Explore the most popular camping trails in Gila National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
22 days 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
1 month 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.

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.

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.

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 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
4 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.

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!

on Mineral Creek Trail

7 months ago

Go there! It’s about 1 1/2 hours NW of Silver City on hwy 180. Well worth the drive. Gorgeous scenery and yesterday, Oct 14, there was lots of water in the creek. You will cross the creek many times and there are not always stepping stones, so have the right footwear, or just resolve to have damp feet. There are a few places that require crossing over smooth rock surfaces and it is slippery! If you have balance problems or are afraid of falling, beware. My husband slipped and fell into the water and banged his knee. No serious damage but it demonstrates my point. I love this trail! You can hike for many miles and I look forward to doing so on future outings. We went just three miles in and loved every bit of it (except the fall). Take a picnic lunch and sit on one of the many large flat rocks overlooking the creek.

ppvojk

This was our third annual trip to the Jordan. This time we took some time to go check out the cliff dwellings first. It is located two minutes away and takes about an hour in total. We hiked to the Jordan, (awesome), we stayed two nights, and hiked out. After the hike out we hit one of the cultivated spring resorts along the 15. It cost $5 to enter and had three pools. There is nothing as satisfying as a hot soak after a 7 mile hike just before a long drive home.

my third time here......awesome trail, and hot springs. ...please let's keep this place beautiful. ......you can see the impact that us as humans have on the area........pack it in , pack it out. ......let's keep this a gem of a place !

Would be a 5 but you will need a high profile vehicle, also a longer drive down dirt roads. No one there on Labor Day. VERY nice

hiking
9 months ago

One of the best kept secrets in New Mexico. Super fun hike in water. We'll do it again and again. Wear water shoes! Bring the kids.

Tough trail backpacking. Good camp sites. Beautiful views. Well marks slot canyon with good running creek.

backpacking
11 months ago

A secluded spot with great rewards. High water and flash flooding can be an issue so be on your toes. We startled a large bull elk further up the very tight canyon and were notably scared as it charged down the canyon at us.

A great hike, much like the Aravaipa Canyon, in Arizona but without the 50 person per day limit. Found the hot springs fairly easily because we had a map. They are tucked away on the side of hill, about 30 feet above the river. When a friend and I went, there was a guy camping out just above the springs and he was offering free back rubs (he was naked) to all visitors. Beside this funny story to tell friends, it was a great experience. The pool at the hot spring itself is known to contain a bacteria known to cause meningitis so submerging your head is not recommended. Not very hot. just barely hot enough, in my opinion.

a good challenging hike with the reward of the hot spring at the end I have nothing else new to say that hasn't been said extra shoes, socks , expect to get wet . the only thing peculiar that happened to me was when I was at the hot springs a family was there a husband a wife and two children and the two adults decided to get in naked which I thought was kind of weird considering they were with their children other than that a great adventure a great hike and very challenging o yeah one last thing not a good hike for a canine mine got pretty beat up it there

I'm convinced these hot springs are actually the fountain of youth. ♡♡♡

backpacking
Saturday, April 01, 2017

So far the best trail I've been to. I found it to be a bit difficult since it was so long and it had many different terrains you had to go through but nonetheless that's what made it worth it. Very amazing views. The hot spring was definitely worth it and do not forget to bring extra shoes as you will be crossing a river repeatedly and getting wet.

This was my favorite trail of our week long trip in New Mexico. There is so much variance in the landscape and the Biomes. Once you are in the canyons there are fields of wild flowers and wild mint growing along the river. We went in september and it was incredible.Tthe spring is actualy a little tricky to find. you just have to look for aquatic plants growing along the canyons. We found the large pool by following the spring from the river. Don't look for hot water or anything like that. It did not help. Everyone said you can't miss the spring but we sure had a hard time finding it. There are about 1,257 river crossings on this trail. Just bring shoes you don't mind getting wet. The water was not especially high or fast. you are just wet for most of this hike. Great camping spots. Try to camp near the Spring if possible. The sites seem to me a little better up river. Also, We did find a large rattle snake in one of the fields. He let us know he was there long before we got too close and it was not a big deal but something to be aware of.

Great backpacking hike. The campground is disgusting. People leave their trash and toilet paper right next to the camp sites. Next time I go i'll be looking for a different area to sleep.

backpacking
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The hike to these springs definitely pays off when you get to soak in the hot springs. Such a beautiful place here in the Gila Wilderness. I recommend bringing water shoes for the many river crossings. Also check the weather ahead of time, it rained up the canyon and the river rose a few feet. Had to hike out a day later to wait for the river to recede in order to cross. Such a beautiful place to backpack and camp to. I'd say it was moderately difficult.

Exactly 15 crossings to get there. Camp sites near by. Clean area. Beautiful!

hiking
Sunday, April 24, 2016

This is our very favorite trail that we have hiked in New Mexico. It is absolutely gorgeous! My 11 year old son says that he thinks this is what heaven is going to look like. There is foliage, wildflowers (at the right time of year, of course!), waterfalls, fabulous rock formations, soaring canyon walls, and a natural stone arch. You have to hike through the creek to stay on the trail, but that is part of the beauty of the trail. This is good hike for children--my 6 year old did it with me and my 11 and 13 year old children. We just love it, and we will be back soon!

fishing
Friday, June 19, 2015

Fished this section several times always love it

The total hiking distance from the TJ Corral will take you through varying types of terrain and ends after snaking across the Gila River some 15 times. Flooding has washed out much of the trail but watching for rock cairns and simply following the middle fork from the Little Bear campsite will get you there with no problem. Look for a green area with warm water flowing from the mountain face to locate the springs. It's worth the effort once you find it.

Absolutely gorgeous hike to the springs! It has been incredibly washed out from the flooding in 2013 but it is still beautiful. Bring appropriate water shoes as there are many, many river crossings....water sandals with wool socks is a good idea as it will keep the sand from irritating your feet (I know this from experience).

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