New Mexico has a rich history of outlaws, gunfighters and cowboys. Many of these characters rode over the same territory that you will enjoy at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. From gravesites and museums to hideouts and modern day festivals, below are a few highlights of local interest you may want to visit during your stay in New Mexico.
Where history suddenly comes to life and shows you that it is not just a list of dull dates. History is about people-who they were, how they lived, and in some cases, how they died. Come in and find out about the folks who lived and died and fought in the Old West. 1601 E Sumner Ave., Fort Sumner, NM – Call 800-556-7049.
The museum is adjacent to the grave site of Billy the Kid and has Billy the Kid memorabilia along with other historical items from 1865. Located 7 miles southeast of Fort Sumner via U.S. 60 and Billy the Kid Road, off U.S. 60/84.
Fort Sumner, NM – Call 505-355-2942.
Follow the route of Billy the Kid’s crime spree throughout New Mexico! A National Scenic Byway designation from the Federal Highway Commission since June of 1998. Lincoln County is rich in history; Billy the Kid, the Lincoln County War, the Mescalero Apache tribe, Kit Carson, “Black Jack” Pershing, the Buffalo Soldiers, the world’s richest Quarter Horse race and Smokey Bear. Start at the interpretive center in Ruidoso Downs, NM
Features “Free Spirits at Noisy Water” – one of the world’s largest equine monuments, realistic art, horse related artifacts, videos, live demonstrations, wagons, saddles, special exhibits and the Ruidoso Downs Race Horse Hall of Fame. Highway 70 West, Ruidoso Downs, NM – Call 505-378-4142.
Held every October in Ruidoso Downs, NM. Named the #1 “cowboy gathering” in the nation. This symposium features authentic chuck wagon cooking, cowboy poets, singers, songwriters, western lifestyle demonstrations and western craftsmen. Bring the family and wear your boots to top off the fun with toe-tappin’ western swing music. Call 800-263-5929.
Lincoln is a town frozen in time and once called “the most dangerous street in America.” Lincoln State Monument, a National Historic Landmark, preserves eleven historic adobe and stone buildings as they were during one of the most violent periods in New Mexico history. Walk in the footsteps of Sheriff Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, and other infamous characters involved in the Lincoln County War, 1878-1881. 32 miles northeast of Ruidoso on U.S. 380. Lincoln, NM – Call 505-653-4372.
An annual event held in August, Billy the Kid rides again – and escapes (again!) from the courthouse as the citizens of Lincoln reenact this historical event. Great western adventure. For more information call 505-653-4025.
On March 9, 1916, the soldiers of General Francisco “Pancho” Villa attacked the small border town and military camp at Columbus, New Mexico. Pancho Villa State Park contains extensive historical exhibits which depict this raid, the first armed invasion of the continental United States since the War of 1812, and also the last one. Columbus, NM – Call 505-531-2711.
Silver City is the home of an historic replica of a cabin from the 1850s which was used in the film, The Missing. It replicates the cabin that Billy the Kid lived in with his mother, Catherine McCarty, who died in 1874, and is buried in Silver City’s Memory Lane Cemetery. See it at 201 North Hudson, at the Chamber of Commerce, in downtown Silver City, NM – Call 800-548-9378.
Christopher “Kit” Carson ran away from Missouri to end up in Taos and become one of the great frontiersman of our time. The Kit Carson Home and Museum contains a portion of Carson’s original home. Artifacts and exhibits illustrate the life story of Carson, his family and the character of frontier life in Taos. Other exhibits depict the importance of the Native American and Hispanic cultures in the history of northern New Mexico. Taos, NM. For more information call 505-758-0505.
Lea County has produced more rodeo champs than any other county in the U.S.! Visit this wonderful museum and discover rodeo stars, such as Roy Cooper, who got his start in New Mexico! Learn the history of Lea County as seen from the perspective of Indians, buffalo hunters, soldiers, open-range homesteaders, and settlers. Exhibits spotlight outstanding county ranchers and rodeo performers. 5317 Lovington Highway, Hobbs, NM – Call 505-392-4510.
The City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection illustrates the history of Las Vegas, its connection to the Rough Riders, the Santa Fé Trail and the development of New Mexico. The museum houses a significant collection of artifacts, archives and photographs from the Rough Riders, or the 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment of the Spanish-American War. The Rough Rider Memorial Collection contains items relating to the 1898 Cuban Campaign of the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt and Roosevelt’s Rough Rider Association reunions. Also included are collections of local Native American pottery, household items, costumes, ranching and farming equipment. Contact museum before taking the trip: , 727 Grand Ave., Las Vegas, NM – Call 505-454-1401, Ext. 283
From up near Folsom, at the northeast corner of New Mexico, “Black Jack” Ketchum is noted as the only outlaw in American history ever hanged for train robbery in 1901. See his grave at the Clayton Cemetery on Princeton Ave., Clayton, NM