This Scenic Drive is in NewMexicoOutdoor.com Country!
This drive takes you up the Chama River Valley past the hills and landscapes that were inspirational for artist Georgia O’Keeffe and many of her famous paintings.
Travel north from Española on US 84 to Abiquiu, a small hamlet on the "Rio Chama." A detour on NM 96 takes you to Abiquiu Lake, a popular fishing and boating area. If you can spare one hour you can join the Georgia O’Keeffe and the Ghost Landscape tour guiding you through the area she loved, explored, painted, and lived in.
On to the Ghost Ranch conference center, a rare find with its paleontology and anthropology museums. Just beyond this is the Christ-in-the-Desert Monastery (Benedictine). Lay persons are welcome for weekend retreats (reservations required). The Ghost Ranch Piedra Lumbre Visitor Center is located on US 84 just north of the main Ghost Ranch entrance. This is an interesting place to stop and enjoy new exhibits in the rotating gallery, permanent and traveling exhibits from the New Mexico Natural History Museum, and pick up a souvenir in the gift shop.
Continue north on US 84, past the Echo Theatre Campground to the scenic village of Los Ojos (“The Springs”), a detour on NM 95. Here you will find Tierra Wools, where the public is invited to see weavers, spinners, and dyers at work creating yarn and hand woven goods from wool gathered from the local flock. A detour to the west takes you to Heron and El Vado lakes, both popular recreation areas.
Continue north past Los Brazos. The Brazos Cliffs to the east are worth the short side trip, at 11,403 feet, Brazos Peak is one of the states loftiest. Your Abiquiu outing ends at Chama, a rough-and-ready old western town filled with quaint Victorian cottages.
Far and away the town's biggest attraction is the coal-burning Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Operating from mid-May through mid-October, the narrow-gauge train takes passengers north into Colorado, then back to Chama (a one-day trip).
Abiquiu, once the home of Georgia O'Keeffe, is a small picturesque hamlet on the Rio Chama. A detour on NM 96 takes you to Abiquiu Dam & Reservoir, a popular fishing and boating area.
Echo Canyon Amphitheater near Abiquiu is a monumental natural formation of wind-carved sandstone. A detour west from here takes you to the Benedictine Christ in the-Desert Monastery
The Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert near Abiquiu is a must for those seeking beauty and complete solitude. There is a book and gift shop open to the public. Guests are invited to stay overnight with advance reservations. (Note that two things not allowed here: dogs or short pants.) For more information call 505-470-4515 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting505-470-4515end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
Santa Rosa de Abiquiu (rosa de lima): This site is off US Highway 84 just south of Abiquiu. The ruins are the remnants of the original Spanish settlement. Santa Rosa de Abiquiu was built in the 1730's, abandoned in 1748 because of Indian raids, resettled in 1750, and again abandoned when the population moved into the Genizaro pueblo (current Abiquiu pueblo). Call 505-685-4462 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting505-685-4462end_of_the_skype_highlighting for the parish in Abiquiu.
The starkly beautiful and austere Georgia O'Keeffe home in Abiquiu is now open to the public on a very limited basis. For information on reservations call 505-685-4539 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting505-685-4539end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
The O'Keeffe Home is open to visitors, by strict appointment only. Call 505- 685-4539 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting505- 685-4539end_of_the_skype_highlighting for reservations. No photographing is permitted.
Photo Instructions: Remember the Abiquiu Village is located on private land similar to an Indian Pueblo so please follow pueblo etiquette and do not take photographs of people or buildings without obtaining permission first.
Scenic Drive & Map By: http://NorthCentralNM.com
Amazingly, because our county is so big, Chama is still in Rio Arriba County. We go to Chama often as it's a Village in New Mexico more out of the Colorado landscape and thinking ..more than New Mexico, in our opinions. It's about a 70 mile drive for us.
Chama's bread and butter is the Cumbres-Toltec Railroad, a Narrow Guage, old style steam type the in Spring-Summer-Fall, conducts daily trips up to Antonito Colorado thru some of the most awe inspiring landscape scenery New Mexico and/or Colorado has to offer. And back! :)
Meanwhile, Chama is a quaint Village of only a thousand or so with a nice main thoroughfare full of shops, galleries, fudge makers and a hotel right out of the 19th century.
Chama is a mecca for cross country skiing in Winter as well!
What we enjoy immensely was the cowboy show at the Elkhorn Lodge right next to the Chama River held each Saturday Night in Summer and starring 'Wiley Jim', a VERY talented singer-musician ballad-ere who also performs in and around the Plaza in Santa Fe.
It begins at Espanola, from the South or Chama, from the North and includes some special scenic waypoints near Abiquiu, including us! All of these scenic waypoints have pages devoted to them on this website. You need MapSource to view..or download to your Garmin GPS.