Ruidoso is a village in Lincoln County, New Mexico, United States, adjacent to the Lincoln National Forest. The population was 8,029 at the 2010 census. The city of Ruidoso Downs and the unincorporated area of Alto are suburbs of Ruidoso, and contribute to the Ruidoso Micropolitian Statistical Area's population of 21,223.
A mountain resort town, Ruidoso lies in the Sierra Blanca mountain range of south-central New Mexico, where it merges with the Sacramento Mountains to the south. Ruidoso is a resort community close to the slopes of Ski Apache, the Mescalero Apache Tribe-owned ski resort on Sierra Blanca, a 12,000-foot (3,700 m) mountain. The tribe also operates the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort in the area, which includes a casino, hotel, arcade room and golf course. Ruidoso is the largest community in Lincoln County, and serves as the regional economic hub.
For a time, Ruidoso was the fourth-fastest growing city in New Mexico, after Albuquerque, Reo Rancho, and Los Cruces. Massive investment poured into the town from many developers. Major projects including large housing subdivisions, condos, and retail establishments have altered the face of the once "sleepy mountain community". As a result, the village is contending with serious questions about the adequacy of the local water supply and zoning enforcement. Like many small communities that have been recently "discovered", there is an ongoing debate about how best to plan for additional growth.
The village received its name from the Rio Ruidoso (Spanish for "Noisy River"), a small stream that weaves through the city.