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Welcome to the home of larger-than-life locations and legends. This region is worthy of your whole vacation and can satisfy any appetite.
Start by spending some time at the largest petroglyph site in the Southwest - Three Rivers Petroglyph National Recreation Site claims more than 21,000 ancient symbols scribed on their rocks and we challenge you to find at least half! And speaking of large - the southeast has what's been referred to by many as the 8th Wonder of the World - Carlsbad Caverns National Park invites you to explore some of the largest caves in the world - there are 100 known, 870-foot underground caves where the collection of stalagmites, stalactites, and Mexican freetail bats will leave you speechless. So may the world's richest quarter-horse race in Ruidoso Downs. Also in Ruidoso is the 2nd largest ski mountain in New Mexico - Ski Apache at 12,000 feet in the Lincoln National Forest has some of the best warm-weather powder in our state. For a different take on mountains of white, be sure to travel to White Sands National Monument outside of Alamogordo, where you can hike through the largest natural reservoir of gypsum in the world - nearly 300 acres of the stuff!
While all regions would like to claim Billy the Kid as their outlaw, Lincoln County is widely known as "Billy the Kid Country." Historic Lincoln was his home and this is where he gained the lion's share of his notoriety. The famous Lincoln County War, a classic battle among rivalrous cattle barons, merchants and cowboys, gave Billy the chance to strut his stuff. Boy did he ever, especially during that daring escape from the Lincoln County jail where he killed two deputies. Now he rests safely underground at the Fort Sumner Military Cemetary in Fort Sumner. Check out his gravesite and then explore the Billy the Kid Museum.
Other famous legends sprung from here as well, including Smokey Bear, who lived through a devastating 1950 fire in the Lincoln National Forest to became America's legendary icon for fire prevention. The Smokey Bear Historical Park in Capitan is the place to learn about forest health, forest fires, and fire ecology.
And then there's Roswell, famous for the what is now known as the Roswell Incident, a UFO story that is most definitely out of this world. For those of you who need a little background - allegedly, a flying saucer crashed here in 1947. In addition to an annual UFO festival, Roswell hosts the International UFO Museum and Research Center where you can decide for yourself about the crash through exhibits and programs.
And perhaps because there is so much sky here, this region is home to both Alamogordo's New Mexico Museum of Space History and the National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak near Cloudcroft. In Hobbs, the sky proves all mighty for avid hang gliders and paragliders.
While soaring thousands of feet in the air may not be your thing, there's bound to be more than enough to keep you very occupied and very happy in the southeast.