& Toltec Scenic Railroad
old steam engine chugs its way along the narrow gauge
line, climbing to Cumbres Pass and drawing passengers
along one of the most scenic routes and on the highest
train line in North America. This is the Cumbres &
Toltec Scenic Railroad, an actual journey of 64 miles but
-- in the mind -- a leap into the past amidst scenes of
Rocky Mountain splendor.
Rockies poke southward into New Mexico, and this railroad
provides one of the best ways to see them. The line
operates from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October
from the depot in downtown Chama, traveling the 64 miles
to Antonito, Colorado, and back again. A road joints the
two communities, making it possible for visitors to take
the train one way and return (or drive to Antonito) by
car. You can also book a van ride for one-way
transportation -- either to or from Antonito. Osier is
the high half-way point where the train stops and lunch
is available. There are actually two trains that exchange
at Osier and both have cars that are either
fully-enclosed or open.
scenic railway ride may not be available
because of fires and other reasons. Be
sure to call the railway at (505) 756-2151 to
check if the ride is available.
line was built as the San Juan extension of the Denver
& Rio Grande in 1880 to service the mining camps in
the San Juan Mountains. It is now owned by the states of
Colorado and New Mexico. Fares range from about $30 to
$50, depending on the length of the ride and if you wish
to have a one-way van ride. For information and
reservations, call (505) 756-2151 or write Cumbres &
Toltec Scenic Railroad, P.O. Box 789, Chama, N.M.
unusual tour combines travel on horseback, a wagon ride,
camping and a return train ride to and from Osier.
Organized by Western Outdoor Adventures, their "City
Slickers Package" involves taking the train to the top of
the line, where you are met by cowboys who conduct the
trail ride or give you a wagon ride to a camp on a wide
are private tents and several buildings including a
dining hall. Evening meals are cooked around a campfire.
The days are spent hiking, fishing, or relaxing. Two
nights are spent at camp before returning to Osier for
the train ride. For information and reservations, call
fishing is available at Heron Lake and El Vado Lake, part
of the Rio Brazos system. Several of the lodges and guest
ranches in the area feature fishing.
most of July, Chama features a festival that includes
almost every type of music from chamber groups to jug
bands, gospel, and cabaret performances. The festival is
held at the Chama Valley Community Center and, in the
past, has included a scenic mountain concert in Osier,
with a train ride included. For information, call (505)
Ranch Living Museum
45 miles south of Chama and 14 miles north of Abiquiu on
U.S. Route 84, this small but fascinating museum is on
the site of the old Ghost Ranch, the legendary farm where
artist Georgia O'Keeffe painted some of her earliest and
finest works. The museum houses a collection of native
animals, and museum displays show the evolution of the
geology of the region. Nearby at the actual Ghost Ranch
(now owned by the Presbyterian Church) reconstructed
dinosaur fossils found in the area are on display.
recreation site near the Ghost Ranch in the Santa Fe
National Forest, this large rocky bowl offers a scenic
campground and trails that explore this large forest and
the rivers of the region.
Apache Indian Reservation
and south of Chama, this large reservation has several
camping areas that are open to the public, as well as a
large motor lodge in the town of Dulce. The drive from
Santa Fe to Chama and then through the reservation is
featured as part of our scenic drive beginning on page
are required for staying in the Apache campgrounds, and
these are available in Dulce. The Little Beaver Roundup
is held in July and the Stone Lake Fiesta in
mid-September. Apache hunting guides are also available.
Dulce is 30 miles west of Chama on Highway 64, on the
route to Farmington and Shiprock. Highway 537 runs the
full length of the reservation -- from north to south --
providing access to the sideroads that lead to Apache
recreation areas. For information, call (505)
mentioned previously, the Jicarilla Inn is located
in Dulce, within the Navajo reservation. Corkins Lodge is
a cabin resort overlooking the wild Brazos River next to
the Brazos Cliffs, which rise to over 11,000 feet.
Fishing is the main activity here. Call (505) 588-7261.
De Masters Lodge, in Chama, is a modern/rustic place with
meals available. Call (505) 756-2942.
Oso Ranch is operated by the Al Unsers (Jr. and Sr.).
The lakes here are stocked with trout, and the ranch is
popular with hunters looking for mountain lion and elk.
During winter months, the ranch becomes a cross-country
ski resort with ice-fishing available. Meals are served.
For availabilities, call 800-882-5190 or (505)
P.O. Box 96, Los Ojos NM 87551
Located south of Chama in the village of Brazos near the
fork of the Chama and Los Brazos Rivers (with a view of
the El Chorro waterfall) is this historic double-adobe
home run as a B & B operation by the
great-granddaughter of the Martinez family, early
settlers in the area. There is one suite with a fireplace
plus six double rooms, three with private bath. There is
also a dining room and a beautiful courtyard with a well
and gardens. Open February to October ($$).
P.O. Box 396, Chama NM 87520
Also south of Chama on Hwy. 512 is this wonderful rustic
lodge, which has been operating since 1929. If you love
lake or river fishing, cross-country skiing, or just
soaking up beautiful scenery, this may be your place.
There are 15 cabins available, with sizes and prices
varying. All have bath and kitchen, so bring your own
groceries or catch a few trout. There's a heated outdoor
pool, game room, and 738 acres for hiking ($).
Dancer B and B
299 Maple St., Box 810, Chama NM 87520
(505) 756-2191 or 800-424-6702
Housed in a 1913 residence, this charming B & B
offers a comfortable and elegant atmosphere full of art
and antiques. A full breakfast is included with each of
the three rooms, and dinner is also available for an
additional charge. The hosts can arrange bicycle rentals
or a hiking or fishing guide for a trip into the nearby
Rio Grande National Forest&emdash;with a catered lunch ($
Rivers Trailer Park and Campground
P.O. Box 155, Chama NM 87520
The facility is located at the junction of U.S. 84 and
State Route 17. There are pull-through sites with full
hookups, showers, and laundromat. There is also a gas
station and a supermarket adjacent to the campground.