Monday, September 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023
78° F Dallas, TX

Escapes Backpack It Up


For a summer escape to where the air is fresh and clean, and considerably cooler than in Dallas, backpack around the Cumbres Pass area of southern Colorado. Clay Lowder with Backwoods in Preston Center offers a variety of summer outings and custom adventures for anyone who likes the great outdoors underfoot. One trip sure to please departs from Dallas in mid-July and heads out to the small community of Chama, New Mexico, just south of the Colorado border.

Once in Chama, travelers will board the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, North America’s longest and highest narrow-gauge steam railroad.

A refreshing step back into history, this steam train meanders 64 miles through tunnels and over trestles perched above breathtaking gorges. The Cumbres & Toltec was built to serve mining camps in the San Juan Mountains and is the finest remaining example of a network of rail lines that were the commercial life-blood of the Rockies. The train climbs into the San Juan range over the beautiful forested mountain slopes, past groves of pine and aspen trees and through the spectacular Toltec Gorge created by the Los Pinos River.

Backpackers will leave the train at Osier to begin five days of backpacking in the Cumbres Pass area. According to Low-der, “It’s not a strenuous trip and backpackers can pretty much set their own pace. There’s nothing really tough or rugged, but if someone has never been backpacking, I like to take them out on a weekend trip first just so they’ll feel comfortable.” There’s plenty of time for fishing, birdwatching or day hiking.

The prices are very reasonable and include everything from food to train tickets. The only thing not included is individual equipment for each backpacker. Lowder will arrange custom trips for rock-climbing or canoeing to suit the tastes of his customers. Contact Clay Lowder at Backwoods in Preston Center, 363-0372.