The outdoor enthusiast will never be bored in the Rio Chama Valley! Spring, Summer and Fall, you’ll find that great hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, birding, wildlife viewing, photography are right outside your door. The Chama Valley even offers a unique sport we call “Train spotting”. Bundle up the family and follow the train as it crosses Highway 17 going up to Cumbres Pass. It’s great fun to take photos and wave as the massive steam locomotive winds its way through the incredible mountain scenery.
Top Outdoor Sports Destinations - the many public lands within a few minutes drive of your Chama Valley lodging.
Carson National Forest | Santa Fe National Forest | Bureau of Land Management | Rio Grande National Forest
San Juan National Forest | Edward Sargent Fish and Wildlife Area
Cruces Basin Wilderness | South San Juan Wilderness | Rio Chama Wilderness
Opportunities abound, ranging from beginner’s day hikes to strenuous treks into the surrounding wilderness lasting days or weeks. The Continental Divide passes just a few miles West of Historic Chama.
The high plateaus and old logging trails surrounding the Rio Chama Valley provide scenic biking opportunities suited to beginner and expert alike. Lodges and outfitters rent equipment. Some of the most popular mountain bike trails are found in the Edward Sargent Fish and Wildlife Area and in the nearby Carson National Forest.
The Chama Valley starts high in the San Juan Wilderness. Not far from Historic Chama, you’ll find peaks towering 13,000 feet or more ready to challenge the technical rock climber.
Ready for something really new, suitable for all ages? Why not try one of our popular Wildlife Photography Safaris? The Rio Chama Valley is home to large herds of majestic Elk and Mule Deer. It is not uncommon to see hundreds of Elk grazing in the meadows, right outside your lodge or car. With a little patience, you’re likely to discover wild turkeys, bobcats, foxes, beavers and coyotes, especially at twilight or early in the morning. With some luck you might even spot a brown bear, mountain lion, river otter, ringtail or the rare linx. The friendly community of Brazos has designated its boundaries as a wildlife refuge where no hunting is allowed. Located at the eastern end of State Road 512, you’ll find tame deer roaming freely year-round. Children can even hand-feed the deer using pellets available in shops and dispensers. Outfitters and other local businesses can direct you to other great viewing locations based on the species and time of year.
The unique combination of high mountain meadows, rich irrigated farmlands, nearby dessert, lake and river bottom wetlands, and heavily treed bosques attract hundreds of species of migratory birds and waterfowl. Hummingbirds are a special treat for most visitors. Most lodges maintain a good supply of hummingbird feeders that attract scores of these beautiful and fascinating summer visitors. Great birding is as close as the veranda right outside your door.
Miles of wilderness trails and open range lands make the Chama Valley a Mecca for riders. A new type of accommodation in the Valley offers the traveling rider a room or a whole house with corrals or stables. If you prefer, outfitters in the area can provide both guided and unguided horseback tours of the surrounding mountains.