Natural Features & Ecosystems
NPS Photo by Barry Nielsen
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; forested with ponderosa pine, Gambel's oak, Douglas fir, New Mexico juniper, pinon pine, and alligator juniper (among others); and usually dry. There are numerous caves in the area. There are several hot springs in the Gila National Forest and within hiking distance of the Visitor Center (there is also a privately-owned hot spring in the nearby community of Gila Hot Springs). Temperatures usually range from hot to very hot. The Visitor Center is located near the junction of the west and middle forks of the Gila River.
Did You Know?
The ancient Puebloans of the area are often referred to as the "Mogollon people" by archeologists. This name was applied because of the nearby Mogollon Mountains. These mountains, in turn, were named for Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, the Spanish Governor, from 1712 to 1715, of what is now New Mexico.