"Chama, New Mexico" Chama by MarkJochim

Chama Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 34 photos

Southern Terminal for Cumbres & Toltec Railroad

Chama is a railroad town 95 miles west of Taos nestled at the base of 10,000-foot Cumbres Pass. There's a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities with abundant wildlife, cross-country skiing, snow-mobiling, camping, rafting, hiking, and fishing.

The town has had several "booms" over the years starting in the 1880s when workers came to Chama in order to build the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Narrow-gauge railroads chugged over the high mountain tracks carrying gold and silver out from the mountains of the San Juan Mountains which straddle the Colorado-New Mexico border. Gambling halls, moonshine stills, speakeasies, and brothels were a fixture along the main drag, Terrace Avenue. The lumber industry also thrived during the early years and the town still has quite a few houses fashioned out of spare hand-hewn railroad ties.

The main attraction in Chama is the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, the narrow-gauge coal-driven steam engine that runs through the San Juan Mountains over the Cumbres Pass. The train chugs over ancient trestles, around breathtaking bends, and high above the Los Pinos River. It's quite a trip.

  • Last visit to Chama: Jul 1994
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (3)

Comments (1)

  • cbeaujean's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2004 at 6:42 AM

    tks for bringing back amazing memories:one of the nicest train trip through usa....with durango/silverton one!


“...only on the road can you see that yesterday lies behind you and tomorrow waits on the path ahead"”

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