Take State Highway 15 north from Silver City through historic Pinos Altos and into the Gila National Forest. 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 NM
State Highway 35 and goes through the beautiful 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 as State Highway 15. If your vehicle, travel trailer, or RV is
over 20 feet in length, you should take Highway 35.
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. The surroundings probably look today
very much like they did when the cliff dwellings were inhabited. It is
surrounded by the Gila National Forest and lies at the edge of the
Gila Wilderness, the nation's first designated wilderness area. This designation
means that the wilderness character of the area will not be altered by
the intrusion of roads or other evidence of human presence.
From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the Cliff Dwellings are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and the Visitor Center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The rest of the year, the Cliff Dwellings are open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the Visitor Center is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Cliff Dwellings, trailhead Contact Station, and Gila Visitor Center are closed on Christmas Day. On New Year's Day, the Gila Visitor Center is closed, but the Contact Station and the Cliff Dwellings are open with the normally scheduled tours offered.
Guided tours of the Cliff Dwellings are offered daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. as part of the entrance fee. Please note that the tours start at the Cliff Dwellings and it takes about a half hour to walk up to them from the trailhead. A self-guided tour is available at all times and an accompanying booklet is available at the Visitor Center and the trailhead Contact Station.