Outdoors or indoors, here’s our list of five free things to do in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Learn about where to go birding, what museums and historic sites to visit, which trails to hike and scenic drives to take and how to visit the White Oaks Ghost Town.

  1. Birding – Some magnificent species of birds can be found in Lincoln County, even in the winter! Mescalero Lake is best for wintering ducks. In the winter expect to see Common Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Canvasbacks and Northern Shovelers among others. This is also the prime winter location for Bald Eagles in southern Lincoln County. For more information and to learn about birding in spring, summer and fall, visit Lincolncountybirdclub.com.
  2. Fort Stanton Historic Site & Museum – Named for Captain Henry W. Stanton, the Fort was established in 1855 and operated as a military fortification through 1896. The Fort Stanton Historic Site is a must-see attraction when visiting Lincoln County.  Nestled on Highway 220 that bisects the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway, New Mexico’s newest historic site features more than 155 years of southwestern history ranging from its initial creation as a military garrison to its significance as the first tuberculosis hospital in the state, to an internment camp for German seaman during World War II. The museum is open seven days a week and admission is free. For more information about Fort Stanton, visit fortstanton.org
  3. Hiking – The Lincoln National Forest has a developed and maintained trial system with more than 50 miles of trails within the wilderness. For more information visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/r3
  4. Scenic Drives – Windy Point: Take the scenic drive up Ski Run Road on Hwy 532, approximately 9 miles to this scenic lookout with breathtaking views. Hondo Valley: This is part of the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway and has beautiful foliage in the fall. Bonito Lake: Wonderful views and close to great hiking. Camelot Mountain: On Crown Drive in Ruidoso with stunning views of Ruidoso. Nogal Canyon: especially scenic during the fall with the beautiful foliage.
  5. White Oaks Ghost Town – Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett rode the streets of White Oaks back in the late 1800’s when White Oaks was a booming gold mining town. While you’re there, stop by the No Scum Allowed Saloon for a cold beverage.