Tucked just south of the Colorado border, this little town hosts tasty eats, modern lodging, and beautiful landscapes.
The cabins at Trout Stalker Ranch have kitchens, meaning you can save some cash by dining in. But when your morning calls for a treat, head to Wilder Bakeshop and Espresso (wilderbakeshop.com). Jazzmyn Cramer founded the shop with a strong commitment to ethical and sustainable ingredient sourcing from companies like Santa Fe’s Iconik Coffee Roasters that are dedicated to sustainable farming practices and fair pay to workers. Other high-quality ingredients come from afar (like thePlugra European butter). Everything comes together in tasty tortes, flaky pastries, and satisfying quiches. For lunch, my family hit up Local (chamalocal.com) located across from the famous Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Dine inside or out on delicious charred brussel sprouts served family style, and chase your veggies with a classic wood-fired pizza like the hot and spicy “The Macho.” But it’s New Mexico. Don’t miss the green chile.
There are lots of places to stay in Chama, but to get off of the main drag and enjoy the solitude of the beautiful surrounding environment head to Trout Stalker Ranch (chamatroutstalkers.com) with recently built, modern, two-bedroom cabins complete with a comfortable living room, full kitchen, and a deck ideal for dining and lounging before, between, and after big days out playing in the landscape. The Chama and Chamita rivers run through the property and feed a number of ponds—all of which hold fish just waiting to bite.
In Chama, the iconic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (cumbrestoltec.com) gets top billing. The downtown railyard dating back to the 1880s is full of classic steam engines puffing away, whistling, getting a bath, or filling up with passengers for a trip up into the nearby hills. It takes most of a day to ride the train 64 miles to Antonito, Colorado, but shorter options are available. Just across the border in Colorado, the Rio Grand National Forest hosts a number of great hiking tails like the 2.5-mile shorty to Red Lake, the 3-miler along Elk Creek, or The Continental Divide trail, headed to Canada. And for fun in the water, head to the 69-acre Trujillo Meadows Reservoir complete with a boat launch, toilet, and a nearby campground.