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USA Parks
New Mexico
Southwest Region
Gila National Forest
GILA NATIONAL FOREST
GILA NATIONAL FOREST
3005 Camino Del Bosque
Silver City, New Mexico   88061

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Popular theory says that the word Gila was derived from a Spanish contraction of Hah-quah-sa-eel, a Yuma Indian word meaning "running water which is salty". The naming of the Gila National Forest is indicative of its interesting history and beauty. The Forest, tucked away in southwestern New Mexico, is a paradise for those seeking solitude and escape from modern society's busy lifestyle.A thunderstorm forms...

Every National Forest offers its own unique beauty. The Gila's beauty is in its diversity of rugged mountains, deep canyons, meadows, and semi-desert country. Elevations range from 4,200 to 10,900 feet and cover four of the six life zones. Flora and fauna are diverse. Ocotillo and cactus are found in the lower elevations, and juniper, pine, aspen, and spruce-fir forests are plentiful in the high mountains. Wildlife such as the black bear, mountain lion, elk, deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, and wild turkey inhabit the Forest while the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and the red-tailed hawk soar in the wind.

The Gila National Forest boasts a rich history of the Mogollon and Apache Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans, ranchers, prospectors and miners. Apache Chiefs Mangas Coloradas, Geronimo, and Victorio, Aldo Leopold: conservationist, ecologist and author of the Sand County Almanac, and renowned lion hunter Ben Lilly are but a few of the personalities from the past that have left their mark in the Gila. Place names like Raw Meat Canyon, Tepee Canyon and Grave Canyon tell the tales of the past.Scenic View over the Blue Range Wilderness

Another unique beauty of the Gila National Forest is its wilderness. The Gila, Aldo Leopold, and Blue Range Wildernesses offer unparallel hiking and horseback riding. The magnificence of these mountainous regions imparts an indescribable feeling of awe and wonderment. Former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas may have captured the feeling when he said, "Wilderness helped preserve man's capacity for wonder ... the power to feel, if not see, the miracles of life, of beauty, and of harmony around us." The Gila Wilderness was established in 1924 as the first designated wilderness in the country.Gila Cliff Dwellings

The San Francisco, Gila, and Mimbres Rivers, the Catwalk, Pueblo Park Campground, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Mogollon Baldy, Castle Rock, Eagle Peak Mountain, Emory Pass, and the Burro Mountains are among the many islands of beauty on the Gila. Other areas of interest include Cooney's Tomb, El Caso Lookout Tower, Beaverhead, Reed's Peak, Frisco Hot Springs and Cherry Creek.

During one of Aldo Leopold's hunting trips into the Gila National Forest he eloquently stated, "We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes ... something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view." Such is the legacy of the Gila; a beautiful and unique forest with majestic mountains; a complex interwoven fabric of all living things.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Day-UseFishingyes
 Huntingyes
 Hiking Trailyes
 Picnickingyes
Camping
The Gila National Forest offers beautiful camping areas that range widely from low to high elevation, lakeside to forested and primitive to developed. The more developed campgrounds offer electrical hookups and dump stations for RV or trailer camping, while the more primitive offer only a toilet. Most of the campsites tend to be directed toward the more primitive camping experience.


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Trails
Biking:

There are thousands of miles of trails in the Gila National Forest. Hundreds of miles of those trails are accessible by mountain bike. Generally, the trails are hilly and rocky, winding through pine forests and open grass lands.

The climate is warm and dry (always carry extra water) and many miles of the trails are open during the winter. During the summer monsoon season dangerous storms can develop in the afternoon; it is best to ride early in the morning.

Horse-riding:

One of the most pleasurable types of recreation to be enjoyed on the Gila NF is horseback riding.

The Forest Service offers a free brochure "Horse Sense" on tips and helpful information for recreational wilderness horseback riding.

Wilderness Trails : Riding in the wilderness can be challenging since trips are generally longer.

Non Wilderness Trails : The Gila has numerous corrals and trail heads where trailers may be parked.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
June 1 beautiful park by Tarcy Cigarroa
We went to visit the indain dewelings in Gila. It was very pleasent and educational. Our son is a cub scout and his rank is webelo. He has chosen gila to do his badge as forester. Can you send us information on the diffrent trees and vegetation,there is in gila. Thank You
June 24 road conditions by Ex NM Tourist
We just spend 5 hours of hell on HWY 150 as recommended by the NM Tourism people. By the time we figured out the road was impassible, we could no longer get turned around. Washed away road, boulders, potholes, fallen trees, no guard rails, no signs(leading to two bad turns and being more lost), sliding on gravel, edge of road breaking away under us, almost killed us. What were they thinking!
October 27 surprise at the end of a winding road by lefthand ridgetop roudy
I took my granddaughter to the Grand Canyon and Peftified Forest, by way of the Gila Cliff Dwellings. the beauty left us breathless. A dream come true... for we two. The rangers were generous with their time and the people we encountered, were kind. The dwellings, themselves are something we will always remember, and wonder about.
September 16 A very nice and un crowded place!
In our last trip to Deming, we decided to check the Gila National Forest, on our way back to Colorado, and camped out in the Lower Gallinas, site. It was a very nice camping experience, nice clean restrooms! and trash free, camping sites.
July 20
The trip from Silver City through Pinos Altos -- beautiful. The Gila - stunningly beautiful! The trip back through the Mimbres Valley -- perfect ending to a wonderful day.
September 7 Breathtaking...
We have lived all over the world and now live in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Gila National Forest is a national treasure and we are thrilled to live so close to it.
June 22 Love the Gila National Forest. by Denise A-B
So much to do and to go. Camping at the Lake Robert Mesa is great... not too roughing it but good get away! The Forks are always fun as are the lakes.
May 31
May 28 by villasenorobeso@yahoo.com
rv camping


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See our <A HREF="http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/gila/content.htm">map</A> for help in getting you there.<br>

USA Parks
New Mexico
Southwest Region
Gila National Forest
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