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Gila National Forest

Contact Info
1804 N. Date
Truth or Consequences, NM 87901

Phone:
575-388-8201
Basics
Type:
National Park

Description

The Gila National Forest (pronounced 'hee-la') offers a rich 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 shows the storied 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 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.

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.

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.

Camping

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument offers a glimpse of the homes and lives of the people of the Mogollon culture who lived in the Gila Wilderness from the 1280s through the early 1300s....

Scenic Drives

Within the Glenwood District runs the Bursum Road (HWY 159), a primitive scenic byway that passes through the historic mining town of Mogollon and is the major access to a range of recreational opportunities....

Tour Companies

  • 575-388-3222

...

  • Horseback Riding
  • 575-539-2800

...

  • Horseback Riding, Hiking
  • 575-535-2048

...

Hiking

Originally a plank-board walkway on top of a steel pipe pumping water to a local ore processing plant, the Catwalk trail is suspended 12 feet over the Whitewater Creek as it winds through a canyon....

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument offers a glimpse of the homes and lives of the people of the Mogollon culture who lived in the Gila Wilderness from the 1280s through the early 1300s....

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