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

    Gila Cliff Dwellings

    National Monument New Mexico

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  • Time Change for Guided Tours

    Effective Sunday November 2nd, our daily guided tour will change to 1 PM. Through Saturday November 1st, the tour will be at 11 AM. You must be at the tour start (about 1/2 mile hike) by the start time. Of course, self guided tours are still available.

  • NM Highway 152 Closed

    NM Highway 152 between Hillsboro and San Lorenzo is closed due to multiple washouts. Anyone traveling south on Interstate 25 towards the Gila Cliff Dwellings should take NM 26 to Deming as an alternate route.

  • 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 »

Insects, Spiders, Centipedes, Millipedes

A photo of a small spider hanging in mid-air near trail from the Cliff Dwellings

Small spider appears to hang in mid-air near trail from the Cliff Dwellings.

NPS Photo by Barry Nielsen

The insect world in the vicinity of the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the surrounding Gila Wilderness is rich and abundant. In fact, existing field guides are often inadequate to describe the all the species in the area. Insects include a variety of bees, wasps, hornets, beetles, ants, dragonflies, damselflies, cicadas, grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, moths, mantids, worms, cochineal scales, katydids, lacewings, and flies.

One of the interesting creatures in the forest is the Giant Vinegerone. Visitors often mistake it for a giant scorpion. It is a whip scorpion, not a true scorpion. It has scorpion-like pincers in the front but a non-scorpion whiptail in the back, with no stinger. Common in this area, this creature hides in dark corners and in rarely seen. When approached too closely, it reacts by blasting a stream of vinegar-like acetic acid at the interloper, preferably at the interloper’s eyes, where the liquid produces a burning sensation. The creature's name, appropriately enough, is the Giant Vinegarone.

Did You Know?

Mimbres Pottery

Mimbres pottery provides a glimpse into the world of the ancient Puebloans of the Mimbres region, a subset of the Mogollon area. Some of the pottery depicts activities such as hunting, fishing, and gaming. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is the only National Park Service unit that was established specifically to preserve structures created by the ancient Puebloans of the Mogollon area.