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Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

HC 68 Box 100
Silver City, New Mexico 88061

Gila Visitor Center
(575) 536-9461

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument offers a glimpse into the homes and lives of the Mogollon people who lived in this area over 700 years ago.


Take State Highway 15 north from Silver City. Although the distance from Silver City is only 44 miles, the travel time is approximately two hours due to twisting and winding mountain terrain. An alternative route from Silver City is along State Highway 35 and goes through the Mimbres Valley. Even though it is 25 miles longer than Highway 15, it is less winding, wider, more level, and easier to travel; therefore it takes about the same amount of time to drive.

Things to Do

Activities in the Monument include bird watching, fishing, hiking, interpretive programs, nature walks, stargazing, and wildlife viewing.

Activities in the wilderness include backpacking, bird watching, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, stargazing, and wildlife viewing.

Guided Tours
Guided tours of the Cliff Dwellings are offered twice daily, at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Memorial Day weekend through Lador Day weekend, and once daily at 12:00 p.m. (noon), the remainder of the year. Please note that the tours start at the Cliff Dwellings and it takes about one half hour to walk up from the trail head.

Other tours and programs may be offered depending upon staffing availability. Check ahead for times and other activities by calling the Gila Visitor Center at 575-536-9461 or visit the on-line calendar of scheduled events.

Hiking in the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas are popular activities in the area. Call ahead for weather conditions and backcountry water availability.

Hot Springs
There are several popular hot springs in the area. The closest wilderness hot spring, Lightfeather, is a twenty minute walk from the Gila Visitor Center. The most popular is Jordan, a 6 or 8 mile hike from the Visitor Center, depending upon the trail head used. Private hot springs are also located in the community of Gila Hotsprings, four miles from the Monument.


Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is located in the Gila Wilderness within the Gila National Forest. Within a few miles of the Cliff Dwellings, elevations range from around 5,700 to 7,300 feet above sea level. 

In the immediate vicinity of the Cliff Dwellings, elevations range from 5,700 to about 6,000 feet. The terrain is rugged, with steep-sided canyons cut by shallow rivers and forested with ponderosa pine, Gambel's oak, Douglas fir, New Mexico juniper, pinon pine, and alligator juniper (among others).

The climate is usually dry with July and August as the rainy months. During the rainy months there is a possibility of short but intense rain each day. Monthly rainfall can vary from almost three inches in August to a third of an inch in May, the driest month. Precipitation in winter ranges from about half an inch per month to an inch and a half.

During the summer daytime highs average in the 90s (F) while nighttime lows can reach into the 50s (F). During the winter daytime highs can be in the 50s (F), while nighttime lows can reach into the teens.

The most common large mammals encountered are mule deer and elk. Black bear and mountain lion are in the area, but are seldom seen. Coyotes can sometimes be heard at night. Because the Gila National Forest plays a role in the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf. 

Wolves may be in the area, but encountering them would be rare. The most common birds in the vicinity of the monument are vultures, ravens, crows, hawks, hummingbirds, and various songbirds.

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