• 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 »

  • Tour of the Gila may Impact Area Traffic

    If you are planning a visit between April 30 and May 4, be aware that area traffic may be impacted by the annual Tour of the Gila bicycle road race. For more information about the race, please visit tourofthegila.com. More »

  • Fire Restrictions on Gila National Forest

    Gila National Forest will implement smoking and fire restrictions beginning April 22. Smoking and fires are never permitted on Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument property. More »

Natural Features & Ecosystems

A photo of the winding headwaters of the Gila River north of the Forks Campground

A view of the headwaters of the Gila River north of the Forks campground.

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?

Cliff Dwelling Wood

Most of the wood seen in the Gila Cliff Dwellings today is original! Thirty-one core samples were taken from the wood. Dendrochronology (tree ring dating) indicates that the trees for the Cliff Dwellings were cut down from 1276 to 1287.