The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad – Chama, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Attention Train Buffs: All Aboard!
A throwback to the late-19th-century network of trains that hauled gold, silver, coal, and timber across the southern Rockies, the refurbished Cumbres & Toltec today has the distinction of being North America’s longest, highest, and arguably best narrow-gauge steam railroad.
Clattering and clunking along 64 miles of track between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado, the Cumbres & Toltec crisscrosses the New Mexico-Colorado border eleven times daily, passing the ever-changing vistas of God’s country – sky-scraping peaks, verdant slopes, high valleys gouged by ancient glaciers, and bald eagles soaring majestically overhead. The train makes high-altitude stops at water stations inaccessible to cars, but the high point – literally – is the crossing of the 10,015-foot Cumbres Pass, the highest point reached by any passenger train in the United States.
There is one open car for those who don’t mind taking home a little soot and cinders at the end of the 6 ½-hour journey; in the autumn, there’s no better way to go.