New Mexico Road Trips: Exploring the Gila National Forest

Gila National Forest New MexicoThis is the first in a new series of posts about great New Mexico Road Trips. I’ve lived in this area for most of my life, and I’ve always enjoy exploring all the great destinations that are just a short road trip from Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The first New Mexico Road Trip destination I’d like to introduce you to is the Gila National Forest located in the Eastern part of New Mexico near Silver City.

Like much of New Mexico, the Gila National Forest is rich history.  The Mogollon and Apache Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans, ranchers, prospectors and miners all made their mark and walked the trails of the Gila. Place names like Raw Meat Canyon, Tepee Canyon and Grave Canyon tell the tales of the past.

Gila Cliff Dwellings
Photo by Ben Vilmer

The Gila National Forest is also home to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.  There you can catch a unique glimpse of the homes and lives of the Mongollon Indians who lived there more than 700 years ago.  The Cliff Dwellings is a great destination for the whole family.  Be sure to watch the great video below for more information about visiting the Cliff Dwellings.

Gila Cliff Dwellings
Photo by Ben Vilmer

Another thing that makes the Gila National Forest unique is its wilderness. The Gila, Aldo Leopold, and Blue Range Wildernesses offer unparallel hiking and horseback riding. The Gila Wilderness was the nation’s first designated wilderness area, established in 1924.  Former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once said of the area, “Wilderness helped preserve man’s capacity for wonder … the power to feel, if not see, the miracles of life, of beauty, and of harmony around us.”

The San Francisco, Gila, and Mimbres Rivers, the Catwalk, Pueblo Park Campground, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Mogollon Baldy, Castle Rock, Eagle Peak Mountain, Emory Pass, the Burro Mountains, Cooney’s Tomb, El Caso Lookout Tower, Beaverhead, Reed’s Peak, Frisco Hot Springs and Cherry Creek, are just some of the great areas for hiking, camping and horseback riding.

You can see some great photos of the Gila over at Jake Quinones’ blog New Mexico Backroads.

Contact Picacho Mountain today at 575-523-2500 for more information about more about road trips and much more that New Mexico has to offer.  Picacho Mountain features Southern New Mexico’s premier Custom Homes, Patio Homes, Town Homes, Neighborhood Retail, and more!