Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is located in the southwestern part of New Mexico, near Silver City. Although the monument is only 44 miles north of Silver City on New Mexico Highway 15, the narrow road is over windy, mountainous terrain. Travel time is approximately one and a half to two hours one way. There is no cell service or internet once you leave Silver City or Mimbres, so a GPS may lose connectivity and be unusable. Staff recommend having a paper map or non-GPS directions written down just in case. We recommend planning at least 2 hours of travel each way when travelling to the Dwellings from Silver City or Mimbres. In the winter months the sun sets earlier in the day and it gets dark around 5:30.
Drive times from the surrounding area
Silver City - 2 hours
Deming - 2.5 hours
Truth or Consequences - 3 hours
Las Cruces - 3 hours
El Paso, TX - 4 hours
Tucson, AZ - 4.5 hours
White Sands National Park - 4.5 hours
Albuquerque - 5 hours
Guadeloupe Mountains National Park - 5 hours
Santa Fe - 6 hours
Phoenix, AZ - 7 hours
Carlsbad Caverns National Park - 7 hours
Petrified Forest National Park - 7 hours
Mesa Verde National Park - 8 hours
The roads approaching the monument are not plowed or maintained at night or on weekends, please use caution if traveling at these times. For current road conditions check NMDOT Road Conditions.
Most visitors come from Silver City. Begin in Silver City on US Highway 180/Silver Heights Boulevard should take Pinos Altos Road which becomes New Mexico Highway 15 North. NM 15 begins in Silver City and only heads north. Continue for 42 miles until you reach the Gila Visitor Center. To reach the dwellings turn left just before reaching the visitor center and continue for 2 miles until the road ends.
The first 25 miles of NM 15 are narrow with steep sections of 10-12% grade for several miles and there is no center dividing line. Vehicles should use lower gears when driving to avoid overheating brakes and stay as far right as possible, especially on tight curves. An alternative route is New Mexico Highway 35. See the directions for RVs and Trailers below.
From I 25 (Albuquerque, Las Cruces, or Truth or Consequences)
The most direct route to the monument from I 25 is along New Mexico Highway 152. Near Mimbres/San Lorenzo turn onto New Mexico Highway 35 towards Lake Roberts and Gila Cliff Dwellings. NM 35 ends where it meets NM 15, before the section with no center line, avoiding the more difficult sections of NM 15. Turn right and continue approximately 20 more miles to the Gila Visitor Center and the cliff dwellings.
NM 152 contains three narrow bridges with height restrictions of 12 feet. It is not recommended for larger or taller vehicles. Instead large vehicles should consider alternate routes through Hatch or Deming to Silver City and then use the directions for RV and Trailers listed below.
From I 10 E (Lordsburg & Tucson, AZ)
The most direct route of travel on I 10 E. Exit in Lordsburg and take New Mexico Highway 90 to Silver City then follow the directions from Silver City listed above. Travel time from Lordsburg to Silver City is 1 to 1.5 hours.
From I 10 W (El Paso, TX)
From El Paso, TX on I 10 W exit in Deming, NM. Take US Highway 180 W to Silver City.
RVs and Trailers/Alternate Route
If you are planning on towing anything or your vehicle is over 20 feet, the first 25 miles of NM 15 are not recommended due to several steep sections and tight turns. Instead vehicles from Silver City should take US Highway 180 East towards Santa Clara and turn on New Mexico Highway 152. From there turn left left onto New Mexico Highway 35 towards Lake Roberts and Gila Cliff Dwellings. NM 35 ends where it meets NM 15, before the section with no center line, avoiding the more difficult sections of NM 15. Turn right and continue approximately 20 more miles to the Gila Visitor Center and the cliff dwellings.
The nearest airport is in Silver City, NM but there are limited flights and services available. Instead consider major airports in Tucson, AZ (TUS), Albuquerque, NM (ABQ), or El Paso, TX (ELP). All three airports are 4-5 hours drive from the monument. Other flights and services are available in Phoenix, AZ (PHX) about a 7 hour drive from the monument. Once you land at an airport a rental car will be necessary as there is no public transportation to or within the monument.