Drive the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway

Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway is a stretch of highway that connects some of the area’s most phenomenal art galleries, historic sites, museums, and scenery. The trail pays tribute to its namesake, famous Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid, and other iconic figures of the area, including everyone’s favorite forest ranger, Smokey Bear. The trail was designated in June of 1998 and measures 84 miles long. Explorers can expect to spend 2+ hours touring the many sites along the way.

Lincoln Historic Site Museums

Lincoln, NM | Website Link

Lincoln County Courthouse at Lincoln Historic Site

Lincoln is the site of the infamous Lincoln County War, otherwise known as the last great shootout of the Old West. Billy the Kid was famously jailed at the Lincoln County Courthouse before making a daring escape and killing two deputies on the way out. The historic town also hosts special events during the year, including Old Lincoln Days in August.

This historic site is a community frozen in time as if it were still in the 1870s and 1880s. During your visit, you will experience Old Lincoln County Courthouse, Dr. Woods’ House, Tunstall Store Museum, The San Juan Mission Church, El Torreon (a defensive tower), the Convento, Montano Store, and the Anderson-Freeman Visitor’s Center & Museum.

Fort Stanton Historic Site

Fort Stanton, NM | Website Link

Period actors at Fort Stanton LIVE!

Located about 25 miles from Ruidoso on the way to Lincoln, Fort Stanton is a historic military fort where the Ninth Calvary’s “Buffalo Soldiers” were stationed in the 1860s. After the Army Post closed, it was used as a hospital, school, and correctional facility. It was designated as a State Monument in 2007.

The historic site is made up of 88 buildings, some that date back to 1855. Take a self-guided tour around the fort and experience the past as if it was present.

Smokey Bear Historical Park

Capitan, NM | Website Link

Smokey’s final resting place at the Smokey Bear Historical Park

Smokey Bear Historical Park has everything you ever wanted to know about the famous bear! Smokey’s story began in May 1950 when forest fires destroyed over 17,000 acres of forest and grasslands in Lincoln National Forest. Fire crews found a frightened bear cub clinging to life on the side of a burnt pine tree, and because of the burns, was named “Smokey Bear.” Soon, Smokey was flown to Washington D.C. and became a national icon after being presented to schools across the nation along with the slogan “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires!”

See the legacy of the longest running advertising campaign in U.S. history and Smokey’s story at the historical park, including his final resting place. Kids can even become official junior rangers at the park! Although the town is made up of only 1,500 residents, Capitan protects Smokey’s history and has a museum and gift shop for visitors to enjoy as well.

Billy the Kid Visitor Center

Ruidoso Downs, NM | Website Link

Learn more about the stories that make the area encompassing Billy the Kid Scenic Byway so historical at the visitor center. Walk through the exhibits to immerse yourself in the area’s history and plan your next stops along the way.

Spencer Theater of the Performing Arts

Alto, NM | Website Link

Spencer Theater

You will not want to miss the sheer beauty of Spencer Theater. One of the area’s most impressive sights, the seven-story landmark architecture of Antione Predock and the surrounding landscape is worth stopping for. You won’t believe the photo ops!

Spencer Theater has been bringing world class performances to the area since it’s opening in 1997. Visitors will be astounded by the grand performance hall with phenomenal acoustics and intimate seating that draws guests into each show. The venue hosts performances year round, including live music and theater productions, and also features hand-blown glass creations by Dale Chihuly. Public tours are available to be scheduled by calling (575) 336-4800.

Ruidoso Downs Race Track

Ruidoso Downs, NM | Visit Website

All American Futurity and Derby
Race Day at Ruidoso Downs Race Track

Ruidoso Downs Race Track welcomes a quarter-million tourists and racing fans every season. Each season runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day and horses race Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each week. Ruidoso Downs is known for its Quarter Horse Triple Crown series that concludes with the $3 million All American Futurity, known as the World’s richest quarter horse race. General admission to the races is free and families are encouraged to attend!

Ruidoso Downs Race Track also includes Billy the Kid Casino and the new Santa Fe Furniture Events Center, where festivals and special events are held year-round. Visitors can catch concerts during the summer and headliner events like All American Cowboyfest each October. There’s always something going on in Ruidoso Downs!

Fox Cave

Glencoe, NM | Visit Facebook Page

Fox Cave

Known as a hideout location of Billy the Kid, this amusing and peculiar place has exhibits with several different themes, including aliens, dinosaurs, gems, and more. It’s in a literal hole in the wall of a cave!

Hurd La Rinconada Gallery

San Patricio, NM | Visit Website

Hurd La Rinconada Gallery

Located in the scenic river valley, San Patricio is home to Hurd La Rinconada Gallery. The original home of artists Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth-Hurd, and their son, Michael Hurd, the family’s ranch is now an impressive art gallery featuring the work of three generations of artists.

While you’re visiting, you’ll also find Sentinel Ranch Winery where fine wine and good food await in a serene atmosphere. The property also includes guest home rentals for travelers looking for a unique and beautiful place to stay. Guests will love spending their time enjoying the view overlooking the pastures and hills made iconic by Peter Hurd’s paintings.

Flying J Ranch

Alto, NM | Visit Website

Entrance to Flying J Ranch

At Flying J Ranch, you will get a taste and feel of the Old West. Enjoy a real chuckwagon dinner, a shootout re-enactment, and lots of fun activities. There’s also a special show with banjos, fiddles, and yodelers after dinner.

This attraction is perfect for the whole family! Shows run all summer long. Get there early to explore Bonita City, shop the general store, watch the performances, and settle in for dinner. Flying J Ranch also puts on special shows throughout the year, including White Mountain Christmas every holiday season.