Raton is on Interstate 25, a main north-south artery in the Rocky Mountain region, just south of Raton Pass. Access from the south is usually straightforward, but the pass can be rough going during winter storms, with the possibility of closures for short times.
Raton was a waypoint on the Santa Fe Trail, and there are some historic sites in town. Check out the town museum at 216 S. First St., +1 505 445-8979, not only for exhibits and artifacts at the museum itself, but also for guidance to other historic sites.
Pappa's Sweet Shop, 1201 S. 2nd St., +1 505 445-9811. M-Sa 11-2, 5-9; closed major holidays. Not just a candy store (although it is that, and a good one), but also quite a good source of standard American fare; the salads are excellent. Pleasant atmosphere in the dining room in back, which you don't see at first glance when you walk in; don't be fooled by your initial reactions.
Best Western Sands, 300 Clayton Road, +1 505 445-2737. Rooms from $55, higher in summer. Convenient to I-25 (exit 451).
Comfort Inn, 533 Clayton Road, +1 505 445-4200. Another motorist-oriented franchise close to I-25.
South of Raton, the Santa Fe Trail follows US 64 for several miles en route to the small town of Cimarron. While the Trail itself isn't much to look at on this segment (few authentic ruts are visible), the drive is scenic, and west of Cimarron the highway enters the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains with many fine views and hiking opportunities on the way to Taos.