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Living a Mountain Lifestyle in Ruidoso, New_Mexico

Ruidoso, located in south-central New Mexico, is a mountain resort and one of the fastest growing towns in New Mexico. Its population of just under 10,000 (more than double that number live in the surrounding area) grew 18% from 2000 to 2008. ENMU Ruidoso Campus is a two-year community college here. Major development projects in Ruidoso include large housing subdivisions, condos, and retail establishments. There is good skiing nearby at Ski Apache. Ruidoso Downs is a suburb and home to Ruidoso Downs (flat) horse racing track, the Billy the Kid Casino, and the Hubbard Museum of the American West. Ruidoso gets its name from the creek running through town, Rio Ruidoso (noisy river).

Photo of downtown Ruidoso courtesy of Wikipedia and Dennis Adams.

Where to Retire in Ruidoso and Home Prices

There are a number of new developments suitable for 55+ residents in the area (see link at top left). Some people opt to live in cabins or small houses in the surrounding mountains.  Small cabins are available in the low $100's. Luxury homes on bigger lots go for much more.  According to Zillow, the median home value was $259,948 in early 2022.

What Is Special about Ruidoso

Ruidoso is a mountain resort town with great alpine scenery and recreation;  Its altitude (6920') means very pleasant temperatures in summer;  It is fast growing and has many different places to live;  Ruidoso Downs and Ski Apache; Lower than average cost  of living. Ruidoso is a very walkable town.

What Is Not Special about Ruidoso

As in rapidly developing town growth can get out of hand. There is concern about the future water supply. It is also quite remote. Forest fires and floods are a concern in some areas.

Climate and Physical Environment

Ruidoso lies in the rugged Sierra Blanca mountain range of south-central New Mexico, where it merges with the Sacramento Mountains to the south. Winters are cool with the average Jan. daily temperatures are in the 30's (F.).  The area experienced flash flooding in 2008.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There are several western theme museums in nearby Ruidoso Downs. Ruidoso has several art galleries. The Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts is a top-notch facility with more than 500 seat capacity. There are numerous festivals such as the Smokey Bear Stampede throughout the year. It has some interesting shops. The Inn of the Mountain Gods Hotel, Casino, and Resort offers dining, gambling, entertainment, and recreation.  Horse racing is available in Ruidoso. Continuing education is available at the branch of the Eastern NMU Community College.


The crime rate is below the U.S. average.

Medical Facilities

Ruidoso is served by the 25 bed Lincoln County Medical Center.


Sierra Blanca Regional Airport located about 15 miles northwest of Ruidoso. When compared to other communities, Ruidoso is a very walkable community.

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