Water! It's Really Water!!
If you find yourself in the Ruidoso area, and grow tired of the intensive shopping, you might enjoy slipping out of the Village and around to the local lake. It is a short loop walk around this pond, but fortunately from either end of the lake you access extensive routes and trails that can offer a much more adventurous trek.
There is a nice view of Sierra Blanca Peak from the hillside just above the lake. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your priorities, if you glance behind you or to the side, or even down the hill, you will be looking at some aspect of the developments of The Inn of the Mountain Gods. Mescalero lake is on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation.
There is always some question about whether or not you should go wandering around on Reservation property. Since the lake is an immediate part of the Casino/Hotel development, that is not an issue here. In fact, when I asked about hiking in the area I was assured by the Hotel personnel that it is fine to hike on Reservation property.
If you are in doubt about that, and want to score a longer hike...simply hike off and away from the east end of the lake. The Resort is built directly adjacent to National Forest Land... as you walk away from the lake you walk over and into the Lincoln National Forest. There are old forest roads and official trails starting down off that end of the lake.
On the upper end of the lake, forest roads also take off...and head up to connect with ever more adventure. You could hike your way to the 12,000' peak, Sierra Blanca. That is all on the Indian Reservation. I think it might be prudent to check in with the Tribal Police if you decide to head that direction from the Resort. Just let them know where you are going.
Now, after your hike, be it short or long, there are the joys of the Inn to experience.
Some folks travel up just for the huge Buffet... not cheap but impressive.
There is that gambling thing available. There are special events to check out. There is the great lounge setting: drop down and sit by the fire with a good book. And... Free Wi-Fi!!! Check with the Resort to find out what is currently available in the area.
Now... if you are in Alamogordo, and want to save some pennies, take advantage of the Z-Trans Shuttle departing on the 1.5 hour from 6am to 6pm. It loads up out at the White Sands Mall. For a single dollar, fifty cents if you're old like me, you get the 1.5 hour ride up the hill. You'll have to pay again if you want to ride down the hill, but hey, bring along your bike and coast back to town!
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.