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. Do not forget that Arizona is one hour different in time from New Mexico during the summer. 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.
Educational and school visits might qualify for a fee waiver that covers entrance fees to the monument. Educators should call the visitor center at least two (2) weeks in advance to inquire about and request a fee waiver.