Looking for the best hiking trails in New Mexico? Mescalero Apache Reservation near Ruidoso, NM is home to many breathtaking natural wonders and outdoor exploring opportunities (it’s called the Land of Enchantment for nothing). And with over 100 hiking trails in the Mescalero and Ruidoso area, anyone looking to experience the great outdoors won’t have trouble finding a trail that fits their experience level. Best of all, Inn of the Mountain Gods is near some of the area’s most exhilarating hiking trails.
If you’re looking for a leisurely day hike or a challenging outdoor excursion, find out more about New Mexico’s best Mescalero and Ruidoso hiking trails below!
Hiking Trails in Lincoln National Forest
Lincoln National Forest offers over 100 hiking trails. Each trail has its own unique features and levels of difficulty from easier day hikes to advanced trails. The landscape of this National park includes rigid canyons, deserts, and heavily wooded forest areas that stretch from the Texas border to southern New Mexico. Lincoln National Forest is also home to a diverse range of flora and wildlife. Many hiking trails allow backpacking, mountain biking, and horseback riding throughout its wilderness. If you choose to go on a hike, remember to always:
- Check the weather – Stay aware of weather conditions and be ready if it changes (sun protection, rain gear, etc.).
- Stay hydrated – Bring plenty of water.
- Communicate – Always tell someone where you’re hiking and don’t go alone.
Some of the park’s most popular hiking trails include:
Grindstone Lake Loop
This 6.4-mile-long trail is located minutes outside of the Mescalero Apache Reservation near Ruidoso and offers breathtaking views of Grindstone Lake. The loop is open for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The Grindstone Lake Loop is a great trail for entry-level hikers, and perfect for a leisurely stroll.
Sierra Blanca at Ski Apache
Ascend Sierra Blanca in Mescalero, NM on one of these three trails:
- Crest Trail Head — 3 miles long and features advanced-level hiking activities
- Sierra Blanca Trail — 2.5 miles long and features moderate-level hiking activities
- Lookout Trail — 0.25 miles long from the gazebo to the lookout point near the peak of Sierra Blanca
Both the Crest Trail Head and Sierra Blanca Trail meet at the gazebo at an elevation of 11,500 ft near the peak of Sierra Blanca. From there, hikers can take the Lookout Trail to the lookout point for breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding forests, hills, and mountains. Hikers can enjoy day hiking and biking along the trails. A passenger gondola is also available for transportation up and down the mountain. Need a mountain bike? Inn of the Mountain Gods has rentals available.
Perk Ridge Trail
The Perk Ridge Trail extends 2.7 miles just west of Ruidoso and provides stunning views and plenty of opportunities to see New Mexico wildlife. The trail is great for moderate hikes, a step above trails like the Grindstone Lake Loop. The trail is open for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and motorcycle trail riding.
Dog Canyon Trail
Located south of Inn of the Mountain Gods is Dog Canyon Trail. Spanning 5.5 miles, hikers roam desert, canyon, and grassland along this advanced hiking trail. Beginning in Oliver Lee State Park, travelers can venture 2000 ft above the trail’s starting point. Steep drops, magnificent cliff faces, and outstanding views of Dog Canyon are present throughout the trail.
More Great Hiking Around The Inn Of The Mountain Gods
There are more amazing hikes in store for you in and around Mescalero, NM. AllTrails.com offers a full list of local trails, ratings and information.