Don’t take our word for it.  “USA Today 10Best” – readers say that the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is the best train ride in North America as well as the top attraction in both New Mexico and Colorado.  Traveling for 64-miles between Chama, NM and Antonito, CO, this is the longest and highest steam railroad in the nation…and the most scenic, crossing the border of Colorado and New Mexico 11 times as it chugs its way up and over 10,015 foot high Cumbres Pass.


And, of course, the best way to see the Rocky Mountains is from an authentic steam train.  Why?  Here are the top five reasons:


  1. The Cumbres & Toltec goes where no automobile can. Most of the route is through “off-the-grid” wilderness, inaccessible by road.  There is no cell phone coverage, so no worries about checking emails!  You will see views into canyons and over ridges that can’t be seen in any other way.  And you’ll do it relaxing in comfort, away from crowds, with no sounds but the clickity-clack of the wheels, the chugging from the locomotive, and an occasional steam whistle echoing off the mountains.


  1. The train travels at a relaxing top speed of 12 miles an hour. You’ll feel as if you can outrun the train and actually, many people can.  The world’s fastest runner, Usain Bolt, can sprint twice as fast as the train moves.  But that’s the beauty of it!  As you travel through aspen groves and meadows of wildflowers there is time to relax and enjoy the scenery, look for wildlife (deer, elk and even bears have been seen from the train), and peer down 600-feet into canyons and rivers far below.


  1. You can move around. The Cumbres & Toltec is not a tourist train.  It is a National Historic Landmark that moves.  You can ride outdoors on the gondola car, smell the smoke, open the windows, or ride between cars, holding on to the railing as you come around long curves where you can take photos of the steaming locomotive far up ahead.


  1. You can enjoy the scenery in comfort. The Cumbres & Toltec offers different classes of seating, including deluxe seating in the parlor car.  There are bathrooms on every train, and there is a concession car where you can enjoy snacks, local craft beer and cocktails.  Midway, trains from both directions stop at beautiful Osier Station for a delicious hot lunch of roast turkey, savory meatloaf, or soup and salad.


  1. You can learn about the flora, fauna, geology, history and wildlife you see while traveling. Docents on board will explain what caused the strange geologic formations you travel through.  They’ll point out the different trees and flowers, help spot wildlife, and talk about the history of the railroad and Colorado and New Mexico.  You’ll not only have an adventure in comfort, you’ll come away with a better understanding of all the scenic beauty there is to behold.


And don’t forget, in the fall, the Cumbres & Toltec passes through some of the most spectacular aspen groves in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.  There is simply no more interesting way to enjoy fall colors in the Rockies than on board this train.