We took the 64 mile Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad that weaves its way from Chama, New Mexico, to Antonito, Colorado, crossing in and out of the two states 10 different times. A lot of the railroad follows the Rio de Los Pinos. Because of a fire on one of the trestles a couple of months ago outside Chama, passengers are now being bused 12 miles north to reach the train’s point of departure at Cumbres Pass. The railroad is America’s longest and highest narrow gauge railroad.
The railroad, the Denver & Rio Grand Railway, was completed at the end of 1880 and was a critical factor in the opening up of northern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado. The railroad was built through the spectacular Toltec Gorge and over the 10,015 foot Cumbres Pass and down a 4% grade into the Chama Valley. It was built to tap the booming mining districts, but as situations changed, it ended passenger service in 1951. It began service as the scenic Cumbres & Toltec railroad in 1970.
The train took us to Osier where lunch was served. An hour or so later we re-boarded the train to Antonito. In Antonito we were met by a bus that brought us back to Chama.
The day was spectacular and the weather was warm and sunny. We were told to bring jackets for the mountains, but we never put them on. There were many beautiful sights along the way. Just a little early for the change of colors, but a few had started.