The forests around Ruidoso offer a variety of outdoor experiences.
The White Mountain Wilderness Area is located in the Sacramento Mountains near Ruidoso, NM. The Wilderness Area comprises almost 50,000 acres within the Lincoln National Forest.
The White Mountain Wilderness was created and granted permanent protection through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Under the Wilderness Act, the land is removed from any exploitation consideration, such as mining or logging. The Wilderness management scheme prohibits all types of motorized and mechanical travel, including bicycles. Travel is by foot or horseback, only. In addition, all types of motorized equipment such as chain saws and generators are prohibited as well. The Wilderness Act states that the land will be maintained and managed in a 'primitive' state.
The White Mountain Wilderness is comprised of a north-south trending ridge and canyon system, that forms the divide of the Sacramento Mountains. The eastern side of the range provides the primary access points and is characterized by moderate-sloped, forested canyons and small streams. The more remote western side of the range has rough, steep, rocky canyons with little water. These trails are poorly defined in places and receive little use.
The White Mountain Wilderness Area has a well-developed system of Trailheads and trails. The number and distribution of trails provide an almost infinite number of hiking options for everyone. Novices to experts can find hiking opportunities to fulfill their desires.
The hiking trails are organized by Trailhead. Each trail or trail segment that can be reasonably accessed from each Trailhead is discussed to allow hikers multiple hiking options. Loop hiking opportunities tend to be longer hikes more suited to intermediate-level hikers. Novices will find great hiking opportunities by sticking to trails closer to the Trailheads.
More Hiking in Ruidoso Information:
With great hiking trails, undoubtedly comes fantastic camping grounds to spend a night under the stars. A more and extensive guide on camping locations check out our page on Camping in the Lincoln National Forest.
Hiking Basics - Essential equipment and information needed by everyone who decides to hike these wilderness trails.
The FREE Ruidoso Area Hiking Trail Map and Walking Trail Guide are available at
Ruidoso Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center
Ruidoso NM, 88345