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dog friendly

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The Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico covers 3.3 million acres. The Forest multiple wilderness areas including the Gila Wilderness which was the first officially designated wilderness in the United States of America, in addition to Aldo Leopold Wilderness and the Blue Range Wilderness. Visitors to the Gila National Forest are met with the stunning Mogollon Mountains, deep canyons, and forests of ponderosa pine and juniper woodlands. Popular activities include hiking, horseback riding, soaking in hot springs, viewing the historic gila cliff dwellings, and wildlife viewing. Within the forest you will have chances to see bald eagles, black bear, bighorn sheep, and peregrine falcons.

Great trail, the first 1/2 mile on the Catwalks is neat, then definitely go down the stairs at the end of the Catwalks and find your way upstream to a couple little waterfalls and swimming holes. You can walk upstream or find the trails on either side of the creek. It’s cool to see the effects of the flood and the burnt trees that it carried downstream. We hiked 2 1/2ish miles upstream to where the whitewater trail intersects. There was some climbing, but pretty easy-moderate over all. Not too crowded and there was minimal litter, which we picked up of course. We picked up only 3 pieces of trash the whole hike.

Neat hike and destination! Be aware that there are rattlesnakes in the tall grass along the river. I almost stepped directly on one while wearing sandals, which were preferred over boots due to the numerous river fords. There is no cell service and it's a long hike back to the car and then to civilization, so it would be a bad place to get bit.

We came in from deep upriver on another trail. On day 3 we slept where Little bear and West fork meet. The site was perfect, zero other humans for us at least. On last day we picked up and went in to little bear creek to head back to the parked car. One guy I was with said it was like some Jurassic Park shtuff... it was beautiful in there. I would totally do this again. So glad we didn’t stay on the river, the creek was so darned worth it. We did see our first people the morning out though. After 3 days of nobody but bears and Tarantula Hawks, we saw 8 people on this shirt section alone. So we must have gotten lucky having nobody at the springs or any other part of the adventure. Definitely worth it. Would not rate this any higher than moderate.

no swimming in the lake, what kind of a joke is that??? also never found the trail to get around the dam. I wanted a 5 mile run anyway!

We went the opposite way, over the cliffs and after 2 days ended up here. Feet and ankles were hamburger. This was so welcomed! We had the place to ourselves and it was so badly needed. Pristine, clear and gorgeous. We soaked and healed and it was amazing. The thing nobody really mentions are the immense amount of bear tracks in the area. We came across 2 black bears about 3 miles deeper into the canyon on our way to the springs. Just be aware, but totally enjoyed this part of our through hike.

This is one of my favorite trails in the gila, box canyon and absolutely beautiful when you hit the forks. My favorite place on earth!

We took our 10, 7 & 4 yo... the paved area was not really a hike... more like a steep walk. When we got to the end we decided to climb down to the river. For our return we went bouldering, along and through the river to find our way back to the crossover bridge. What was a boring walk turned into a fun hike.

note:
we went Mem wkd... there were A LOT of people by hiking std and most were hanging out for the day in the river w/ their kids & dogs. If you enjoy a min. peeps kind of trek... it was fairly busy.

This was a GREAT exploration hike!!!
We had our 10, 7 & 4 yo and all had a great time. There was so much to look at along the way there was no need to hurry through the hike to the final destination. It truly was taking the time to play with the rocks, take some pics and find some lizards kind of hike.

Note:
If you like a min. peeps kind of hike this was great. We went Mem wkd and it was peaceful even with three kids.

Google maps wanted to take you through a private pasture. If you drive a bit further to Alma, take Mineral Creek Road; it’s a gravel road but it is by private land and not through it.

Very nice hike, however a lot of the trail is washed away.

5/21/2018..took our teenage boys here to experience a short walk in the forest....the trail beyond the fiberglass bridge has been damaged due to some previous flood, Yet the water level in creek was so low that we found a way to walk in creek for 3 miles. There was a pleasant breeze in canyon and plenty of shade. very enjoyable day for the teens. Carry your water/snax.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy to find. A sign off Hwy 180 directs you to Arenas Valley Road. This road is paved for mile or so. When the pavement ends, you can see the parking lot for the trailhead. A generous lot for hikers/bikers & a separate lot for horses. Loved this trail! Scenic with mountains & desert. Easy trail until you start following the creek, then a little rocky. The petroglyphs were cool. Climb the trail into the rocks to see the dragonfly.

Excellent trail but thank the gods for AllTrails for showing me which fork to take! As others have said, the first part is poorly marked. Interesting to see the cactus and pine together.

backpacking
1 month ago

Trail is washed out at several points, the detour around the worst of which is pictured here. Vistas are excellent on the descent to Whitewater.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike on the southern part of the Gila wilderness. Very few visitors. We went in late April and the log book at the trailhead only had 7 visitors for the year.
The first bit of the hike doesn't have many highlights and can be very hot. Bring lots of water as there is none until you hit Mogollon creek about 7 miles in. If you are hiking in spring, start early! - It gets hot!
The second half of the trail has some amazing views, showing the expansive Gila wilderness, including Shelley Peak and Mogollon Baldy. At 5.4 miles in, you have the choice to continue to the Mogollon creek upstream of the canyons or head to Bud's Hole. We went to Mogollon creek as that has fishing access and a wild population of the rare Gila trout. Truly one of the clearest, pristine streams I've seen - gorgeous! Definitely worth a visit. One note: I started the recording a little late (0.4 miles to be exact).

Gorgeous hike! Beautiful bluffs after you drop into little bear, and get on the river. Definitely a scenic and worth while hike! The pool is big enough to stretch out and enjoy, was tucked perfectly into the hill across the river when you get to a little camp site (look north/NE, on river bed for small trail leading up - the pool is not on the main river!).

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was severely burned in 93 which actually means that it receives almost no traffic and has incomprable views for quite a lot of it because the panoramic vista is unobscured. The trail was a little tough to follow at times but not too bad and I didn’t see another soul while I was on it, which was quite a treat considering how trafficked a lot of that area is.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this route to Black Peak with my husband and dog on Saturday 3/31. From NM 15, turn at the sign for the Arrastra Site. Up the narrow, rocky road, there is space for a few vehicles to park. You can catch the CDT right from that parking area. There are a few ups and downs. It is not technical at all; most of the challenge comes from the length. The trail is easy to follow overall. The only confusing spot was at the turnoff from the access road at about 2.5 miles. It was not marked, but we used the Alltrails app to check. We clocked the mileage at 7.6 to the peak, for a total of 15.2. This trail recording ends short of the peak. Follow the sign for Signal Peak and turn left at a rock cairn for an easy trail to the summit. It took us 3:30 to go up and 2:40 to come back down. There weren't really views most of the way or at the top, except where you can see through areas of the forest that have been burned. We only saw one trail runner and one mountain biker the entire hike.

hiking
2 months ago

I have hiked this trail multiple times and while the 1-mile catwalk portion is an easy hike, the rest of the trail is definitely not easy. After the fire in 2012 the trail is gone in most places and hiking is quite difficult because you just have to hike up the creek where there is no trail. There are numerous creek crossings and you have to climb up, around, and on top of gigantic boulders, through small waterfalls, and climb over a lot of down trees. It is a very beautiful canyon and it is unlikely you will see many people, if anyone in this canyon.

2 months ago

Awesome

hiking
2 months ago

The lake is beautiful and there were a number of different ducks on the lake. The side of the lake near the boat launch (where I started) is easy to hike. Once you get to the dam it’s difficult to see the trail and how to get around the dam. I went up to the parking area and saw a trail on the far side and assumed that was the one. It takes you down a very steep hill with loose rocks and overgrown grass. Unfortunately the trail disappeared about half way down the hill. Very tricky footing, take it slow. Then you have to cross a creek a couple of times to finally find the trail again. There was some barbed wire mixed in with the grass. The side opposite the boat launch is stunningly beautiful with small hidden grottoes. Be careful in the areas where you follow the trail along the cliff face at the water’s edge, there’s a spot where there’s a steep drop that you have to figure out how to get down without breaking a leg. That side had sections with slippery claylike mud too. I saw no evidence of a trail that you could take instead of the road back to the boat launch. This trail was a little more challenging than I thought it would be, but well worth the effort.

Beautiful trail, and totally worth it. The last 2 miles you cross a fork of the Gila River 15 times one way, and the water was only up to about my knees at the deepest (I'm 5' 5"). We wore Chacos but our feet ended up getting pretty beat up in the water, so I would probably recommend a sneaker you don't mind getting soaked and then bringing another pair of dry shoes. In the morning going out the water was extremely cold! However, it was totally worth it as the canyon was beautiful and the spring relaxing. The visitor center has maps available for $4 or can show you one before you go. They told us it was 14 miles round trip. There were several other people camping there while we were there during spring break, but there is plenty of room to spread out to camp near the spring, so you won't disturb one another.

All of the different trails in this area make it hard to decide which way to go. I had fun doubling back and doing loops. The area is ripe with ecology and geology. I could hit these trails 1000 times and still come away feeling enlightened.

The trail is great up to where it’s washed out. The road to the trail was also flooded with about a foot of water in two locations. We drove about 4 hours out of the way to do this hike so slightly disappointed that only half of it was possible to see. It is incredibly scenic. The government needs to upgrade the road to the trail and the portions of the trail that wash out.

Overall, great hike! Very high walls of the canyon, lots of different formations and coloring. Notes below:

- Took the Mineral Creek Road past Alma, several miles to follow after that I’m packed gravel and dirt. Easy to get through, just an FYI, but may be an issue during a rainy period.

- Small trailhead, no water or trail info unfortunately.

- You will cross water MANY times! Do yourself a favor and get water early to get it over with, in my opinion. Be careful on the rocks, many are slick or on uneven foundations. Lots of fun jumping from bank to bank at parts.

- Mile makers were tricky to determine. I saw one piece of rebar conspicuously hammered into the earth followed by two pieces and three pieces later. That may have been a marking system, wasn’t tracking my distance.

- Terrain includes loose rock, sandy shores, earthy grasslands, small boulder scrambles, and much more. I’d say this is on the more challenging side of moderate.

Even with this minor observations, still an excellent trail.

This is a beautiful loop through many ecosystems. But towards the river it’s impossible to stay on / find the trail. Some ranger yelled at us for “trespassing” on the monument, as if we wanted to be bushwhacking!

birding
4 months ago

Very good trail for a beginner, well marked and well maintained.

Easily one of the most scenic and exciting trails I've ever hiked -- but at a cost. The trail cuts through the river leading into the canyon. The water is VERY cold and the rocks are VERY sharp beneath the water. Be careful and be prepared. Bring a very light pair of extra shoes for the second half of the trail because we had to cross the river at knee depth 15 times (30 times total). Very worth it though!

I took my 4 children ages 5-13 to the springs last week (Jan 13, 2018). The trail was easy enough and the trailhead was super easy to find. When you get to the bottom of the trail to the river, cross and then turn left. The springs will be on the river bank. There are about 4-5 pools. It was a bit crowded but we went on a long weekend. The towns people are super friendly and you should stop off and eat in their cafes. Patronize their businesses.

Trail can be difficult close to the river. The canyon is beautiful and hot springs are small but relaxing. Primitive camping at trail head.

fantastic little hike especially if you don't mind getting a little wet. I'll definitely be back!

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