to take in the mountains, hiking trails, vistas, shopping, food, brew pubs, wineries, and many other attractions, you have a challenge before you that requires a plan and an early start.
If you are a fitness buff, you may want to get up with the sun. Go to Cedar Creek Recreation Area just off Mechem Drive to take the T90 Fitness Trail. The trail extends for just over a mile with exercise stations along the way.
Head out the door to grab breakfast. Choose an eatery that has a pleasant patio so you can take in the crisp morning air and the view as you stoke up for the day or get something to go for the trail.
For authentic New Mexican food, stop at Pena’s Place on Sudderth for huevos rancheros on the patio or get a breakfast burrito to go.
Lace up your tennis shoes for exploring during the early part of the day. Drive up to Ski Apache to play on their trails or ride a gondola to the top of the peak. If you don’t want to drive that far, walk the winding and shaded Ruidoso River Trail in Two Rivers Park, located behind the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center at 729 Sudderth Dr.
No matter which trail you choose, you may come across elk, deer, wild horses — and possibly a bear — as you explore. Stop a moment to take in the beauty and listen to the chatter of the acorn woodpecker, Steller’s jay, and the distant sound of a hawk’s call as it soars on the air currents.
Plan to stop for an energizing coffee, hot chocolate, and perhaps a pastry. If you are returning from Ski Apache, you’ll pass Zocca Coffee & Tea in a small strip mall on Mechem Drive. Pick up a drink and a pastry, if any are left. If you are returning from Ruidoso River Trail, stop into the Cornerstone Bakery for a light bite.
Visit The Adobe Gallery on Sudderth near Upper Canyon. Check your credit card limit if you can’t resist the temptation to take home some Southwest jewelry, art, or sparkling gemstones!
Time to stop for lunch. Definitely plan for a hearty lunch sometime before 2 p.m., as many of the restaurants close early.
The Village Buttery may have a line out the door for their soup, salads, and sandwiches, but it moves quickly. Try the lavender iced tea and don’t skip dessert. Buttermilk pie is a favorite.
Ruidoso is known for its many small boutiques and galleries, which line both sides of Sudderth Drive. Depending on your interests and pocketbook, wander through the clothing stores, visit the Happy Hiker, or make a point of visiting the consignment and resale stores.
Time to slow down and rest your throbbing feet! Plonk down in a comfortable chair at Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden for happy hour and a locally brewed libation. The options for budget-friendly evening meals are a bit limited, except on weekends.
However, if you want to splurge, there are several steak houses or go for Italian food at Michael J’s. You may decide to segue into dinner at a brew pub or choose a light repast, such as a cheese platter or the comfort food at Donnie’s Pit Stop Grill. Or celebrate with a night out at Inn of the Mountain Gods for gambling, music, and cocktails.
Back at your lodging, take a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate — or some local wine! — outside to enjoy under the stars. When you can’t keep your eyes open any longer, crawl into bed and let the night sounds of the forest lull you to sleep.
Story and photos by Jackye Meinecke
Posted by Ruidoso.com