If you are going to Philmont Scout Ranch you might be wondering if there are other things to do in the area, besides all of the really special things that a person can experience at the Ranch. Philmont does not offer accommodations for individuals who may be travelling with your crew, but there are plenty of places to stay and things to do in the four nearest towns! Starting with the closest town of Cimarron, which is five miles north of Philmont Scout Ranch Headquarters…Cimarron has a population of about 800. The major industries are lumbering, ranching and tourism. There are gas stations, motels, variety and gift stores, a coin laundry, a grocery and convenience store, churches, restaurants, a museum and a library are all located in Cimarron. The next nearest town is Springer which is 25 miles southeast of the ranch and, with a population of about 2,000, is similar to Cimarron. A highlight of any visit to Springer is the Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center and Museum. The building that houses the museum was originally the Colfax County Courthouse. Springer offers the visitor the Brown Hotel, some small restaurants, and a number of service stations.
Another nearby town
The small town of Eagle Nest, which is about 20 miles west of Cimarron, bills itself as the "Gateway to the Enchanted Circle of New Mexico" and features a mountainous highway loop that passes through Taos and Angle Fire. Main Street is home to shops carrying local crafts and fine arts, sculpture, jewelry, antiques, pottery, candy, clothing, souvenirs and more. Several restaurants serve Eagle Nest, and groceries are available at a number of small markets. Overnight visitors can choose from a variety of motels and cabins. The scenic village overlooks the 2,200-acre Eagle Nest Lake and is a paradise for those who love the outdoors. The lake boasts excellent fishing for rainbow trout and Kokanee salmon. Stream fishing is available in nearby Cimarron Canyon State Park. Campers can choose between Carson National Forest, Cimarron Canyon State Park and Colin Neblett State Wildlife Area and Coyote Creek State Park.
The largest city close to Philmont
with a population of about 7,000, is the largest town near Philmont Scout Ranch. It is on Interstate 25, below the historic Raton Pass. The interstate highway crosses the same pass. More than 70 historic sites and live theater are available in Raton's historic district. Dioramas and old photographs are on display in the Raton Museum on First Street. The Wells Fargo Express Office houses the Old Pass Gallery of Western art. Exciting day trips include Capulin Volcano National Monument, the top of which offers views of New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas…The National Rifle Association's Whittington Center, which is one of the country's most comprehensive shooting facilities and features ranges for all disciplines…Sugarite Canyon State Park, where you can fish, camp and hike past the stone foundations of an old mining camp. A wide variety of motels, restaurants and stores are available in Raton. Raton is Philmont's closest Amtrak terminal. TNM&O provides bus service to Raton.
A working narrow gauge steam train ride
Also in the area (about 175 miles to the NW) in Chama, New Mexico is the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. I had a chance to ride this train as a teenager, and still remember the ride! You can climb aboard this train for a 64-mile day trip you’ll never forget. The coal-fired steam engine carries you through steep mountain canyons, high desert, and lush meadows as you zigzag between the Colorado and New Mexico border. The top speed of this railroad is 12 miles per hour, so you won’t miss any of the gorgeous scenery. Also, this is one of the only ways you can see this part of the Rocky Mountains, as the train goes where there are no roads.