& 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.
scenic railway ride may not be available because of fires and other reasons. Be
sure to call the railway at 888-286-2737 to
check if the ride is available.
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
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.
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 888-286-2737 or write Cumbres &
Toltec Scenic Railroad, P.O. Box 789, Chama, N.M.
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.
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
Wildhorse Casino and Hotel are located on the reservation, on Hihway64, and its the only hotel in its area.
The Casino is a small one, operated by the tribe. The hotel is modern with large rooms and suites, a hotel restaurant, bar and lounge. There's a business center with internet access, and free WiFi.
Where to Stay in Chama
Chama Station Inn
Across from the Railway Station, Chama,
575-756-2315 or toll-free 888-726-8150
This small hotel (9 rooms) is well situated for railway fans and riders. It's been here for a while, the rooms are not large but it's a friendly place and clean. Restaurants are nearby.
P.O. Box 396, Chama, 575-588-7261
Also south of Chama, at the very end of Hwy. 512, is this wonderful rustic
wilderness 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 Inn Bed and Breakfast
299 Maple St., Chama, 575-756-2191 or 800-543-4303
Housed in a 1913 Victorian 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 with a catered lunch.
Rivers Trailer Park and Campground
P.O. Box 155, Chama NM 87520, 575-756-2218
The 50-site 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. Campsites with tables and shelters are available for tent campers. A gas
station and a supermarket are adjacent to the campground. Open year-round.