Chama, NM – a community nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at 7,400 ft elevation has been a hidden gem for far too long. Find out here Chama New Mexico outdoor summer activities. I think you’ll be surprised what all there is to do in the small town.
Chama New Mexico Outdoor Summer Activities
We just returned from spending a few days in Chama to attend a very quaint outdoor wedding there. Though it just snowed the day before we arrived, the wedding day was gorgeous. The month of May can be a bit chilly, and it’s possible that you’ll see snow on the ground, as we did. Summer activities in Chama are just getting started in May.
Besides the famous Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which Chama is known for (more about that below), there’s plenty of other outdoor fun things to do in Chama in the summer.
The photo above and the photo below is on the same day. We had driven up the mountain (into Colorado) and saw snow!!
Things to do in Chama NM in the Summer
Exploring the mountains where ever you’re staying doesn’t cost a penny. My son and I love making words from sticks and rocks we find in nature.
Wildlife in Chama NM
You’re liable to see wildlife while exploring nature in the mountains of Chama. While we were hiking on Fishtail Ranch’s property, we saw deer tracks, fox tracks, elk tracks, and bear tracks. Didn’t see a bear though – bummer!
While walking around a neighbor’s house that they are building, we spotted this Kit Fox. There are three foxes native to New Mexico – the Red Fox, the Swift Fox and this Kit Fox. I was in heaven seeing this wildlife creature.
Chama New Mexico Outdoor Summer Activities
Fishtail Ranch Outfitters offers summer horseback riding on their private land located on the south side of the Brazos River in Chama 7 days a week by reservations only. http://www.fishtailranch.com/trailrides.php Gentle horses, spectacular scenery, and wildlife make this trail ride one of the best around. Instruction plus a full 2 hours on the open trail – $65 per person. Call us for reservations 575-588-7884.
My son and I took a short lesson from Valeria – Owner of Fishtail Ranch
Area Lakes for Fishing and Hiking
Heron Lake is excellent for sailboats and all types of paddle craft. The Visitor Center has more information. You can speak with park rangers, pick up maps to the hiking trails or primitive campsites. http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/heronlakestatepark.html
El Vado Lake – A 5.5-mile scenic trail along the Rio Chama connects Heron Lake and nearby Elvado Lake. Quiet coves around this lake are great places to catch trout and kokanee salmon. Birdwatchers can enjoy seeing Bald Eagles and Osprey. http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/elvadolakestatepark.html
Guided Fishing on the Brazos
Fishtail Ranch Outfitters offers guided fishing on the Brazos, full or half day trips by reservation only. Check it out at http://www.fishtailranch.com/guidedfishing.php for more information.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Owned and operated by two states – New Mexico and Colorado. It is the highest and longest steam-powered, authentic, narrow gauge railroad in the United States. The passenger railroad travels over its historic road grade from Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado. Seasons operate end of May through mid-October. For more information call 575-756-2151 or visit http://www.cumbrestoltec.com/
You can see our trip we took two years ago (lots of beautiful photos) – Our Adventure Aboard Cumbres & Toltec Railroad
Be sure to allow some time to visit downtown Chama shops near the train station and dine locally. The Visitor Center is near the track and offers maps, brochures, and souvenirs.
Fun Day Trips near Chama NM
90 Miles Ojo Caliente Hot Springs A Top 10 US Scenic Drive on Hwy 64 through the Carson National Forest and along the Upper Rio Grande River to the tiny town of Ojo Caliente, NM. You will pass a Hopewell Lake and a few wineries along the way. You will find Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa welcomes day visitors to enjoy their pools for a flat daily rate or will include unlimited pool access with any spa service. https://ojocaliente.ojospa.com/
Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center (40 miles) welcomes day visitors. Explore their hiking trails and other seasonal outdoor activities https://www.ghostranch.org/explore/outdoor/hikng-trails/ Be sure to stop to view Echo Amphitheater which is on your way.
Visit the nearby Lavender Farm- http://www.purpleadobelavenderfarm.com/ There’s a nice Tea Room with good food and a store where she sells her fresh lavender and bath and body products that are made right there.
Explore the nearby Carson National Forest https://www.fs.usda.gov/carson and Rio Grande National Forest https://www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande Both offer scenic, rugged hiking, hunting & fishing during warm months, and skiing and snowmobiling during the winter.
AND, if these activities aren’t enough, Pagosa Springs, Colorado- http://www.pagosasprings.co.gov/ is about an hour north.
Check out some fun that we have had in Chama NM