Our member inns in Chama — The Parlor Car B&B and The Victorian — are ideally located lodging choices for you to make the most of your visit to Chama and the surrounding area.

Chama is a small village, approximately 1300 permanent residents, on the New Mexico/Colorado border, at the ridge line of the San Juan mountain range.

Chama started out as a sparsely-settled region of ranches served by a toll wagon road from 1878 onward, until the silver boom in the San Juan mining district around Silverton, Colorado, became the impetus for the San Juan extension of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Narrow Gauge Railroad.

When rails were extended through Chama in 1881, the town became an important division point on the railroad, being halfway between maintenance facilities in Durango and Alamosa. Because of the steep grade east of Chama and winter snows on the pass, helper engines and extra crews and snow-cleaning equipment were stationed here.

During the silver boom, which lasted until 1893, and subsequent lumbering, horseback ranching in the cleared forests and oil field development provided a succession of boom and bust times through the 1950s. Finally, the line was abandoned by the Rio Grande in the late 1960s.

A 64-mile portion remains as a tourist railroad — the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad — owned jointly by the States of New Mexico and Colorado, and is operated as a living museum of the westward expansion that occurred during the late Pioneer period. The scenery and facilities are virtually unchanged along this nationally-registered historic route.

Today Chama is experiencing a revitalization, serving the needs of tourists with unique shops and demonstrating blacksmithing, wool growing and weaving, Hispanic and Indian culture, saddle making, jewelry, and crafts. This area is surrounded by 100 miles of spectacular scenery in every direction for the 4-wheelers and photography fans. Trophy fishing and hunting are popular in season, as are cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Hot springs, casinos and golf are within an hour’s drive, and downhill skiing is within two hours, as is Taos with its pueblo arts and crafts exhibits. Hiking and horseback riding are always popular nearly year ’round. Only a lack of imagination will limit your fun in the Chama area.

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