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 cities of Ruidoso Downs, Hollywood, Mescalero, and Alto are suburbs of Ruidoso, and contribute to the Ruidoso Micropolitan Statistical Area's population of 21,223.
A mountain resort town, Ruidoso lies in the rugged Sierra Blanca mountain range of southcentral New Mexico, where it merges with the Sacramento Mountains to the south. Ruidoso is a rapidly growing resort community due to the region's alpine scenery, the Ruidoso Downs racetrack, and the slopes of Ski Apache, the Mescalero Apache Tribe-owned ski resort on Sierra Blanca, a mountain. The tribe also operates the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort in the area, which includes a casino, hotel, and golf course. Ruidoso is the largest community in Lincoln County, and serves as the regional economic hub.
Ruidoso has been experiencing explosive growth. Currently, Ruidoso is the 4th fastest growing city in New Mexico, after Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Las Cruces. Massive investment has 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.
In December 2006, 7% of eligible voters approved a $12.6 million bond issue to finance the expansion and modernization of the local wastewater treatment plant which was built in 1982. The plant is barely adequate to handle the existing population, and does not meet current EPA standards.