The favorite weekend getaway for my wife and I in the El Paso, Texas area is to take the two hour drive up to the lovely village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Ruidoso has long been a weekend getaway for us desert dwellers here in El Paso and for good reason because the place is a lush green alpine paradise with fresh air which are both hard to come by in El Paso.
Along Highway 70 to Ruidoso there is a historical marker that marks the location of the gunfight at Blazer’s Mill between Billy the Kid’s gang The Regulators and the buffalo hunter Buckshot Roberts:
Somewhere in these trees near the marker on private property is where Blazer’s Mill is located at where the infamous shootout occurred:
Just up from Blazer’s Mill, Highway 70 passes through the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. The capitol city of the reservation is the small town of Mescalero:
There really is nothing to see in the town other then this strikingly beautiful St. Joseph Mission just outside of town that is currently undergoing a restoration project:
Construction of the mission began in 1920, but wasn’t completed until 1939. The idea to build this church to service the Mescalero Apache Reservation was by Franciscan Friar Father Albert Braun who first traveled to the Apache reservation in 1916. His legacy of constructing this church continues today because this is easily the most striking structure to this day built in the Sacramento Mountains.
Just past Mescalero, there is a lookout along Highway 70 with a great view of the 11,993 foot Sierra Blanca Peak that is quite a site:
From the desert valley to the summit of Sierra Blanca is about a 8,000 foot difference, which is the greatest bottom to summit elevation difference on any mountain in all of New Mexico. Eventually highway 70 enters into Ruidoso where we turned left onto Sudderth Drive to reach the downtown area of the village:
The downtown area of Ruidoso sits at an elevation of 6,920 feet and is composed of mostly little shops and restaurants on each side of Sudderth Drive:
My wife and I have walked through these shops many times, but just about every time we drive up to Ruidoso we still enjoy walking up and down Sudderth Drive and checking out all these same shops:
There is one shop in particular that has an added attraction that draws in potential customers, which is the nest of birds that decided to make itself at home right near the entrance of the store:
Other stores rely on more traditional things to draw people in like carvings of giant Indians!:
The Rio Ruidoso that originates on the slopes of Sierra Blanca Peak is a beautiful creek that runs right through the center of town. A great place to view this creek is to drive up Sudderth Drive to the area known as the upper canyon where a number of nice homes and hotels are located along this beautiful little creek:
The village of Ruidoso takes its name from this creek, which means Noisy River in Spanish. The creek really isn’t noisier than any other creek I have seen, but considering that early Spanish explorers saw very little water in the surrounding deserts before coming upon this creek in the mountains; it probably did sound quite noisy. The water in the Rio Ruidoso though is extremely clean and I made sure to take a few drinks of the water:
Something else I like about Ruidoso is that you never know when you will run into some of the local wildlife that likes to wander around town from time to time:
Ruidoso as I mentioned before is well known for its alpine beauty, but something else that it is equally known for horse racing and gambling:
Just outside of town on the land of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation is the Ruidoso Downs horse racing track, which every year one of the biggest horse races in the entire country happens here:
Also on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation is the huge casino resort, Inn of the Mountain Gods that is located along a beautiful lake just outside of Ruidoso:
Since the lake is on the Indian reservation you don’t need a New Mexico state fishing license to fish here. Visitors can buy a much cheaper license to fish here from the resort:
Since the resort sits along the lake plenty of the local ducks like to wander around the grounds of the resort:
Like I said before Ruidoso is a great place to spend a weekend and we plan on heading back up there to do just that sometime next month when the weather is a little warmer so we can try and do a little fishing. I can’t wait.