Alto is an unincorporated community in Lincoln County, New Mexico, United States. It is located in the Lincoln National Forest, five miles (8 km) north of the village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Alto is located at 7,300 feet (2,200 m). The community is most noted as being a thriving artist community and is home to the Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts. Alto received its name from the Spanish word "high," due to its elevation. Alto Lakes (elevation 7,550 feet) is a planned, residential and recreational community covering 1689+ acres along two mountain ridges in Alto. Alto Lakes was conceived and developed by Don Blaugrund beginning in 1967. The heart of the community is the Alto Lakes Golf & Country Club which includes a private 18 hole golf course, dining, swimming and tennis facilities. Membership in the Club is included with ownership of a home, town home, or lot within the community. The residential area of the community includes 1,150+ homes, 83 town homes, and approximately 1,000 vacant lots. Alto Lakes is governed by the Alto Lakes Water & Sanitation District and by the Alto Lakes Special Zoning District as well as community covenants.