|Pagosa Country is a land of variety and contrasts. No part of Pagosa Country typifies this description more than Chromo, a community nestled at the foot of the Southern San Juan Mountains.
Reach Chromo by driving down U.S. 84 in a southeasterly direction from Pagosa Springs, a distance of about 24 miles.
Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a number of wonderful vacation destinations.
About three miles south of town, you’ll pass Echo Lake with its exciting cold- and warm-water fishery. If you continue south, within a couple of miles you’ll see the sign inviting you to visit Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, home to an array of live animals typical of local wildlife including black bears, a grizzly bear, mountain lions, wolves, coyote, foxes, bobcats, elk and deer.
After leaving the wildlife park, if you continue south you will pass the entrances to several side roads — all of them dead-end, but all offering an opportunity for more spectacular Pagosa Country mountain vistas.
The turnoff for Forest Service Road 657 leading to the Upper Blanco River Basin is about seven miles south of town. About 10 miles south of town is Forest Service Road 652 leading to the Lower Blanco River Basin.
If you continue south along U.S. 84, you’ll enjoy the winding drive through Halfway Canyon and on to wide-open Coyote Park. Much of this portion of the road retraces the pioneer stagecoach route into town. If you look closely, you’ll see the bed of a narrow gauge railroad track long since abandoned. You could turn right at Coyote Park and drive to Lumberton in New Mexico, the stagecoach destination.
After leaving Coyote Park, you cross a small mountain range. At the top of the range is another dead-end road leading east to Buckles and Harris lakes. Finally, after driving past some awesome green horse pastures, you cross the Navajo River and find yourself in front of Chromo Mercantile.
You can get directions at Chromo Mercantile to guide you to the natural features of the area. The folks at Chromo Mercantile can also fix you up with fishing necessities, including directions on where to find the big fish you don’t want to get away.
While in Chromo, drive a few miles up County Road 382 for a close look at Navajo Peaks, one of the most highly acclaimed camera points in Archuleta County.
Chromo is one of the best places in Pagosa Country for gaining access to the South San Juan Wilderness Area. During spring and fall, when elk and deer are migrating to and from the high country, a number of migration routes cross the road. A sharp-eyed driver might spot a few animals or a large herd of either of these Pagosa Country residents.
It you get a chance while in Pagosa Springs, visit Chromo. Allow plenty of time, because there is plenty to see.