Horseback Riding In Ruidoso – Locations And Trails 

Horseback riding in Ruidoso dates back centuries. Despite being a less common method of transportation nowadays, the tradition of riding is still fresh.

It’s accessible through private stables and many public-use trails. Ruidoso might be more known as a skier’s paradise, but the quaint village town is filled with natural beauty. 

Its location makes for the perfect getaway for nature lovers. Thanks to the difference in elevation range, ranging from 2100 to 11,580 feet.

Are you planning for a week away from all the city noise? Thus, if you are looking for a haven where you can unwind on a horse-drawn carriage or a self-guided ride, Lincoln National Forest is the place.

Please read below to find out what the home of the Smokey Bear has to offer both its residents and out-of-town guests.

Grindstone Stables 

Grindstone Stables is one of the oldest stables in the Ruidoso area. The stables offer everything from guided trail rides to epic winter wonderland sleigh rides.

Whether you’re a beginner rider or one with experience and looking for a slow-paced (1 hour) ride that takes you past Grindstone Lake, winding down to the top of Townsend ridge.

There’s no better way to experience all that Ruidoso has to offer.

The 1-hour ride is perfect for kids aged five and older and is charged at $50 per horse.

For younger cowpoxes who are still looking to experience the magic of riding, the stables offer pony rides through the Pony Ring.

This stable has a mom-and-pop feeling from the well-mannered horses to the wranglers while maintaining superior services and hospitality.

Before rides head out, the wranglers ensure proper instruction on saddling and the proper rein holding technique. 

Every rider has been matched with a horse according to weight, height, and riding ability.

For families and people who enjoy the magic of horse-driven carriages, you can enjoy the cool mountain air and views of the rolling mountains as a pair of horses pulls your carriage through the snow in the Upper Canyon.

Sleigh rides are $30 for adults and $15 for kids under 12. In addition, enjoy mid-town carriage rides during summer.

This horse-drawn carriage ride takes you through the shopping district of Ruidoso. It charged $30 for adults and $15 for kids aged 12 and below.


  • Reservations are recommended.
  • A weight limit of 250 lbs is enforced 
  • You require a credit card for the reservation 
  • No double riding is allowed 


Address: 523 Resort Dr. Ruidoso, NM 88345

Phone: (575)257-2241


Inn Of The Mountain Gods 

Enjoy creating the wild west feeling as soon as you step on Inn Of The Mountains Gods Resort and Casino.

Located on the Mescalero Apache reservation, Inn of the Mountain Gods caters to all, from the golfer looking to perfect her swing to the horseback rider. 

Whether your first time on a horse or your 31st time, the staff ensures the highest level of safety and fun are employed.

The ride starts at the stables south of the resort and takes you down the golf course and to Mescalero Lake, giving you breathtaking views throughout the journey.

If you are not in awe of the scenery, you will most certainly be in love with your horse partner as you take on the trails.

Thanks to the rolling hills and incredible views, you will be beaming when you feel the sense of calm wonder take over.

Other activities include 

  • Zip line rides 
  • Boating
  • Biking 
  • Big game hunting
  • Fishing

Rides cost $40 per hour and leave at 9 am,11 am 1 pm, and 3 pm daily.


  • For safety reasons, riders are limited to 1 family (maximum of five people ) per ride.
  • Guests must wear a face mask and keep social distance whenever possible. 
  • The resort is popular. It’s best to call ahead to check for availability and scheduling.

Horseback Riding Trails 

It’s, in fact, not a secret that nature heals. Whether you are hiking, biking on your motorized vehicle, or, best of all, on horseback, Ruidoso provides many opportunities to travel on your horse and explore all that is Lincoln National forest. 

Before you can head down, here are a few tips that might come in handy

  • Most of these trails are used by hikers, bikers, and other riders, be mindful of other people and plan accordingly.
  • Some of these trails are home to wild animals, i.e., bobcats. Always be alert 
  • Check the prevailing conditions, the park opening times 
  • Gear up. Bring a helmet, a first aid kit for you and your horse, and the appropriate clothing
  • Condition your horse correctly before the trail 
  • Check for fire restrictions on the website, Facebook, or the town billboards.


Address: 287 Carrizo Canyon Road, Mescalero, New Mexico 88340

Phone: 575-464-7424

The Trails

Grindstone Mesa Loop 

One of a series of trails within the Lincoln National Forest with a view of Grindstone Lake, this trail is a 3.3-mile loop that is moderately easy and is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.


  • You can only reach the trail through a series of courses: Grindstone Ridge and Alfred Hale Connector. 
  • The trail is well marked 
  • Moderately rocky at some points 
  • Single track
  • The loop is an active logging area
  • Managed by USFS – Lincoln National Forest Office

Anderson Canyon Trail 

Located within Lincoln National Forest, you are provided with 1.3 miles of temperate forest.

The trail is perfect for anyone from a beginner to a more experienced rider, thanks to the 2000-foot elevation. The trail is also open to hikers. However, motorized vehicles aren’t allowed.

The Forest Service manages this trail. 

Camp Wilderness Ridge Trail

This 1.8-mile-long Camp Wilderness Ridge Trail goes from the forest road into the Guadalupe National Forest.

The trail is open to both horseback riders and hikers. It is open during January and is operated by the Forest Service. 

Grindstone Lake Loop 

Offering unobstructed views of Grindstone Lake, the Grindstone Lake Loop (5 minutes from Ruidoso) is a 10.8 Km lake loop that is a sight to behold.

Rated as moderately challenging, it takes approximately 2 hours and 46 minutes to complete for hikers. The trailhead at the back of the parking lot is primarily flat with smooth dirt.


  • The trail is well maintained and well marked. 
  • Features a few inclines, several switchbacks, and a few manageable climbs 
  • You may encounter some wildlife on the trail, mule deer, elk, bobcats, birds, and wild horses. 
  • Pet friendly, pets must be on a leash. 
  • The trail can get a bit muddy after a snow melt and dusty/windy.
  • A daily parking fee of $10 per car is required. 

Note: Always check the signs at the trail heads for the conditions 

Land manager: USFS – Lincoln National Forest Office 

Willie White And Wills Canyon Loop 

A moderately challenging trail, prepare to indulge in incredible views of the meadow, distant hills, and streams.


  • Numerous wildlife sightings.
  • The trail is 10 – 13 miles long 
  • Duration, 6 hours 
  • The terrain is rocky, so come prepared with the correct footwear 
  • Challenging incline, 2000 feet elevation 
  • Dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas 
  • Motorized vehicles are permitted, so be advised and on the lookout 
  • It has several water features, including Bluff Springs Waterfall, Rio Penasco river 

Perk Ridge Trail 

Considered a moderately challenging route, the Perk Ridge Trail is an 8.7 km loop trail with a lot of greenery and deep forests.


  • Pet friendly, dogs are welcome and can be off-leash in some areas 
  • The trail is kid-friendly 
  • Clear and well-marked 
  • Long incline and a high elevation gain
  • Parking at the trailhead
  • Open season is during January 
  • Managed by Forest service 

Dog Canyon Trail 

Dog Canyon Trail is a 5.5 miles long trail starting at Oliver Lee State Park and ending at Forest Road. This trail takes over 2000 feet, passing through the desert.


  • 16.6 km out and back trail 
  • Dogs are welcome but must be leashed 
  • Duration, 6 hours 44 minutes 
  • This trail is designated for more experienced hikers and is open for horseback riding, backpacking, and hiking.
  • No mountain bikes. However, motorized vehicles are allowed.
  • Operated by Forest Service  

Fort Stanton Equestrian Trailhead 

Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Fort Stanton Recreation Area has over 90 miles of trails that meander through meadows and canyons that are sometimes filled with blooming wildflowers.

Numerous trails lead from the trailhead and offer great views of Lincoln National Forest.


  • It has an elevation of 6220 feet 
  • Open all year 


Address: Capitan, NM, United States, 88316

Phone: (575) 627-0272


Ruidoso is the perfect vacation spot for families and those looking to explore New Mexico. The abundance of trails and different activities are available at every turn. In addition, the rich history caters to everyone. 

Not only will this be an incredible time that you will remember for years to come, but you will finally see Ruidoso, the best way possible, on horseback, and you might spot a few herds of wild horses.