Holiday Photo Ops in Ruidoso

Looking for an Instagram-worthy experience while you’re visiting the village? During the holidays, there’s a magical moment around every corner with sparking lights, annual traditions, and larger than life Christmas trees. Grab your cell phones and put on your best outfit, because here’s five picture-perfect things you can do to experience a merry and bright Christmas season in Ruidoso.

Sleigh Rides with Grindstone Stables

Oh what fun! From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, Grindstone Stables offers visitors enchanting rides in a horse drawn sleigh through historic Upper Canyon, complete with jingle bells, cozy blankets, and maybe even fresh snow! Rides are perfect for families, couples, or friends! Starting at 5:30 in the evening, each ride takes 30 minutes and departure times are 15 minutes apart.

While snow might not necessarily be covering the ground while you’re there, sleigh rides are always available due to hidden wheels that help the sleighs travel smoothly across the paths. Every sleigh ride includes blankets for all riders and a team or draft horses dressed in bells for an extra dose of Christmas magic.

Reservations are highly recommended for this popular seasonal experience. Visit the Grindstone Stables website to see pricing and available dates so you can book your sleigh ride. Call (575)257-2241 to book your spot.

Inn of the Mountain Gods Christmas Tree

The Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino is located on the Mescalero Apache reservation in beautiful Mescalero, NM. With the comforts and charm of an upscale resort, it’s no surprise that Christmas at Inn of the Mountain Gods is something you don’t want to miss. With beautiful snowy views and a massive, sparkling Christmas tree in Wendell’s lobby with floor to ceiling views of the lake and mountains outside, this is a can’t-miss photo op while you’re in Ruidoso! You won’t find a more festive scene than this!

Don’t miss the Christmas Tree Lighting the weekend after Thanksgiving, on Sunday, November 28th. This free event will feature hot chocolate stations, cookies, a Santa meet and greet, and a pop-up shop with Barnes and Noble before the main event – the tree lighting at 6:30 PM.

Whether you choose to stay at Inn of the Mountain Gods or just pay a visit to the scenic resort, we recommend looking to see if there are any special events or shows happening. Also, make sure you grab a bite at Wendell’s or Broken Arrow Tap House for a special dinner out while you’re at Inn of the Mountain Gods this holiday season.

Snow at Ski Apache

If you’ve been to Ruidoso, you know you can actually ski in the desert! As the Southernmost Ski Resort in the country (and the only New Mexico ski resort run by a Native American Tribe – fun fact!) Ski Apache boasts pleasant winter weather and a great terrain. You can also see White Sands from the top!

Ski Apache is a great option for skiing and snowboarding, especially since it’s only a few hours from El Paso, Lubbock, and Santa Fe. Texans especially love to escape to Ruidoso to see snow and hit the slopes, making Ski Apache the perfect place to snap a winter selfie and show off the snowy landscape! The snow season typically starts in November and runs through April.

With great, warm weather to ski or snowboard in and New Mexico’s classic blue skies, Ski Apache is beautiful and worth visiting for those perfect Instagram feed pics! As a bonus, Ski Apache also hosts several special events throughout the season, so remember to check out their website to find out what’s happening during your travels.

Advance reservations are required for anyone looking to enjoy Ski Apache’s recreational activities, so book early to ensure you get the times and dates you want.

Cutting a Christmas Tree at Lincoln National Forest

Cutting down your own Christmas tree each year is a beloved tradition for many families. The Lincoln National Forest sells permits allowing individuals to chop down their own tree starting November 15th. These $10 permits, plus a small processing fee, are required if you’re planning on getting a live tree from the forest this holiday season. Make sure to check their website for rules and regulations if you’re planning on participating in this tradition.

Since there’s nothing that says “Christmas” more than an evergreen tree, you’ll want to bring your camera for this family-friendly activity! The Lincoln National Forest is beautiful year-round, but is especially so during the winter, ensuring you’ll be able to snap the perfect picture for this year’s holiday card! Consider bringing a tripod, along with the tools you’ll need to cut down your tree, of course, to get that Instagram worthy photo.

Festival of Lights Parade

If you plan for nothing else this season, don’t miss Ruidoso’s annual Festival of Lights Parade. A beloved local tradition that lights up the December night with Christmas spirit, enchanting twinkle lights, and a parade perfect for the whole family to enjoy, Ruidoso sure knows how to put on a show. Scheduled for Saturday, December 4, 2021, this year’s theme is Christmas in Wonderland. The Festival of Lights Parade starts at 5:30 pm at the corner of Mechem and Sudderth Drives and proceeds through Midtown to the Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce. 

Don’t leave after the parade concludes! The excitement continues with an afterparty at Wingfield Park! There will be firepits, refreshments, a movie playing on the big screen for the kids, and a cash bar for the adults. This is a free event and open to the public.

The highly anticipated holiday event brings in guests from around the region, and for good reason! The beautiful mountain scenery coupled with the festive events of the evening is a recipe for a magical night. If you’re looking for an Instagrammable event to capture the feeling of the season, you’ve found it in Ruidoso’s Festival of Lights.

Get set for the holidays with the help of Visit Ruidoso!

There’s plenty more exciting holiday activities around Ruidoso! Check out our calendar events to learn more details about upcoming events, including Christmas in the Park, the Trail of Lights, and The Nutcracker Ballet, to name a few. We look forward to welcoming you to town this Christmas season.

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