Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is increasing recreational access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning Monday June 1, 2020 access to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument will be available under the following guidelines:
- Due to anticipated higher visitation, rangers may limit access to the dwellings and/or provide guided walks to ensure social distancing can be maintained. Groups of 5 or less will be allowed in every 10-15 minutes.
- Once daily visitation occupancy has been reached the monument will be closed for the day.
Park Rangers ask that visitors remain patient and flexible with their plans. It is recommended that visitors call before coming to visit the monument for current conditions.
In addition, the following spaces continue to be available:
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
- Vault toilets at the Trailhead will be available. Hand sanitizer is not available, but a temporary hand-washing station is available in the parking lot.
- Trailhead Picnic Area, please remember to Pack it In – Pack it Out.
- Other Gila Wilderness area trails remain open but vault toilets at those trailheads remain closed and unavailable. Please plan accordingly.
- Gila Visitor Center
- Gila Cliff Dwellings Trailhead Museum
- Visitor Center bathrooms and Comfort Stations throughout the Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness
- Forest Service campgrounds
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public access is safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our websitewww.nps.gov/gicl and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus
When visiting Gila Cliff Dwellings, remember to give yourself time!
You need time to drive to the Monument. The 44-mile trip from Silver City will take at least 1-1/4 hours and up to 2 hours due to the mountainous and winding nature of the road.
You need time to walk the trail to the dwellings. The park opens to the public at 9 am and access ends at 4 pm. Visitors already in the park before 4 pm have until 5 pm to exit the Monument. Please plan accordingly.
You need time to explore and discover the dwellings. Gila Cliff Dwellings is one of the few remaining parks that allows visitors to enter caves and dwelling rooms. Take advantage of this opportunity and give yourself time so you don't feel rushed or miss something.
The Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas are perfect opportunities to connect with the natural world. However, you need to be prepared for wilderness conditions before you head out. Plan your trip carefully and think twice about venturing into the Wilderness if you are not an experienced hiker. Water availability is highly variable depending on time of year and weather conditions. Trails may-- or may not--be obvious to you and signs are often found, but not a guarantee. Cell phones do NOT work anywhere in the region. You must be prepared to be self-reliant under all conditions. Check in at the visitor center for current information, but already have your plans made in advance.