Weekend Escape: Looking for solitude? That’s the lure of Los Ojos, N.M.

Los Ojos, New Mexico

The aptly named Don Shepherd tends to sheep in a field just outside the village of Los Ojos, N.M.

(Jay Jones)

Molly Manzanares thinks the remoteness of Los Ojos, N.M., is both good and bad. “It’s a blessing because people feel they’ve discovered us, but it’s also a curse because we’re not on a main road,” she said of the town about 90 miles north of Santa Fe. Los Ojos (population 125) is a reminder of the early 1900s, when sheep outnumbered people in northern New Mexico and women spent the long winters weaving. The tab: $290 for one night, including meals, at the Lodge at Chama, and $35 for lunch at High Country.

The bed

The two local options are just six miles from each other, yet worlds apart. The Tierra Wools Guest House (91 Main St., Los Ojos; [575] 588-7231, provides modest accommodations and incredible solitude. The two-bedroom main casita is $95 a night in high season (May-October) and $90 in low. The one-bedroom is $75 and $70, respectively. The Lodge at Chama (16253 U.S. 84, Chama; [575] 756-2133, offers a posh experience favored by celebrities, corporate executives and politicians seeking what general manager Frank Simms described as “privacy, quality and exclusivity.” Rooms from $290 per person per night, including meals and bar.

The meal


Head to Chama — 15 miles north of Los Ojos and the “big city” in these parts — for a variety of dining choices. The High Country Restaurant (2289 N.M. 17, Chama; [575] 756-2384, serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. The dinner menu includes a chile relleno platter ($9.95), pan-fried trout ($10.95) and garlic shrimp in pequin chile sauce ($14.95).

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The find

In Los Ojos, it’s all about the wool. In better times, the century-old wooden building that’s home to Tierra Wools was a store catering to the area’s many sheep farmers. Antonio and Molly Manzanares raise the Navajo-Churro breed. The prized wool from their 900 sheep is spun into yarn and dyed just a few steps from where it’s sold. Thirty-five area weavers sell a variety of goods, including colorful blankets, rugs, shawls and caps. And, as a sign out front notes, they also sell fresh cuts of lamb.


The lesson learned

Tierra Wools and the striking interior of the local Catholic church are about all there is to see in Los Ojos, so a couple of hours is ample unless you’re taking a weaving class (a five-day session is $525). Plan to spend a day aboard the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (500 S. Terrace Ave., Chama; [888] 286-2737,; season ends Oct. 18.). During the 64-mile trip from Chama to Antonito, Colo., the train crosses the state line 11 times.


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