• Visitors hike along the base of the Gila Cliff Dwellings.

    Gila Cliff Dwellings

    National Monument New Mexico

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  • Thunderstorm Safety Closures Possible

    When thunderstorms are nearby, the trail to and from the Gila Cliff Dwellings is closed. Please check local forecasts before you visit. Thunderstorms are typically more likely in the afternoon. On some afternoons it is not possible to reopen. More »

  • Guided Tours Currently Not Available Every Day

    Due to a current shortage of volunteer staffing, guided tours of the cliff are not offered every day. Check at the visitor center upon arrival. Volunteers at the Cliff Dwellings will still be available to answer questions during your self guided tours.

Diseases

Worldwide, a number of fatalities have occurred from a rare form of meningitis caused by an amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, that inhabits warm water and soil worldwide. The organism enters the brain through the nasal passages and produces a runny nose or sore throat, severe headache, and possibly death within a few days. Although no cases of this type have been reported to the National Monument staff recently, to avoid all possiblity of contracting this rare disease, bathers are advised not to immerse their heads, and to keep their noses out of the hot springs water.

Please be advised that giardia (scientific name: giardia lamblia) may also be in the local waters. If a person ingests even a minute quantity, infection can occur leading to nausea, cramps, bloating, and diarrhea. The resulting dehydration and weight loss can be serious enough to require hospital care. Hikers are advised to purify all untreated water obtained from rivers, streams, pools, etc. Giardia is more difficult to kill than most organisms with the usual water-treatment chemicals such as chlorine and iodine. Giardia cannot survive for long in water heated to 150 degrees Fahrenheit; boiling is not necessary, but does provide a safety factor. Proper filtration is another option to eliminate giardia; please check the filter manufacturer's specifications.

Did You Know?

Mortar Handprint

The Gila Cliff Dwellings were built in the 13th century by the ancient Puebloans of the Mogollon area. They formed the walls using chunks of Gila Conglomerate found within the caves. Mortar was required to keep the walls together. In some places you can still see the handprints of the builders.