Willow Springs stage station once provided respite at the southern base of Raton Pass for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail’s mountain cutoff. In 1879, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway set rails over the pass from Colorado and their division point became the City of Raton, New Mexico. Later, Interstate 25 connected Denver and Albuquerque–I’ve stopped many times with the kids at the McDonalds in Raton, about half way between the two cities.
One of my first projects at my new job has been helping the City update their Comprehensive Plan. The photo above is a perspective of the city from Goat Hill, looking east across downtown and the old rail yards towards the High Plains. It’s worth getting of I-25 and checking out Main Street.
BSA’s Philmont Scout Ranch is a few miles southwest of Raton, and many Scout Troops arrive & depart by Amtrak at the Raton Station (when the NM Governor lets the camp operate). There is great hiking, camping and boating nearby, at Sugarite Canyon State Park to the east and up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the west. Fishers Peak just across the state line is becoming Colorado’s newest state park as well.