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 what Chama New Mexico outdoor summer activities are all about. I think you’ll be surprised what all there is to do in and around this small town.
Chama New Mexico Outdoor Summer Activities
We just returned from spending a few days in Chama, attending a very quaint outdoor wedding. It had snowed there the day before we arrived, however, the wedding day turned out gorgeous, and it was also warm. The month of May can be a bit chilly, and you may 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, there’s plenty of other outdoor fun things to do in Chama in the Summer.
The photos above and below are on the same day. We had driven up the mountain (into Colorado) and played in the snow. Crazy!
Outdoor Summer Activities to do in Chama
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
It’s nothing 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!
We were told that there are three foxes native to New Mexico – the Red Fox, the Swift Fox, and this Kit Fox. I was in heaven seeing this Kit Fox.
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 at 575-588-7884.
My son and I took a short lesson from Valeria – Owner of Fishtail Ranch
Area Lakes for Fishing and Hiking in Chama
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 the 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
Fun Day Trips near Chama
90 Miles Ojo Caliente Hot Springs A Top 10 US Scenic Drive on Hwy 64. It runs 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. Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa welcomes day visitors to enjoy their pools. More info. https://ojocaliente.ojospa.com/
Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center Welcomes day visitors. Explore 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. 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 more fun we have had in Chama, NM