Ruidoso, nestled within the heart of the Sierra Blanca range, is a sanctuary for those who yearn to connect with nature on a more personal level. With its diverse landscapes, ranging from whispering pine forests to majestic mountain peaks, Ruidoso offers a myriad of trails perfect for beginners eager to explore the great outdoors. This guide is designed to help you prepare for and fully enjoy your day hiking adventures in Ruidoso.


Getting Started: What You Need to Know

Before you lace up your hiking boots, there are a few key things to consider ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Choose the Right Trail: Start with trails that match your fitness level. In Ruidoso, options like the Grindstone Lake Trail or the Cedar Creek Trails (conveniently located just across the street from Innsbrook) are perfect for beginners, offering manageable distances and moderate elevations.
  • Check the Weather: Weather in the mountains can change rapidly. Check the forecast to avoid any surprises and to dress appropriately.


Essential Gear for Day Hiking

Packing light but smart can make your hike more enjoyable. Here’s what you should bring:

  • Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good support and traction.
  • Backpack: A comfortable, lightweight backpack is essential to carry your gear.
  • Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated and energized. Bring more water than you think you’ll need and healthy snacks like trail mix or energy bars.
  • Navigation Tools: A map and compass or a GPS app on your phone (make sure it works offline). Alltrails is a great app for this, and also allows you to browse local trails with suitable difficulty ratings.
  • Extra Clothing: Layers are key. Include an extra layer in case it gets cold and a rain jacket for unexpected showers.
  • First Aid Kit: Always carry a basic first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic, and any personal medications.
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses are must-haves, even in cooler weather.


For new hikers, we recommend you visit a store in person, like REI if there is one local to you, or Happy Hiker here in Ruidoso. Having knowledgeable staff to help you make the right decisions for your first set of gear will pay off big time on the trail!


On the Trail: Tips for a Successful Hike

  • Start Early: Starting your hike early not only helps you avoid the heat of the day but also gives you more time to enjoy the trail at a leisurely pace.
  • Stay on the Trail: Protect the natural habitat and yourself by staying on marked trails.
  • Pace Yourself: Take your time and set a comfortable pace. Remember, hiking is about the journey, not just the destination.
  • Hydrate and Snack: Drink water regularly and snack on energy-boosting foods to keep your energy up throughout the hike.


Leave No Trace

Respecting the environment is crucial. Follow the Leave No Trace principles by packing out all your trash, leaving what you find, and minimizing campfire impacts.


After the Hike

  • Cool Down: Do some light stretching after your hike to help your muscles recover.
  • Review: Think about what went well and what you could improve for next time. Did you pack something you didn’t need, or did you wish for something you didn’t have?


The Trail Starts Here

Day hiking in Ruidoso is not just an activity; it’s an experience that can refresh the soul, challenge the body, and broaden the horizons of anyone willing to step onto the trail. Each path leads not only through the heart of the Sierra Blanca mountain range but also to a deeper connection with the natural world. 


Innsbrook’s convenient location makes getting to nearly any trail easy and returning a treat! So grab your gear, choose your trail, and immerse yourself in the transformative beauty of Ruidoso’s landscapes. Happy hiking!