Road Trip: Cimarron, New Mexico

 by Michael Satterfield

Cimarron, New Mexico is not really a place that a lot of people go to anymore. I have to admit that I was only headed down this deserted road in Northern New Mexico because my Great Grandparents had once lived out in the remote town of Springer, and Cimarron was a destination they spoke fondly about. Plus I have driven just about every route between Los Angeles and Denver, so I try to find ways to make it a little different each time.

The area is peppered with ranches owned by the wealthy and famous, so I was expecting a quaint well maintained little town, similar to Taos. The Cimarron area is home to  the Chase Ranch, where they say the Marlboro Man's came from, Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch, Waite Phillips' once owned the UU Bar Ranch, the Clearview Ranch of the western singer/songwriter R.W. Hampton, just to name a few of the notable properties.

Sadly I was disappointed, as it was getting close to lunchtime I was hoping to find a small town with great food. What I found was a time bypassed by the highway and mostly forgotten. Like so many towns the traffic had shifted to the Interstates and no one was passing through town anymore. Abandoned hotels and signs pointing to long-shuttered restaurants were all I found. I did find an open restaurant, it was at the only proper hotel in town if you are looking for choices you will have to push on down the road. The area is full of beautiful mountains, streams, and is still popular with RV campers looking to get away from the city.

Where to Stay:

The historic St. James Hotel worth a visit and if you are going to stay the night the only real choice in town. The Earp brothers, Buffalo Bill Cody, Lew Wallace, Zane Grey all stayed at the St. James. Even outlaws like Jesse James and Black Jack Ketchum rested in the hotel.

Award-winning burritos... but only during the summer time

What to Eat:

The St. James Hotel is the best restaurant in town as well, it has a great American Steakhouse menu.

During the Summer the Burrito Banquet

Many of the other small mom and pop restaurants in town keep odd hours or are only open seasonally, so be sure to pack some snacks.\

What to Do:

Cimarron Area Ranches and the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge
Capulin Volcano, Folsom Man, and Johnson Mesa
Cimarron Canyon, Taos, and the Enchanted Circle
The Southern Colorado Rockies and the Highway of Legends
Day Trip to Philmont Scout Ranch

Here is a link to more info on these attractions: CLICK HERE