The trail from the mouth of Cliff Dweller Canyon up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings follows a stream, up the steep, rocky slope along the cliff side and into three of the six caves. This was once home to a Tularosa Mogollon community.
The one-mile loop trail will let you explore the natural environment that sustained the people, discover the caves carved over time by nature and through original rooms with timber lintels and support beams still intact.
Stay on the trail for your own safety and to help protect these fragile resources.
Do not have food or drink other than water.
Take nothing but photographs.
Do not touch the walls in any way.
There is even more to see and do at Gila Cliff Dwellings including a trailhead museum with displays sharing the history of the area, museum exhibits with artifacts at the visitor center, and a 15-minute video.
Regular passenger vehicles can drive 43 miles north of Silver City New Mexico on NM Highway 15. The 46-mile trip can take up to two hours due to the narrow and mountainous curving nature of the road.
Large RVs and vehicles pulling trailers should NOT use Hwy 15. From Silver City, take Highway 180 to Santa Clara. Turn left onto Hwy 152 and drive to San Lorenzo. At San Lorenzo, turn left onto Hwy 35 and follow it to its termination at Hwy 15. Turn right on Hwy 15 and follow signs to the park.
Weather is extremely variable-Summers are usually in the 80s but approach 100 degree F, winters have occasional snow or temperatures near zero F. Thunderstorms are common in the summer and early fall, usually in the afternoon. Thunderstorms may cause temporary lightning closures.
Daily fee, per adult. Pass holders and children under 16 are free.
National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass - $80.00
The pass is good for one year from the date of purchase. The pass is for the pass holder and occupants of a single, private, non-commercial vehicle. OR The pass holder and three persons over the age of 16 where per person fees are charged. Can be used at: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation sites that charge fees.
The National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Military Annual Pass - $0.00
For entrance or standard amenity fees at Federal Recreation sites for the pass holder and occupants of a single, private, non-commercial vehicle. OR the pass holder and 3 persons over the age of 16 where per person fees are charged.
The National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Lifetime Access Pass - $0.00
For US citizens medically determined to have a permanent disability that severely limits one or more major life activities. Free entrance for the pass holder and occupants of a single, private, non-commercial vehicle. OR the pass holder and three persons (16 or older) where per person fees are charged. Disability documentation is required.
The National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Senior Annual Pass - $20.00
Issued to United States Citizens age 62 or older on date of issue. Covers entrance fees on all federal public lands for the passholder and everyone in the same, single noncommercial vehicle. Or, the passholder and three adults age 16 and older where per person fees are collected.
The National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Senior Lifetime Pass - $80.00
This lifetime pass is for U.S. citizens 62 years or older. Present in person. Valid at federal recreation entrance or standard amenity fee sights for: pass holder and occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR one motorcycle OR pass holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged. Valid at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation.
Joint Visitor Center for Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument(NPS) and the Wilderness District of the Gila National Forest (USFS). Open every day of the year 8 AM-4:30 PM Mountain Time. Visitors can get information for visiting the park and hiking the Wilderness as well as watch an orientation film, tour the museum and shop the park bookstore.
The Trail Head Museum offers an exploration of the history of the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the Mogollon people who called it home in the late 1200s. There's also an area to discover the natural history of the surrounding Gila Wilderness and plan your back country experience. Park staff are available to interpret, answer questions and help plan visits and hikes. Come discover your heritage and your public lands!