Home Camping Fun Exploring the Gila National Forest: Camping in New Mexico
Exploring the Gila National Forest: Camping in New Mexico

5 min

September 7, 2023

The Gila National Forest covers a staggering 3.3 million acres and features stunning mountains, dense forests, sparkling rivers, grasslands, canyons, and bubbling hot springs. Campers hoping to get away from the crowds and explore the outdoors in peace will fall in love with this vast, beautiful destination in New Mexico.

Here are 3 special places you don’t want to miss while camping in or near the Gila National Forest.

Catwalk Recreation Area

flickr/Denny Armstrong

The Catwalk was originally created in 1893 as part of a mill built in the area after silver and gold were discovered. Located in the Mogollon Mountains above Whitewater Canyon, the Catwalk has been rebuilt twice, and today visitors can explore The Catwalk National Scenic Trail. This easy hike ventures through the canyon, over Whitewater creek, and across numerous bridges and catwalks. Hidden pools, waterfalls, and some great canyon views can be seen along this trail so it’s definitely worth a visit.

Gila Wilderness

Gila National Forest is home to the first designated wilderness area in the USA, the Gila Wilderness. At around 558,000 acres, it’s going to take more than one camping trip to put a dent in this beautiful area. One must-see destination within the Gila Wilderness is the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. This site was home to a small Mogollon group in the thirteenth-century. Today, visitors can step into the past and explore these amazing relatively intact dwellings. Other popular activities in the area include hiking, bird watching, fishing, stargazing, and wildlife viewing.

Hot Springs

There are a number of amazing hot springs in the Gila National Forest. Two of the more popular hot springs can be reached from the Gila Cliff Dwelling Visitor Center. Lightfeather Hot Springs, located along the Middle Fork of the Gila River, is only a 20 minute walk from the visitor center and has a temperature of 130 degrees. Jordan Hot Springs requires a 6 mile hike from the visitor center and sits at a cozy 94 degrees.

Camping in Silver City, New Mexico

Silver City is a popular jumping off point for campers planning to explore Gila National Forest. Silver City RV Park & Cabins is a little piece of heaven nestled in downtown Silver City that offers a quiet atmosphere and easy access to nearby attractions. Guests have their choice of full hook-up RV sites, cabins, and tents sites. Ready to start planning your next adventure in the Gila National Forest? Book your stay at Silver City RV Park & Cabins today on Camp Native!

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