Location: 44 miles north of Silver City in the southwest of New Mexico
Attraction Type: A natural wonder
Significance: Evidence of inhabitance by Mogollon tribe in these cliff alcoves
Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Visiting Time: 8 am to 6 pm (Memorial Day to Labor Day) 9 am to 4 pm (rest of the days)
How to Reach: By New Mexico Highway 15 (NM 15) from Silver City
Nearest International Airport: El Paso International Airport
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a cluster of cliff dwellings naturally carved out from an overhanging cliff. These cliff dwellings are situated in the Mogollon Mountains in the upper course of Gila river in New Mexico. The Gila Cliff Dwellings set in the wilderness consists of five cliff alcoves used by the Mogollon tribe from 1275 to 1300 AD. Tourists traveling to Gila Cliff Dwellings in New Mexico also get to visit Gila National Forest and the hot springs.
The Gila Cliff Dwellings is at an approximate distance of 44 miles from Silver City which takes about two hours by car. The road through forests and wilderness is steep at places and full of curves. The Cliff Dwellings spread over 533 acres is at an elevation of 180 feet from the canyon below.
The Gila Cliff Dwellings were proclaimed as a National Monument in 1907 and subsequently transferred from Forest Services in August 1933. April 1975 onwards administration of National Park Service was resumed by Forest Service. These Cliff Dwellings are excellent evidence of the lifestyle of the Mogollon people who stayed in these overhanging alcoves for about 25 years.
The drive to the Gila Cliff National Monument through woods and wilderness along steep slopes and shard bends is marvelous. The Gila River Canyon and the Mogollon Mountain slopes are excellent trekking trails. Aldo Leopold Wilderness area is another exciting hiking route. The walk to the Ruins is enchanting. The trail begins from a streambed lined with overgrown trees. After walking for about a quarter-mile across several wooden bridges you reach a viewpoint of the dwellings. From there on there is a climb of another 180 feet up to the caves. You get to see five caves with a total of forty rooms.
Visit the Gila Hot Springs along your trail. 140Âº F Lightfeather Springs is the most easily accessible hot spring, while the other notable springs are Jordan Hot Spring and Melanie Hot Spring. Water emanates from among bushes and reeds forming a shallow pool that overflows into numerous artificial run-offs.
Guided tour of Gila Cliff National Monument is available daily from 11 am to 2 pm.
Accommodation and Dining
For visiting Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument you need to stay either in Silver City or Deming. In Silver City, you could choose among Econo Lodge Silver City, Holiday Inn Express Silver City, or Comfort Inn Silver City. If you plan to stay in Deming, then select from Comfort Inn & Suites Deming, Holiday Inn Deming, and Best Western Mimbres Valley Inn.
Related Links :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7gInzmvOWk: For a comprehensive travel video that provides views of the historic Gila Cliff Dwellings, click on this link!