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Billy the Kid Trail MapOverview

 Billy the Kid Trail Scenic byway loops through the beautiful scenery of Lincoln National Forest, the Ruidoso River, and the Sierra Blancas, giving travelers stunning views of green pine forests, grassy plains, snow-capped peaks, and blooming wildflowers at the banks of a river. Recreation is abundant alongside the famous western attractions, whether it is simply driving or hiking, fishing, biking, or horseback riding.

 84 miles / 135.2 km loop, Ruidoso to Hondo

 Key Attractions

  • Billy the Kid Visitor Center – located at 791 Hwy-70 West in Ruidoso Downs – visitor information (visitors can also call 575-378-5318 for information)

  • Ruidoso River and Sierra Blanca Mountains – beautiful during all the seasons, especially spring during wildflower season

  • Coe Ranch, Hondo, NM – visit the ranch that employed Billy the Kid during the Lincoln County War

  • Frequent festivities celebrating the West, such as the Cowboy Symposium, rodeos, parades, etc.

  • Hubbard Museum of the American West, Ruidoso Downs, NM – exhibits on the horse and the animals’ contribution to the American West

  • Fort Stanton Reservation – view historic sites that were home to Native American battles, the Civil War (including the famous “Buffalo Soldiers,” 9th Calvary), World War II, US Marine Hospital, and the comings and goings of western personalities like Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, and General “Black Jack” Pershing - enjoy outdoor recreation like horseback riding, hiking, and camping

  • Fort Stanton Cave – the most famous cave of a series of 12 caves in the Fort Stanton Reservation

  • Ruidoso Downs Race Track, located at 1461 Hwy-70 E Ruidoso Downs, Nm – world’s richest quarter horse race, The All-American Futurity

  • Ski Apache, located on NM-532, east off of NM-48 (north of Ruidoso) – great skiing, owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Indian Tribe

  • Smokey Bear Museum, 102 Smokey Bear Blvd Capitan, NM – visit the museum that is all about Smokey Bear, America’s symbol to prevent wildfires

  • Lincoln Monument, Lincoln, NM – visit several museums and historic sites that present the history of the town, named after the U.S. president, and the dealings of its famous residents, such as Billy the Kid, Susan “Cattle Queen of New Mexico” McSween, Alexander McSween, etc.


  • 170 miles southeast of Albuquerque, NM; 111 miles northeast of Las Cruces, NM

  • Located in south-central New Mexico

  • Driving the byway:

    • Begin the byway in Ruidoso, NM and follow NM-48 southeast to Hwy 70

    • Take Hwy 70 northeast to Hwy 380, in Hondo

    • Drive Hwy 380 northwest until the junction with NM-220

    • At the junction, take a small detour south through Fort Stanton and end up at the junction with NM-48

    • Return to the junction of Hwy 380 and NM-220

    • Continue to drive along Hwy 380 to Capitan

    • At the junction of Hwy 380 and NM-48 in Capitan, turn left onto NM-48 and drive south

    • Continue south on NM-48 until you reach Ruidoso, the end of the byway loop

Other Information

  • View map

  • Web site

  • There is gas, lodging, food, restrooms, shopping, and camping along this byway

(This site is funded in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration.)