The Historic Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad


One of the perks of working for a tourism reservations company is getting to experience first-hand the area’s attractions and activities. Last week, three of our awesome, hard-working gals had the opportunity to get out of the office for the day, step back in time, relax and take in the beautiful scenery with a ride the historic Cumbres & Toltec Railroad out of Chama, New Mexico.

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is a National Historic Landmark and is the longest and highest steam, narrow gauge railroad in North America. This scenic 64-mile train ride crosses the border of Colorado and New Mexico 11 times and climbs over Cumbres Pass at over 10,000 feet in elevation, offering spectacular scenery through steep canyons, high desert, and lush meadows along the way.

Here’s what our staff had to say about their day:

Cumbres & Toltec Train in Fall Tamara: “What a beautiful fall day on the Cumbres and Toltec train! The fall colors were breathtaking.  Although the weather wasn’t perfect, we were still able to enjoy the views from the open gondola and spend time with a very knowledgeable docent (who loved talking about the train and the history of the railroad). We rode in the Deluxe Tourist Class car for half the trip, which was a nice upgrade, as we enjoyed this car when the weather was not favorable to be outside. We were able to enjoy the views from the comfort of the car while enjoying our beverages and snacks. It was a long train ride, and the luxury motor coach ride from Antonito back to Chama was soooo comfortable!  Our bus driver was super fun and described points of interest along the way. A big thanks to Roberta in the reservation’s office and Conductor Ray for a memorable experience.  I will be back with my family for sure!”


Cumbres & Toltec- Conductor Ray

Conductor Ray

Amy: What a wonderful day we had riding the Cumbres & Toltec train during the peak of fall colors. From the moment we arrived, the staff was welcoming and enthusiastic about sharing their train with us. The highlight for me was the open gondola, where we could stand and enjoy the fresh air and take pictures of the breathtaking scenery. They even had a knowledgeable docent with a microphone, with lively commentary about the train and its history. In the morning we rode the standard coach with comfortable, overstuffed seats and oversized windows. After a delicious lunch with all the fixings, we hopped aboard the Deluxe Tourist Car, with table and chair seating and a friendly attendant. We also received a free, insulated mug on for riding in deluxe class. An added bonus was the yummy Bloody Mary’s that the friendly gals in the concession car made for us—hit the spot!  I would highly recommend this ride to anyone who enjoys historic trains and the breathtaking scenery this ride offers!”


Brittany: “October was the perfect time of year to go on the Cumbres & Toltec Train. Even though Cumbres & Toltec Train the weather wasn’t ideal, we caught the fall colors just in time. The staff was awesome and made sure we had a good experience. We arrived the depot a little early, which gave us time to visit their cute gift shop and mini museum. Our first leg of the journey was on the coach car, and we were pleased to find out the seats flipped so the three of us could face each other. We also received a reference map, which pointed out highlights of the trip. When we arrived in our seats, a costumed “Sheriff” took our picture, which could be purchased later. We spent most of our time on the train out in the open-air Gondola, which had expansive views and someone talking about the history of the train. It was nice to be able to stretch our legs and walk around throughout the trip, instead of having to sit the entire time. The buffet lunch (which is included in the price) was very good and filling with tons of dessert choices. If you don’t have time to do a full-day trip, I would highly recommend doing the shorter excursion from Chama to Osier. The train follows the beautiful river and offers views of the valleys. I was pleasantly surprised with the whole experience and really enjoyed riding the Cumbres & Toltec Train.”

Although it made for a long day, our staff traveled about 2 hours from Durango, CO to Chama, NM for this train ride.  Although they live here, they were impressed with the beautiful “Colorado”  scenery on their drive. While it’s doable, it would have been nice to stay at least one night in Chama to experience this quaint village with their blend of cultures. We heard from other visitors how much they enjoyed their meals at the High Country Saloon, the Cliff View Restaurant, or the Boxcar Restaurant. Stay at least one night and combine your historic train tickets to save on both with a Cumbres & Toltec Train & Lodging Package.

We feel so fortunate to live in beautiful Southwest Colorado and love to share our knowledge of where to stay and what to see.  Speak with a local travel consultant at 800.828.4228 any time.  We’re happy to help!