Gila Cliff Dwellings National
HC 68 Box 100
Silver City, New Mexico 88061
Gila Visitor Center
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument offers a
glimpse into the homes and lives of the Mogollon
people who lived in this area over 700 years ago.
Take State Highway 15 north from Silver City.
Although the distance from Silver City is only 44
miles, the travel time is approximately two hours
due to twisting and winding mountain terrain. An
alternative route from Silver City is along State
Highway 35 and goes through the Mimbres Valley. Even
though it is 25 miles longer than Highway 15, it is
less winding, wider, more level, and easier to
travel; therefore it takes about the same amount of
time to drive.
Things to Do
Activities in the Monument include bird
watching, fishing, hiking, interpretive programs,
nature walks, stargazing, and wildlife viewing.
Activities in the wilderness include backpacking,
bird watching, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback
riding, stargazing, and wildlife viewing.
Guided tours of the Cliff Dwellings are offered
twice daily, at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Memorial
Day weekend through Lador Day weekend, and once
daily at 12:00 p.m. (noon), the remainder of the
year. Please note that the tours start at the Cliff
Dwellings and it takes about one half hour to walk
up from the trail head.
Other tours and programs may be offered depending
upon staffing availability. Check ahead for times
and other activities by calling the Gila Visitor
Center at 575-536-9461 or visit the on-line calendar
of scheduled events.
Hiking in the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness
areas are popular activities in the area. Call ahead
for weather conditions and backcountry water
There are several popular hot springs in the
area. The closest wilderness hot spring,
Lightfeather, is a twenty minute walk from the Gila
Visitor Center. The most popular is Jordan, a 6 or 8
mile hike from the Visitor Center, depending upon
the trail head used. Private hot springs are also
located in the community of Gila Hotsprings, four
miles from the Monument.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is located
in the Gila Wilderness within the Gila National
Forest. Within a few miles of the Cliff Dwellings,
elevations range from around 5,700 to 7,300 feet
above sea level.
In the immediate vicinity of the Cliff Dwellings,
elevations range from 5,700 to about 6,000 feet. The
terrain is rugged, with steep-sided canyons cut by
shallow rivers and forested with ponderosa pine,
Gambel's oak, Douglas fir, New Mexico juniper, pinon
pine, and alligator juniper (among others).
The climate is usually dry with July and August
as the rainy months. During the rainy months there
is a possibility of short but intense rain each day.
Monthly rainfall can vary from almost three inches
in August to a third of an inch in May, the driest
month. Precipitation in winter ranges from about
half an inch per month to an inch and a half.
During the summer daytime highs average in the
90s (F) while nighttime lows can reach into the 50s
(F). During the winter daytime highs can be in the
50s (F), while nighttime lows can reach into the
The most common large mammals encountered are
mule deer and elk. Black bear and mountain lion are
in the area, but are seldom seen. Coyotes can
sometimes be heard at night. Because the Gila
National Forest plays a role in the reintroduction
of the Mexican gray wolf.
Wolves may be in the area, but encountering them
would be rare. The most common birds in the vicinity
of the monument are vultures, ravens, crows, hawks,
hummingbirds, and various songbirds.
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