Contact Us

Address: 299 4th Street, Chama, New Mexico 87520

Phone: 575-756-2184

Welcome to the Village of Chama


About Chama New Mexico

Chama, New Mexico is located in the beautiful Northern New Mexico Rocky Mountains. Our village is a vacationer’s paradise. Chama Is A Fun, Year-Round Destination For The Whole Family.

The nearest major airport is in Albuquerque. Santa Fe has very limited air service with two flights per day to Dallas and one to Los Angeles via American Eagle. Amtrak’s Los Angeles – Chicago Southwest Chief route serves North Central New Mexico with a stop in Lamy, about 15 miles south of Santa Fe on US Highway 285, and a shuttle that transports passengers between Lamy and Santa Fe. The Rail Runner regional train service offers inexpensive service between Albuquerque and Santa Fe seven days a week. The North Central Regional Transit District ( ) “Blue Buses” provides free bus service into and out of Chama Monday through Friday three times a day with routes that connect the counties and communities of Rio Arriba (Chama), Santa Fe, Taos, and Los Alamos.

Drive times to Chama are as follows: From Albuquerque (3-hours); From Santa Fe (2-hours); From Taos (1:15-hours); From Pagosa Springs (1-hour); From Durango (2-hours). You will enjoy the beautiful drive no matter which direction you are coming from. The valley is beautiful year ’round! The route from the south (US Highway 84) is generally open year-round; approaching from Colorado via Colorado SR 17 and high Cumbres Pass can be problematic in the winter, although it’s open more of the time than not.

There is plenty of outdoor recreation available in the area year-round, including a couple of trail riding stables, fishing, game hunting and fishing, hiking, and just overall sight-seeing. Rio Chama and Rio Brazos offer challenging whitewater for rafters and kayakers. Snowmobiling, xc-skiing and snowshoeing are popular in the winter. Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad station is in the center of town on Hwy 17,  1-575-756-2151 or  1-888-286-2737. One of the main attractions of the town. The narrow-gauge railroad runs into the high country near Cumbres Pass, through scenic Toltec Gorge, and on to its opposite terminus at tiny Antonito, Colorado. Tour options range from half-way trips to and from a station near the Gorge (delicious, all-you-can-eat lunch is provided) to round trips to Antonito, with return on either rail or bus. For information and reservations, which are recommended, as the train fills up during summer weekends.

Cumbres Pass becomes a wonderland for Nordic skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers during the winter, owing to the high snowfall that this part of the Colorado Plateau usually receives. Snowpack is variable year to year but is usually satisfactory from December through February.

During the spring/summer/fall there are numerous hiking trails throughout the area. Check out the Sargent Wildlife Area at the north end of Pine Ave., two streets west of Chama’s main street which is Terrace Ave. The main trail ends in Chromo, Colorado.

The Chama Chili Ski Classic, e-mail:, ( is held over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend each year.

Chama Days weekend is traditionally the most popular weekend in town. Held on the first weekend in August, Chama Days consists of a weekend of nightlife (several dances a night), sports (2-day rodeo, volleyball tournament, softball tournament), and family events (carnival, kids games and pet parade).

El Vado Lake and Heron Lake, both southwest of town, are scenic reservoirs with opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, and some boating.


In February 1880, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad began construction of the San Juan extension, a route that went from Alamosa, Colorado to Silverton, Colorado by way of Cumbres Pass, Chama, and Durango. Railroad service to Chama began in February 1881 and facilities for servicing railroad equipment, a depot, warehouses, and stockyards were set up along the route surveyed for the railroad.

The brief period of construction from 1880-1881 was one of the most exciting episodes in the area’s history and Chama almost immediately became a boomtown. The possibilities for development attracted both industrious and disreputable characters from all around. Individuals interested in developing the coal mines in Monero rapidly appeared on the scene as did representatives of the lumber industry, laborers, engineers and contractors to build the railroad and buildings required to accommodate the mass of people attracted to the booming railroad town of Chama. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad still operates 64 miles of the narrow-gauge system between Chama, N.M., and Antonito, Colorado. Jointly owned by the two states, it is a “living museum” of railway history.

For many years Chama remained a rowdy and exciting place to be. It was a very prosperous town with plenty of work and a great deal of entertainment in the forms of saloons, gambling houses, moonshine stills, etc. Groceries were expensive and outlaws, such as the Clay Allison gang, regularly held up the railroad pay car construction camps with large payrolls, saloons and gambling houses.

In the past, the main industries of the area were logging, mining and sheep and cattle ranching. Before the logging industry clear-cut much of the timber, the vast grasslands one now sees, were hundreds of square miles of forest. In pre-logging days the forest was so thick that it was difficult for a man on horseback to negotiate his way through the trees. The sheep industry operated on a grand scale until the depression and the terrible winter of 1931-32 combined to nearly wipe out the sheep industry.

Chama, New Mexico offers a unique blend of cultures. In the shops and cafes, you will hear a mix of English, Spanish and Native languages, often used in concert. And you’ll hear a lot of laughter. Serious conversations often turn to the environment and politics, as big changes are again underway. The local economy, once fueled by agriculture, is increasingly fed by tourism and new businesses started by transplants from more congested urban areas.

From a small crossroads town, Chama became an important site on the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad after 1880. The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is the remnant of the San Juan Extension, a narrow-gauge line in which once served the mining areas of southwestern Colorado.

Cumbres Pass

A major encounter between the U.S. Army and a large group of Utes and Jicarilla Apaches occurred here in July 1848. Old Bill Williams, the famous scout, and guide was badly wounded while fighting the Utes, who had once adopted him as a tribesman.

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Located in northern New Mexico, the small town of Chama has become a top year-round destination for vacationers who love to play and unwind outdoors. It doesn’t matter whether vacationers are interested in hunting, fishing, camping, boating, cross-country skiing, or just taking in a little bit of New Mexico’s history, Chama has it all.

Summertime is perfect for hiking and biking the miles of mountain trails located in the three national forests – Carson, Rio Grande and Santa Fe – and two state parks bordering Chama. Four-wheelers love to venture across Cumbres and Mogote passes, and the Chama, Brazos, and Los Pinos rivers keep anglers plenty busy. And the antique Cumbres and Toltec Train take vacationers on a scenic narrow gauge adventure to nearby Antonito, Colorado.

Winter draws cross-country skiers, snowshoers and snowmobile enthusiasts eager to explore the area’s San Juan mountains. When spring rolls around, visitors flock to El Chorro Falls, which are formed by snowmelt rushing over the breathtaking Brazos Cliffs. And fall brings the opportunity for breathtaking drives along the state’s nearby highways, perfect for taking in the changing colors.

So, if you’re looking for hard work in Chama, it’s best to look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a great vacation, whatever the season, Chama is the place to be.

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Contact Us

Address: 299 4th Street, Chama, New Mexico 87520

Phone: 575-756-2184