The Charms Of Chama
The Trail Rider|March 2017

Ride and camp yearround among majestic elk herds in New Mexico’s Edward Sargent Wildlife Management Area near the historic village of Chama.

Kent & Charlene Krone

Chama, New Mexico, eight miles south of the Colorado border, is a natural magnet for avid trail riders. Tucked between the southern foothills of the San Juan Mountains and western reaches of the Brazos Mountains, riding opportunities here are endless.

We began our riding adventures here in the 20,400-acre Edward Sargent Wildlife Management Area located about a mile from the historic village of Chama.

Wildlife management areas are large tracts of land managed for conservation and recreation. They’re generally more rugged than parks and offer fewer amenities.

The Edward Sargent Wildlife Management Area was established in 1976 by Edward Sargent, a local rancher, sportsman, and conservationist. One of the largest properties managed by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish, this WMA extends all the way to the Colorado border. The focus is on wildlife protection, especially elk, and habitat conservation.

Here, you’ll enjoy magnificent views of high meadows, grassy valleys, and towering hills blanketed with pine trees, cottonwoods, and golden aspen.

Livening up the scene are coyote, wild turkey, mule deer, black bear, and abundant bird life, plus the majestic elk.

The Edward Sargent Wildlife Management Area is open to equestrians year round, but riding is restricted to designated areas from May 15 to June 30 and during established elk hunts. This WMA is a favored corridor for the 3,000 to 5,000 elk that migrate from Colorado to Rio Chama each fall and return in the spring. Several hundred elk remain here year-round because their water, food, and shelter needs are met.

Primitive camping is free, with four large, heavy-duty corrals, but no water. When we needed to refill our water tanks, we bought water from a nearby recreational-vehicle campground.

Chama, New Mexico, is a natural magnet for avid trail riders. Here, Charlene Krone rides Nate through an aspen grove on a ride out of the campground at the Edward Sargent Wildlife Management Area. Below: Kent Krone rides Cowboy cross-country back to camp from Nabor Lake.

Ridge Ride

Hidden valleys came into view as we rode up and down the gently flowing ridge line. Burnished foliage contrasted with golden bracket ferns as they swirled together on the forest floor. Tantalizing trails materialized and beckoned to us, only to fade away as we tried to uncover their secret destinations.

This ridge is ideal for a “design-a-ride.” Ride as far as you’d like. Take whatever trail appeals to your fancy. There’s an entire network of riding trails. It would be fairly difficult to get lost, because you have the ridge, valley, and river to guide you. Just remember to take a warm jacket; at these high elevations, the weather can be unpredictable.

Nabor Lake Ride

On our second ride, we headed to Nabor Lake, a manmade reservoir located a little over 6 miles from our camp. After reading about the lake, we thought it would be a fun spot for a picnic and maybe a little fishing for Gila trout.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM THE TRAIL RIDERView All

Working Vacation

For your next getaway, don your gloves, coil your rope, and become a vital part of a working cattle ranch. Here’s a roundup of nine authentic working ranches to get you started.

7 mins read
The Trail Rider
April 2017

Your Horse's Coggins Test

A negative Coggins test for equine infectious anemia is important — and sometimes required. Here’s what you need to know.

3 mins read
The Trail Rider
April 2017

Which Saddle Is For You?

Find the right saddle for your riding needs with our expert trail-saddle shopping guide.

7 mins read
The Trail Rider
March 2017

The Charms Of Chama

Ride and camp yearround among majestic elk herds in New Mexico’s Edward Sargent Wildlife Management Area near the historic village of Chama.

7 mins read
The Trail Rider
March 2017

Ride For A Cause

Discover how planning a charity/benefit trail ride can be good for the soul.

6 mins read
The Trail Rider
March 2017

12 Trailering Myths: Busted!

Learn the truth behind 12 common trailering myths to help keep your horse safe on the road.

6 mins read
The Trail Rider
March 2017

Spirit Of The Black Hills

The 11,000-acre Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, near Rapid City, South Dakota, is home to small herds of rare Spanish Mustangs. We take you on an inside tour of this windswept sanctuary.

8 mins read
The Trail Rider
JanuaryFebruary 2017

Ground Work At Liberty

Work your horse at liberty to build his trust, enhance his responsiveness under saddle, and boost your confidence. Top trainer/ clinician Julie Goodnight shows you how.

10 mins read
The Trail Rider
JanuaryFebruary 2017

Hoof-Chip Prevention Tips

Learn how to prevent chipped, brittle hooves in your horse with these expert guidelines.

3 mins read
The Trail Rider
November/December 2016

Become a CHA-Certified Instructor

From passion to professionalism: Grow your dream of becoming an equine-industry professional. 

4 mins read
The Trail Rider
November/December 2016
RELATED STORIES

VITA LUKSTINA

"SELF-PORTRAIT"

3 mins read
Art Market
Issue #60 June 2021

THE FOUR AMERICAS

COMPETING VISIONS OF THE COUNTRY’S PURPOSE AND MEANING ARE TEARING IT APART. IS RECONCILIATION POSSIBLE?

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
July - August 2021

Yael Dryzin

Yael Dryzin Born in 1986, lives and works in Israel and Greece. Graduate of Art Studies at Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem (2014).

3 mins read
Art Market
Issue #60 June 2021

PULLING COUNT

MY SIX MONTHS ON THE LINE IN A DODGE CITY MEATPACKING PLANT

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
July - August 2021

Richard MacDonald Icons

What does it mean to be iconic? Surely it is beyond the scope of mere talent or fame and encompasses something that closely resembles an apex of the human experience.

2 mins read
Art Market
Issue #60 June 2021

The Trees Are Talking

Pioneering research has revealed how social cooperation thrives in the forest.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
July - August 2021

REZA RAHIMI LASKO ORIENTAL ISLAMIC ART

Reza Rahimi Lasko was born in 1979 in Iran. At the age of 12, he started his official art studies. The most important encouragement came from his mother, who sent him to begin his professional education by Mr. Majid Arvari in 1997.

2 mins read
Art Market
Issue #60 June 2021

The World Kodak Made

The tech giant of the 20th century changed the way Americans saw themselves and their country— and built the city where it made its home. Now Kodak and Rochester are trying to reinvent themselves, and escape their history.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
July - August 2021

OZLEM KALMAZ

THE ORGANIC MOVEMENT

5 mins read
Art Market
Issue #60 June 2021

The Weird Science of Edgar Allan Poe

Known as a master of horror, he also understood the power—and the limits—of empiricism.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
July - August 2021