The Village of Chama is tucked below the San Juan Mountains in some of New Mexico’s finest Rocky Mountain scenery. The Tewa Puebloans were the first to inhabit the valley about 1,000 years ago. They developed extensive networks of communal irrigation canals called acequias, allowing them to grow crops successfully, and many of which are still used for farming today.
Today, Chama has become a destination for outdoor recreation, surrounded by prime fishing, hunting, and hiking opportunities in the Carson National Forest. Outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike are attracted here, thanks to the abundant recreation opportunities and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Originally used to transport coal, lumber, and sheep, the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad takes visitors on a steam train to Cumbres Pass to experience a bit of the Old West and its fantastic mountain scenery. A small but diverse community that values its natural and cultural heritage, Chama is northern New Mexico’s hidden treasure, and you will surely enjoy a visit on your CDT trip.
The closest international airport to Chama is Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), which is about 3 hours away via I-25 N and US-84 W. The Santa Fe Regional Airport (SAF), which is about 2 hours away via US-84 W, has direct flights from Pheonix, Arizona, Denver, Colorado, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is an excellent way to access the CDT at Cumbres Pass. CDT Thru-hikers and CDTC Members can receive a $25 ticket to ride from Chama to the Cumbres Pass station, or vice-versa. This is a unique experience and highly encouraged! Just show your member card when buying your ticket at either station.
The RTD bus system is for routes that service Chama and neighboring places. Be sure to reference the North Central RTD blue bus system to get to Ghost Ranch from Chama, or Española from the south.
Real-time location on the bus system can be downloaded from a Google play app.
Length: 9 miles
Closest Town: Chama
Directions: From Chama: Drive 12 miles (into CO) on NM-17 N/CO-17 N and look for the Cumbres Pass Train Station and CDT on your left.
USGS 7.5 quadrangles: W Fork Rio Brazos, Cumbres, and Archuleta Cr; CDTC Map Set: Maps 117 and 118, Sections NM31 and CO01.
For More Information:
Chama Visitor Center: (575)-756-2306.
- camping/ lodging
- camp supplies
- Chama Post Office
- 199 5th St W, Chama
- NM 87520
- Lowe’s Supermarket
- 2451 US-84
- NM 87520
- Speed Queen Laundry
- 400 Pine Ave
- NM 87520
- Tumble On Outfitters
- 500 Maple Ave., Chama
- NM 87520
The Continental Divide Trail crosses NM/CO-17 about 12 miles north of Chama at Cumbres Pass in the San Juan Mountains. After crossing the railroad at Cumbres Pass, take the immediate left for the Cumbres Train Station. Continue left behind the station and park at the end of the road. A short access spur trail leads from here to the CDT headed north, or cross the highway, walk downhill back toward Chama a few hundred feet, and find the CDT heading southbound back to NM on your left.
Explore the Chama River Wilderness on the Continental Divide Trail on this hike through Ojitos Canyon, one of our featured New Mexico CDT sections.
Tumble On Outfitters
Information on shuttle service to Cumbres Pass is available on their website.