Ghost Ranch (September 25-27, 2023)

Overview | Ghost Ranch Lodging Getting There | Ride Sharing | Tours Train Ride | Chama Lodging | About Ghost Ranch | Resources | Maps | Books | Photography


This fall, the Plano Photography Club will travel to Ghost Ranch (wikipediaphotos | map), a 21,000-acre retreat and education center located close to the village of Abiquiú in Rio Arriba County in north central New Mexico. It was the home and studio of Georgia O'Keeffe, as well as the subject of many of her paintings.

The landscape of Ghost Ranch encompasses towering rock walls, vivid colors and vast skies. People from all over the world come to work together in creation care, to paint, to write poetry, to hike, ride horseback, to research globally renowned archaeological and fossil quarries or simply to rest and renew their spirits.

Ghost Ranch Lodging


Event Dates: Monday, September 25, 2023 through Wednesday, September 27, 2023 (three nights); checkout will be on Thursday morning, September 28, 2023.

Additional Non-Private Rooms Now Available

Room with Communal Bath

Though we have filled our private room allotment for the Ghost Ranch trip (you can still add your name to a waitlist for any cancellations), we now have another option for members interested in going along for the adventure.

Starting now and subject to availability there are a few ROOM WITH COMMUNAL BATH (i.e., dormitory) rooms available on a first-come, first-served basis.

These rooms HAVE NOT been reserved by the club and are available to the public at large. If you are interested, we recommend that you act quickly.

Estimated Cost: $448 room and board PER PERSON ($330 lodging/$118 meals) for 3 days.

You will be required to pay a one-night non-refundable deposit for each person at the time of reservation.

IMPORTANT: THOSE WHO ARE RESERVING NON-PRIVATE ROOMS AND THOSE WHO ARE STAYING IN RV SITES/OFF-PROPERTY will also need to register with the PPC to be included in all club-planned Ghost Ranch events/activities. Private room registrants do not have to take any additional action.



About the Rooms

  • Most units provide breathtaking vistas of colorful sandstone cliffs, cottonwoods and distant mountains. Some you may have to step out your door and turn left or right a tad.
  • Rooms do not have air conditioning but most have fans.
  • Sleeping rooms are free from phones, televisions, internet and alarm clocks.
  • Cell phone service is very limited and Wi-Fi access is available only at certain spots around the ranch.
  • All lodging options are within walking distance of classroom buildings, the Dining Hall, Library and other structures via non-paved roads, expect loose gravel and uneven terrain.
  • Expect a ten-minute walk from most rooms and if walking leisurely, fifteen to twenty minutes from the campground.
  • All buildings at Ghost Ranch are non-smoking.

Getting There


Ghost Ranch Ride Share Signup
  Ride Sharing

Ghost Ranch is located 65 miles northwest of Santa Fe (forty miles beyond Española) on U.S. 84 between mile markers 224 and 225.

Physical Address: 280 Private Drive 1708, Abiquiu, NM, 87510-2001.

Google Maps: Use 280 Private Drive 1708, Highway 84, Abiquiu, NM 87510-2001 as the address.

If you are driving north from Española, stay on Highway 84 until you pass the Abiquiu Reservoir/Lake. The gate is on your right about 7 to 10 minutes after you first see the lake on your left.

If You Drive

Maps to Ghost Ranch

Please see the instructions below if driving to Ghost Ranch.

NOTE: Interested in carpooling to Ghost Ranch? Please check out our Ghost Ranch Ride Sharing page.

From Santa Fe

  • Take US 84/285 North to Española (approx. 25 miles).
  • Upon descending the hill into Espanola, get into the LEFT lane. Very shortly after entering Española city limits you will see signs for ’84 N. TRUCK ROUTE’,
  • Turn LEFT onto the 84 N. Truck Route, and move into the RIGHT lane.
  • Proceed to LOS ALAMOS HIGHWAY and turn RIGHT and get into the LEFT lane.
  • Turn LEFT at the next intersection with the traffic lights, this again will be 84 North.
  • Ghost Ranch is 14 miles northwest of Abiquiu.
  • Continue on 84 North until you pass Abiquiu Lake on the left of Highway 84 between mile markers 224 and 225. Due to traffic and possible construction, etc., allow at least 1 and 1/2 hours travel time.

From Taos

  • Take State Road 68 south to Española (approximately 35 miles).
  • In Española follow signs for US 84 North.
  • Take a right turn to go over any of the three (3) bridges over the Rio Grande, following the signs toward Abiquiu or Chama.
  • Again, look for Ghost Ranch, on the right off US 84 North, 14 miles northwest of Abiquiu between mile markers 224 and 225.
  • Due to traffic and possible construction, etc., allow at least 2 hours travel time.

If You Fly

The nearest major airport is in Albuquerque, 65 miles south of Santa Fe. It is approximately an hour’s drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and an hour and a half between Santa Fe and Ghost Ranch.

Allow at least two and a half hours driving time between Albuquerque and Ghost Ranch (not counting connections or waiting time).

Plan Your Own Route

Plan your route to Ghost Ranch with this free online service which does not require registration. Perhaps you can discover alternate routes with more interesting stops along the way.

If your home city is not listed below, just click on any of these links and change the starting point.

Top Trips to Ghost Ranch (Abiquiu) from:

-- Source:

Other Road Trip Planning Tools

Post-Ghost Ranch

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Train Ride

Cumbres & Toltec

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (wikipedia | brochurephotos | maptrip map detail) - owned by the states of Colorado and New Mexico - is a National Historic Landmark. At 64 miles in length, it is the longest, highest, and most authentic steam railroad in North America, traveling through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rocky Mountain West. 

During its six-and-a-half hour journey from Chama, NM to Antonito, CO, the train crosses the two state borders 11 times. On the trip it chugs its way up and over the 10,015′ high Cumbres Pass (photos), zigzagging along canyon walls, burrowing through two tunnels, and steaming over 137-foot Cascade Trestle (photos).

All trains steam along through deep forests of aspens and evergreens, across high plains filled with wildflowers, and through a rocky gorge of remarkable geologic formations. Deer, antelope, elk, fox, eagles and even bear are frequently spotted on this family friendly, off-the grid adventure.

Departure Location: Chama, New Mexico (approximately 45 miles north of Ghost Ranch) | map | how to get there)

Date: Thursday, September 28, 2023 (the departure day from Ghost Ranch)
Meetup Time: 9:00 AM at Chama Station (photos)
Train Departure Time: 10:00 AM for Antonito, Colorado
Return Arrival Time at Chama Station (via bus): 6:00 PM

$270 Parlor Car (each person [21+] has their own window) 
$215 Deluxe Car (café style seating / table of 2, both people have a window or table of 4, only 2 of the 4 people have a window) 
$155 Coach Car (bus style seating / 2 to a seat / seats are cushioned / only 1 person is next to a window)

All cabins offer dropdown windows. Regardless of cabin chosen, all have access to the Gondola (flatbed) car for photography shooting. Lunch is included.

All that are interested are responsible for making their own reservations.

SPECIAL NOTES: This is the high-season for the train ride; you should book your ride ASAP. When purchasing tickets, choose the All Aboard Chama Train then Bus option. According to internet research, the right side of the train has the best views when traveling from Chama to Antonito.

Photography Restrictions: Tripods are not allowed but monopods are acceptable.

The Experience

Scenic Highlights

Ten Things You Need To Know

Top Five Reasons This Is The Best Way To See The Beauty Of The Rocky Mountains 

Frequently Asked Questions

Video Resources

NOTE: Other activities are being considered; please continue to visit this page for updates.

Chama Lodging

After returning to Chama from the scenic train ride, you may choose to spend an additional night in New Mexico before heading back home to North Texas.

The lodging information below was assembled by club member Janice Goetz. We hope you find it useful.

Bed & Breakfasts

Cardin’s Crossing 575-756-2542 800-852-6400
Casita de Candelaria AirB&B.Com Los Ojos, NM
Dancing Wolf Resort 575-756-2963 855-682-4108
Encanto Lodge & Casita 575-756-0505
TheLightheart Inn 575-756-1370
The Parlor Car 575-756-1946 888-846-7800
The Victorian B&B 575-756-2675

Cabins, Lodges, Motels/Hotels, and RV

Abiquiu Inn (Abiquiu, NM) 505-685-4378 Little Rock House on Maple 575-756-1957
Branding Iron 575-756-2162 800-446-2650 River Bend Lodge & RV Park 575-756-2264
Brazos Lodge & Rentals 575-588-7707
Chama Station Inn 575-756-2315
Chama Trails Inn 575-756-2156
Corkin's Lodge 575-588-7261 The Hotel & Shops 575-756-2416 800-982-8679
Cumbres Suites 575-756-9139 877-756-9139


About Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch Red Rock Cliffs and Clouds

About an hour and a half north from Santa Fe, you enter the landscape of vast vistas, table-topped mesas, tall cliffs, the Rio Chama bordered by huge old cottonwood trees, mountains in the distance and more beauty around every bend in the winding road.

Open year-round, the Ranch is committed to spiritual development, peace and justice, honoring the environment and exploring family through the celebration of art, culture and nature. People from all over the world come to work together in creation care, to paint, write poetry, to hike, ride horseback, to research globally renowned archaeological and fossil quarries or simply to rest and renew their spirits.

Ghost Ranch got its name from cattle rustlers who hid their stolen goods in the area's canyons. "El Rancho de los Brujos" -"Ranch of the Witches" - mutated into Ghost Ranch and the turn off to the ranch was marked by an animal skull. Originally bought by Arthur Pack, one of the country's first environmentalists, he sold a piece to Georgia O'Keeffe. The ranch became a safe haven for scientists working on the nuclear bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico and was sold to the Presbyterian Church in 1955.

The Ranch Our Story Who We Are
  • The Land
  • Sustainability
  • Abiquiú
  • Videos
  • The Future
  • The Past
  • About Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Timeline
  • Our Mission
  • Our Staff
  • Governance


    NOTE: This page will be updated with additional information as we get closer to the trip.


    Ghost Ranch Maps

    Ghost Ranch Illustrative Map (PDF) (Ghost Ranch)

    Ghost Ranch Map (Mapcarta)

    Free Ghost Ranch 7.5 Mile Topo Map (Pickatrail)

    Ghost Ranch Trails Map (PDF) (AztecNM)

    Ghost Ranch Topo Map New Mexico (YellowMaps)

    US Geological Survey Map of Ghost Ranch (PDF) (USGS)


    Ghost Ranch and Georgia O'Keeffe

    Valley of Shining Stone: The Story of Abiquiu (Lesley Poling-Kempes)
    North by northwest from old Santa Fe is the winding road to Abiquiu (ah-be-cue'), Ghost Ranch, and el Valle de la Piedra Lumbre, the Valley of Shining Stone: mythical names in a near-mythical place, captured for the ages in the famous paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe.

    Ghost Ranch (Lesley Poling-Kempes)
    Building on the history of the Abiquiu region that she told in Valley of Shining Stone, Ghost Ranch historian Lesley Poling-Kempes unfolds the story of this celebrated retreat. She traces its transformation from el Rancho de los Brujos, a hideout for legendary outlaws, to a renowned cultural mecca and one of the Southwest’s premier conference centers.

    Georgia O'Keeffe and Her Houses: Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu (Barbara Buhler Lynes, Agapita Judy Lopez)
    Georgia O’Keeffe’s two houses in New Mexico—at Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch—are essential elements in her paintings, but their history has never before been detailed. Quoting liberally from the artist’s letters, Barbara Buhler Lynes and Agapita Judy Lopez create a vibrant picture of O’Keeffe (1887–1986) and her homes, which have long intrigued the public.

    Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby (Craig Varjabedian)
    For more than twenty years, Craig Varjabedian has explored and photographed the red cliffs and sweeping plains of the fabled 21,000-acre Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. In Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby, he shares more than one hundred new black-and-white photographs capturing its evanescent light.

    Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch: A Photo-Essay (John Loengard)
    The American artist Georgia O'Keeffe had been living alone on the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico for seventeen years when photographer John Loengard, on assignment for Life magazine, visited her there in 1966. Adamant about her privacy and about the parts of her life she consented to have photographed, O'Keeffe, then eighty years old, proved a challenging but rewarding subject. Striking in their simplicity and bold composition, the fifty photographs in this classic volume - arranged in sequence from sunrise to sunset - record a day in the life not of a renowned painter, but of a woman living alone in a lonely setting.

    Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

    Saving the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (Spencer Wilson, Wes Pfarner)
    The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad has operated for more than four decades as a tourist ride over the breathtaking Cumbres Pass, ten thousand feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains. The sixty-four miles of the former San Juan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway were saved twice by volunteers from the railroad graveyard. New Mexico historian and C&TSRR commissioner and spokesman Spencer Wilson offers an insider's account of this triumphant tale of historical preservationists succeeding on an impressive scale.

    Ticket to Toltec: A mile by mile guide for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (Doris B Osterwald)
    This new edition of Ticket to Toltec gives a greater expanded view of the history and operation of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad since 1970. It offers a window for the reader to enjoy a ride on what has been described as one of America's best working museums.

    Cumbres & Toltec: A Photographic Tribute to America's Most Spectacular Scenic Railway (Sam Furukawa)
    The history of the line, originally built by the Denver & Rio Grande in 1880, has been covered in dozens of books. Instead of more history, this volume seeks to show what the C&TS looks like today. While you'll find plenty of photos of locomotives and trains, you'll also find pictures made to evoke the vastness of the scenery that surrounds them.



    Ghost Ranch Photography Policy

    Complete Photography, Filming, and Drones Guidelines (PDF)

    Guest and Personal Use

    Personal photos may be taken by guests, visitors, students, volunteers, faculty, staff and all other ranch visitors so long as:

    • They are used exclusively for personal non-commercial purposes.
    • The taking of such photos is consistent with our policy.
    • They do not interfere with the ongoing operations of the Ranch.
    • They do not infringe on the privacy of fellow guests.

    Social Media

    Social media posts for non-commercial purposes are welcome and appreciated. We encourage you to share your moments of awe, and joy, and tranquility and adventure and are thankful for your efforts. Please tag #GhostRanch on Facebook and Twitter and #ghostranchorg on Instagram.

    Please be sue to adhere to the following guidelines:

    • The photos are used exclusively for personal non-commercial purposes.
    • They do not interfere with the ongoing operations of the Ranch.
    • They do not infringe on the privacy of fellow guests.
    • Please note, the use of photographs created during social media events are limited to posting on the social media platform. Any additional uses outside of the event require advance written notice and the agreement of Ghost Ranch.


    Sample Photos (Internet Searches)

    Use these sample queries to start your planning for the best photo spots; adjust the search terms as needed.

    Ghost Ranch

    Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad


    Sunrise and Sunset Times

    Date Location Sunrise Time Sunset Time
    September 25, 2023 Abiquiú 6:55 AM 6:57 PM
    September 26, 2023 Abiquiú 6:56 AM 6:56 PM
    September 27, 2023 Abiquiú 6:57 AM 6:54 PM
    September 28, 2023 Chama 6:59 AM 6:54 PM
    September 29, 2023 Chama 6:59 AM 6:52 PM


    Night Photography Resources and Tools

    These were discussed in Anita Oakley's August 2022 presentation on Night Photography.

    • Dark Sky Finder - Mobile app that helps you locate nearby dark skies to take a telescope, watch a meteor shower, or simply relax under the stars. See light pollution maps of the entire world, along with dots to indicate good observing locations. Each dark site includes reviews, directions, information, Clear Sky Charts, and more.
    • PhotoPills - Mobile app to assist you in planning your photography adventure. It helps you PLAN your photos ahead of time so you’re always at the right place at the right time to capture the best photo possible.
      • User Guide - online training resource from the people who make PhotoPills; downloadable PDF available
      • Example Videos - accelerate your learning of PhotoPills by seeing how it is used to plan different types of photo shoots
      • Online Calculators 
    • Star Walk 2 - Mobile app that lets you see the real-time interactive sky map on the screen of your phone and enjoy stars, planets, and constellations.


    Submitting Your Images

    We would love to include your best images from activities in a gallery on the club website and as part of a slideshow at a future monthly club meeting. Photos can be submitted for this purpose by following these guidelines:

    • Email up to seven (7) images from the Ghost Ranch field trip to
    • Include your name and the name of the trip in your image file names (e.g., JamesEvans_GhostRanch_1.jpg).
    • The maximum dimension (long edge) for submitted images is 4096 pixels; the maximum file size is 10MB.
    • You may need to divide your images and send them in multiple emails if the total size exceeds the maximum size allowed for a single email message.

    If you have any questions about this event, please contact Club President David Swinney.

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