10 Most Fun Things To Do In Chama, New Mexico

Do you want to visit some top-rated places with many fun things to do in Chama, NM? Let us show you the importance of this place where history whispers through cobblestone streets and nature paints a canvas of tranquility. 

This charming town beckons tourists with a captivating blend of ancient allure and modern charm filled with brimming tales; traverse scenic trails and vibrant culture. Renowned for its rich cultural heritage, Chama invites you on a journey through time, where ancient traditions merge seamlessly with modern charm.

As you explore the cobblestone streets, you’ll discover the echoes of a bygone era, from the well-preserved architecture to the vibrant marketplaces. Moreover, Chama’s fame as a tourist haven lies in its ability to transport visitors to a world where every corner tells a story.

The town’s pièce de résistance is the Chama Historical Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts that narrate the tale of this enchanting place. From pre-colonial artifacts to the Industrial Revolution, the museum’s exhibits provide a fascinating glimpse into Chama’s evolution.

The lush greenery, serene lakes, and majestic mountains make it a haven for outdoor activities where hiking trails beckon adventure seekers, offering panoramic views that capture the essence of Chama’s natural beauty.

To experience the town at its zenith, plan your visit between April and September when the weather is at its most inviting. During these months, the vibrant festivals and cultural events come to life, creating an atmosphere of celebration that is to be noticed.

Whether you’re drawn to Chama for its history, natural wonders, or cultural festivities, this town is a tapestry of experiences waiting to be unraveled. Come and immerse yourself in the allure of Chama, where each moment is a step back in time and a leap into the future.

1) Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a historic narrow-gauge railway, traces its roots to the late 19th century, connecting Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado. Established in 1880 as part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, it served as a vital link for transporting silver and gold ore. 

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

The line winds through breathtaking landscapes, including the 10,015-foot Cumbres Pass also facing financial challenges that avoided abandonment in the 1960s. 

But despite the hurdles, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012, offering passengers a nostalgic journey through the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, showcasing meticulously maintained steam locomotives and vintage rolling stock.

Here, you can find vintage steam locomotives, meticulously restored railcars and a charming depot with informative exhibits. As a passenger, you can also relish the breathtaking scenery of the San Juan Mountains while learning about the region’s rich mining and railroad heritage.

Moreover, the railroad provides a unique opportunity to explore remote areas inaccessible by road with many outdoor fun things to do in Chama NM. 

Beyond the train ride, visitors can partake in guided tours, discovering the intricacies of railroading and relishing the photographic opportunities. Additionally, special events, such as themed excursions and photo charters, add a touch of excitement for those seeking a distinctive experience.

Therefore, if you ever want to experience a delightful blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty, Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad are there to satisfy you. 


500 Terrace Avenue, Chama, NM 87520, United States

2) Heron Lake State Park

Heron Lake State Park, situated in New Mexico, was constructed in the 1970s, encompassing Heron Lake, a reservoir built for water storage and recreation. Initially, the area was inhabited by ancestral Puebloans, leaving behind archaeological remnants. 

Heron Lake State Park

Spanish explorers, including Juan Bautista de Anza, traversed the region in the late 18th century and constructed the dam and reservoir in the 20th century, transforming the landscape. The park features campgrounds equipped with basic and electric hook-ups, providing a scenic setting for camping enthusiasts. 

Boating is a highlight, with a marina offering boat rentals and a launch ramp for personal watercraft. At the same time, fishing is very popular, thanks to the lake’s diverse fish population, including rainbow and brown trout. 

Birdwatching is also rewarding, as the park is a habitat for various avian species and wildlife photography is a favorite pastime for visitors, capturing the beauty of the diverse ecosystems.

For those seeking relaxation, the park provides designated swimming areas, perfect for a refreshing dip during warm weather providing a well-rounded experience, catering to outdoor enthusiasts, families, and those seeking a tranquil retreat amidst the scenic wonders of northern New Mexico.


Los Ojos, NM 87551, United States

3) Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch, located in New Mexico, has a rich history dating back to the 19th century when it was initially a homestead. In the early 20th century, it gained prominence as an artist retreat, attracting notable figures like Georgia O’Keeffe. 

Ghost Ranch

Acquired by the Presbyterian Church in 1955, Ghost Ranch evolved into an educational and spiritual retreat center featuring stunning landscapes, including the vibrant red cliffs that have made it a hub for paleontology and archaeology research.

Here, you can find many fun things to do in Chama, NM; the Dining Hall serves delicious meals, fostering a communal atmosphere for the visitors where they can also explore the Agape Center for meetings and events with a cozy library and lounge.

Abiquiú Lake, situated nearby, provides opportunities for fishing and kayaking while art enthusiasts can partake in workshops inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s legacy. The on-site museums also showcase local history and culture that invites meditation and reflection at iconic sites like Chimney Rock.

So whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or creative inspiration, Ghost Ranch offers a diverse array of experiences, making it an enriching destination for individuals and groups. 


280 Private Drive 1708 Highway, U.S. 84, Abiquiu, NM 87510, United States

4) Edward Sargent Wildlife Area

The Edward Sargent Wildlife Area was originally acquired by the state in 1957, dedicated to wildlife conservation and public enjoyment. Named after Edward Sargent, a prominent figure in California’s conservation efforts, the site encompasses diverse ecosystems, including wetlands and woodlands. 

Edward Sargent Wildlife Area

Through decades, the Edward Sargent Wildlife Area has stood as a testament to the enduring commitment to preserving California’s natural heritage for future generations.

Visitors can explore well-maintained trails, providing opportunities for hiking and birdwatching amidst the diverse ecosystems while picnic areas are available, inviting families and groups to enjoy the serene surroundings. 

The wildlife area is equipped with observation platforms and designated viewing areas, allowing visitors to appreciate the abundant birdlife and other native species,, offering fun things to do in Chama, NM. 

Moreover, photography enthusiasts can capture the natural beauty and wildlife diversity. For those seeking a more immersive experience, camping facilities provide the opportunity to stay overnight and truly connect with nature with your group of friends. 

Overall, the Edward Sargent Wildlife Area caters to a variety of interests, from outdoor activities to educational pursuits, making it a destination where people can unwind, learn, and appreciate the wonders of New Mexico’s natural environment.


Chama, NM 87520, United States

5) Fishtail Ranch

Fishtail Ranch, established in the early 18th century, was originally settled by pioneers seeking fertile land that evolved into a vital hub for agricultural and livestock activities. 

Fishtail Ranch

Over the years, it weathered challenges such as harsh weather and conflicts with indigenous communities. Still, it played a role in the westward expansion, witnessing the growth of nearby towns and supporting the development of local economies. 

Nestled in picturesque surroundings, the ranch provides comfortable lodging with rustic charm, ensuring a genuine frontier experience. Guests can enjoy modern amenities and fun things to do in Chama, NM, including well-appointed cabins, a central lodge, and recreational spaces.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the ranch boasts expansive trails for hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife observation. Fishing enthusiasts can indulge in the serene experience of angling in nearby streams or the ranch’s stocked ponds. 

The ranch also organizes regular campfire gatherings, fostering a sense of community among guests. Additionally, there are organized events such as rodeos, square dances, and cowboy cookouts, adding a touch of Western culture. 

For those seeking tranquility, the ranch offers spa services and scenic spots to unwind with modern amenities, creating a memorable and well-rounded experience for all who visit.


35 Fishtail Road, Chama, NM 87520, United States

6) Wolf Creek Ski Area

Wolf Creek Ski Area has a rich history dating back to 1938 when the first ski runs were established. Initially a small operation, it expanded over the years, gaining popularity for its abundant snowfall and diverse terrain, notably boasting one of the earliest snowmaking systems in the state. 

Wolf Creek Ski Area

Despite its relatively remote location, the ski area has become a beloved destination for winter enthusiasts, offering a unique blend of challenging slopes and breathtaking scenery. The ski area features diverse terrain suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to expert skiers and snowboarders. 

With an average annual snowfall of over 400 inches, the powder conditions attract winter sports enthusiasts, providing lessons for those new to the slopes and enhancing the overall experience.

The lodge at Wolf Creek offers a cozy retreat with dining options, providing a warm respite after a day on the slopes. Additionally, the ski area is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for all ages. 

Visitors can also enjoy scenic chairlift rides, capturing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. For those seeking adventure beyond skiing with fun things to do in Chama, NM, the area offers opportunities for snowshoeing and snowmobiling. 

The commitment to environmental preservation ensures that guests can appreciate the stunning landscape while engaging in various winter pursuits. Whether carving down slopes, exploring snow-covered trails, or simply enjoying the mountain ambiance, Wolf Creek Ski Area provides a diverse and enjoyable winter experience for all.


U.S. 160 E, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, United States

7) El Vado Lake State Park

El Vado Lake State Park was constructed in 1935 as part of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, leading to the formation of the lake. Initially created for irrigation purposes, it soon became a popular recreational destination offering visitors a picturesque setting for camping, fishing, boating, and wildlife observation. 

El Vado Lake State Park

The park provides well-maintained campgrounds equipped with essential amenities like picnic tables, fire pits, and restroom facilities, offering a comfortable camping experience. 

The lake itself is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, with various species, such as trout, bass, and salmon, providing ample opportunities for angling adventures.

Boating is a popular activity on the lake, and the park offers boat ramps for easy access. Additionally, the surrounding trails are perfect for hiking, allowing visitors to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the area with outdoor fun things to do in Chama, NM. 

Birdwatching is another highlight, with the park being home to numerous bird species, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts.

For those seeking relaxation, the park’s scenic beauty provides a serene backdrop for picnics and strolls. Wildlife photography is also a rewarding activity, capturing glimpses of the diverse wildlife that inhabits the park.

Overall, El Vado State Park offers a well-rounded experience for outdoor enthusiasts, blending natural beauty with recreational opportunities, making it an ideal destination for camping, fishing, boating, hiking, birdwatching, and simply enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings.


New Mexico 112, Tierra Amarilla, NM 87575, United States

8) Vista Del Rio Lodge

Vista Del Rio Lodge was originally a rustic retreat for pioneers that evolved into a prominent lodging destination over the decades. The lodge witnessed key historical events, hosting notable figures and serving as a haven for travelers seeking respite. 

Vista Del Rio Lodge

The lodge stands as a testament to the enduring allure of its surroundings, inviting guests to experience a harmonious blend of history and hospitality against the backdrop of nature’s beauty.

Guests can unwind in comfortable rooms, each equipped with modern conveniences and scenic views that feature a charming restaurant serving delectable cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the lodge provides access to hiking trails, allowing guests to explore the breathtaking landscapes that surround the property. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck in nearby rivers, and bird watchers will appreciate the diverse avian life in the area.

Relaxation awaits at the lodge’s spa, where guests can indulge in rejuvenating treatments. The outdoor pool and hot tub offer a refreshing experience with panoramic views. For those seeking adventure, guided excursions and recreational activities like horseback riding and kayaking are available.

With a commitment to sustainability, Vista Del Rio Lodge not only provides a luxurious retreat but also promotes a harmonious connection between guests and the natural beauty that defines its surroundings.


2595 U.S. 84 Frontage, Chama, NM 87520, United States

9) Chama Valley Balloon Rally

The Chama Valley Balloon Rally, held annually in Chama, New Mexico, began in 1980 and has since become a cherished event. Focused on celebrating the beauty of hot air balloons, the rally attracts participants and spectators against the stunning backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Chama Valley Balloon Rally

Here, colorful balloons ascend, creating a mesmerizing display, including various activities and fun things to do in Chama, NM, such as balloon races, tethered rides, and a vibrant night glow. 

The Chama Valley Balloon Rally not only showcases the skill of balloonists but also fosters a sense of camaraderie among enthusiasts, making it a highlight of New Mexico’s event calendar.

The area boasts charming accommodations, from cozy lodges to camping sites, providing visitors with diverse options for a comfortable stay. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the surrounding terrain through hiking and biking trails, immersing themselves in the natural beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. 

For history enthusiasts, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a historic narrow-gauge steam train, offers a nostalgic journey through the stunning landscapes of the region. The Chama Valley is also home to diverse wildlife, making it a haven for birdwatching and nature photography.

Additionally, the vibrant local cuisine, influenced by Southwestern flavors, offers a delightful culinary experience. Whether marveling at balloons in the sky, exploring nature, or enjoying local culture, Chama Valley provides a rich tapestry of experiences for visitors to make their trip more memorable. 


Chama Valley Art Festival · 278 Maple Avenue, Chama, 87520 United States 

10) Mountainview Mall

Mountainview Mall, established in 1985, is a modest complex that rapidly expanded to accommodate a diverse range of retail outlets, becoming a cornerstone of the local community. Over the years, the mall underwent renovations and modernizations to stay current with evolving consumer preferences. 

Mountainview Mall

Despite economic shifts impacting traditional retail, Mountainview Mall remains a resilient hub, adapting to e-commerce trends while maintaining its role as a social and commercial center, exemplifying the dynamic nature of retail landscapes.

With a diverse array of shops, ranging from high-end fashion to specialty stores, it caters to varied tastes, providing many fun things to do in Chama, NM. If you feel hungry, the food court provides a culinary journey with diverse cuisine options, and the on-site restaurants offer a more leisurely dining experience.

For entertainment, the mall boasts a state-of-the-art cinema, hosting the latest blockbuster movies, while kids can enjoy the arcade and play area for children. 

Throughout the year, the mall organizes events like seasonal festivals, live performances, and art exhibitions, creating a vibrant atmosphere for visitors. 

Beyond shopping, Mountainview Mall is designed as a social hub, providing cozy seating areas for relaxation and fostering a community atmosphere. The incorporation of green spaces and art installations adds a touch of aesthetics, creating an inviting environment for visitors to explore, shop, dine, and enjoy various activities in one central location.


503 Terrace Avenue, Chama, NM 87520, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Chama, NM

  • El Meson Lodge
  • Quinlan Ranch
  • Chama Trails Inn
  • Sargents’ Lodge
  • The Riverside Lodge
  • Parlor Car Bed & Breakfast