In the lush and densley wooded town of Chama, which is nestled at the base of 10,000-foot Cumbre Pass, the railroad has played a vital role since the 1880s, when workers piled into town to construct the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. You can get a sense of this history strolling along the town's main drag, Terrace Avenue, which has a handful of cute shops, cafés, and B&Bs, and by taking a ride on the historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the nation's longest
(and highest) narrow-gauge train excursion. Passengers are transported by beautifully restored, 1920s coal-driven steam engines and 19th-century parlor cars, passing over 10,200-foot Cumbres Pass and through the rugged San Juan Mountains. You chug over ancient trestles, around breathtaking bends, and high above the Los Pinos River—if the terrain looks at all familiar, you may have seen this railroad's "performance" in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Midway through the trip you break for lunch and can switch to a waiting Colorado-based train to complete the 64 mile to Antonito, Colorado (from which you'll be shuttled back by bus), or return from this point on the same train. Themed dinner and sunset rides as well as kids'-oriented "Cinder Bear Express" excursions are offered throughout the season.