This is a very scenic and remote drive that follows the portion of the former Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Narrow Gauge San Juan Division line from Durango to Chama. This section of the historic railroad was abandoned in 1968, and the tracks removed by the early 1970s. Plenty of interesting railroad artifacts survive however; no doubt one of the reasons the states of Colorado and New Mexico have designated it as a scenic byway. Once you drive past Arboles and pick up the dirt roads, the real fun begins. Some great artifacts including truss bridges, water tanks, and at Pagosa Junction (Gato) a section of track and an old gondola car remain. The roads follow the line very closely in this part, at times even on the former right of way. You are following the San Juan River for a long stretch to add to the beauty. Much of the drive is through the Southern Ute and Jicarilla Apache Nations. The side trip to Chimney Rock National Monument is included in the byway designation.
Info and map: www.codot.gov/travel/scenic-byways/scenic-byways/tracks-across-borders
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.