hiking

dog friendly

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nature trips

birding

wild flowers

forest

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river

kid friendly

camping

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hot springs

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.

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
7 days 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
20 days 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
20 days 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.

28 days ago

Awesome

hiking
28 days 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
2 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!

Very fun Trail. The canyons are beautiful. The hot springs felt very nice!

This is a beautiful pocket of nature that you should take the time to check out, definitely worth the drive I made from El Paso.

I have been here 4 times, I always enjoy the springs any time of the year! looking forward to catching that annual September trip @Thomas and Jay!

backpacking
3 months ago

I recommended working this trail clockwise because the significant climb/drop in the northwest corner may not have water at the top. I personally began at the Cliff Dwellings heading west on trail #151. Be sure to top off water before climbing north on trail #28. The view from the top of the northwest corner was breath taking. I camped the first night on the trail at the base of the switchbacks before crossing the river.

The second day I walked along the Middle Fork for eight miles within the cliff faces which rose hundreds of feet on both sides. Just like other reviews warned I crossed the river so many times I lost count (twenty? twenty-five? I dunno). Because of this I wore my river crossing sandals all day and trekking poles helped greatly. In the beginning I had trouble in the Meadows (near the intersection of trails #157 and #53) due to an overgrowth of vegetation. I followed one trail I presumed was man-made through tall grass into what I eventually believed was a bear den. It looked like a vegetation-made igloo filled with beautiful yellow flowers, freshly eaten animal bones, and bear scat nearby. No photos unfortunately as I did not want to become the next set of bones. After backing out I walked through the river for a time upon losing the trail to get away from the den. Thankfully I did not actually run into any bears face-to-face though signs of their presence were around. I later learned flooding took out many of the cairns causing frequent loss of the trail among the river rock however it almost always paralleled the river. About half way through the second day I passed the the Jordan Hot Springs which was a neat place to stop and rest. There were numerous camps sites across the river from the springs so please minimize your impact if visiting here.

Day three started as I entered the Little Bear (slot) Canyon southbound on trail #729. I hammock camped in an area previously used by others to save time but was extremely disappointed in the amount of trash left behind near Little Bear Canyon's intersection with the Middle-Fork river. The walk back to the starting point was fairly easy but the shade from the cliffs and trees disappeared by this point. Be sure to take a water purifier as I was advised by a Park Ranger that the rivers have Giaradia in them. In all, this was a beautiful hike which I will do again though losing the trail throughout the second day was frustrating.

did this recently although turned around at 3m in cuz baby wasn't gonna tolerate. took the dog and he really enjoyed the snow! we were just in boots and got to the base of the twin sisters area

When they say "hike a portion" they really mean "a portion."
The view from signal peak lookout is breathtaking, however to get there you're actually hiking an access road, which is really challenging because of the incline through a giant section of burned forest.
I'm a junkie for mileage so I enjoyed it, very challenging from the bottom up, even if it is only an access road. 1.5 liters of water was perfect.

Gorgeous hiking but terrible markers! Come on, put up a couple trail signs or at least arrows indicating which trail is which.

We hiked from Emory Pass to Sawyers Peak with no problems. There are a few dead falls over the trail, but nothing to stop us. Only one we had to go under, the rest we stepped over. The trail is still very usable and is marked with blazes and white diamond reflectors on the switchbacks. The grass and thorny brush have grown up and one must pay attention to follow the trail, but I have been on far worse and harder to follow.
Sad about the fire and blackened trees. However, as with most things in life there are upsides. The views are spectacular. The view from Sawyers Peak is 270 degrees of panorama. Only the western view is somewhat blocked by trees. I was last up there in 2012 before the fire and it has changed, but the views are to die for.

Definitely one of the best hikes! Amazing scenery and pretty easy trails. The water has all temperatures and is perfect. We are definitely going back!

We went during the fall and the leaves on the trees near the stream were breath taking. It takes a little while to get out to that area but its peaceful and we didn’t run in to any other hikers even though there were around five other vehicles parked at the trail head when we arrived. I think if the sun had been out partially the hike would have been more vibrant and interesting. We hiked on a cloudy overcast day in the morning. We did see some deer. I might go hike it again in the summer so maybe we can see some dragon flies.

A wonderful long day hike with at least three different feels. The first three miles feel like desert hiking in Texas (and represent almost all the climbing of the entire hike), the next section down the slot canyon has its own feel and the final six miles involves wet traversing of the Gila River. We wore our hiking boots straight through the river section. The water was chilly but not unpleasant. Hiking poles were a huge plus for the crossings. Picking up the river crossings and identifying the trail is difficult at times. A good rule of thumb when crossing: once across the river go to the far canyon wall to pick up the trail. The road section at the end of the hike felt longer than a mile on weary legs. A fun and interesting hike.

I hiked this trail several times before the floods destroyed it. I haven’t been back since they rebuilt it but it is my understanding that it has been completed. The canyon and views were beautiful. Well worth the time.

Beautiful canyon with a running creek. We are 54 and made this hike October 28th. It's the perfect time of year, weather was sunny and cool. The creek was running and you will need to cross the creek numerous times. It is shallow but in certain areas the rocks are slippery.
We hiked to the mill and back which was 7 miles. The canyon and trees provide great shade and we were the only ones on the trail.
Highly recommend this hike!

backpacking
6 months ago

This trail is not maintained. Recent fires and new vegetation has made finding the trail almost impossible once you get 3 or so miles in (when the trail turns to the north). I made it almost to the ridge top (N33 19 36.3 W108 47 51.8) before turning back. No water along the way. But, the views up there were pretty neat. Also, the drive to the trail head is a bit rough near the end. I think the trail on the east side of the mountain is even worse.

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