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.

Went in December. Water crossings very cold. followed the trail waypoints on the all trails map, got to the end, started to get dark, couldn't find the hotspring. If you have a medium clearance vehicle and some common sense the road is tame. Only at the end of the road there are a few deep ruts. Saw 5 wild turkeys and got growled at by something that sounded like a mountain lion.

1 month ago

I took this trail with my girlfriend and it was a little bit sketchy getting there because you have to drive over a river four times and I have a little four-door Honda. Regardless we made it and upon hiking in I couldn’t help but notice for the first 3 miles I felt like I was looking at the same photograph over and over. We probably would’ve continued except for the fact that the grass that grows along the trail loves to send little fox tails into your shoes which makes your feet feel like they’re being attacked by thousands of ants. I’m used to hiking some really beautiful trails in the San Gabriel Mountains in California so when I hiked this one the degree of difficulty was not there and the redundancy of the terrain was too much to bear. We turned around at 3 miles because we were bored out of our heads and our feet were on fire from the stupid stickers in our shoes. Without a doubt I will not be back to this trail.

Excellent canyon trail for day hikes and overnight backpacking. Very Narrow canyon in places with many water crossings. Be aware of weather conditions as a flash flood could be disastrous if caught in the narrows. We did a 2 nighter in late October 2018 and there was plenty of water for the first 4 miles we hiked. Seemed alot longer because of all the river crossings. Some great camps along the way and old mining ruins to explore too. Saw deer walking up the river, bear scat along the way and had a mountain lion make itself heard very near our camp on the first night. Great backpacking trip.

Great trail, no see wildlife but lots of tracks, hikers camp at Gila river intersection is excellent. Beautiful area

Aside from the piece of shit yelling "LINDA" for an hour strait, it was pretty cool. Next time you lose someone dude, GO LOOK FOR THEM. You pretty much ruined the serenity of this spot for everyone. Expect to see a lot of people on this trail during the weekend. Hot springs are more warm than hot.

Great Hike went in at 1:30pm was hot the 1st 2 miles in with no shade, then once you get past the 2 mile marker it gets better. Stayed overnight at the springs and hiked out in the AM. No snakes but did see fresh cougar tracks.

watch out for rattlesnakes, they are out there, be careful.....my fourth time out here, and its the first time we saw one , happy trails

Early September 2018. Great hike! We started at 2pm and got to the Hot Springs around 5:45pm after taking a few of breaks. The hike starts out with a gradual uphill for about 1 hr, then 1hr downhill into a canyon until you reach the fork of Little Bear Canyon and Middle Fork. No water in the first twi hours. Though the hard copy map shows to not cross Middle Fork yet, it seems like that trail hasn’t been used in a while, cross it and just follow it, all the way around. It then took us almost 2 hours to reach the hot springs. The only hard thing was that we didn’t know how far we were going and even though it’s all flat, you are slowed down the river crossings. Once we got there all the good flat camp spots were taken, but we found a good one nested up in the river bank, so we camp here. Went into the hot springs in the morning (very nice in the beginning, then they were warm) and then took off. We got lucky, no storms while we were there, though you could see them creeping nearby. It seems as if these thunderstorms are unpredictable. We did get stuck in a hail storm the night before but this was 30-40min out from the Visitor’s Center on highway 15. The Middle Fork water was fine, we brought aquamira drops and used them a few times. The water was clear. Note that water is used upstream. No signs of bears, cougars, nor wolves. Only birds, squirrels, and lots of frogs. Would definitely come back to do more than one night. Have fun!

Absolutely stunning. Worth the river crossings and feels good after hiking for a bit. Pack hiking shoes and then sandals along with poles to help with the cross.

It’s an interesting hike because you’re going through a diverse scenery on your way to the springs. However be warned, you will be wading through the Gila river multiple times, at least knee deep

Blowdowns were mostly cleared. Well maintained and easy to follow for trail in the Gila. Most of the trail is through burned forest from the Whitewater Baldy fire. The new growth aspen forest obscures the view in some places. Most of the side trails appeared unmaintained or nonexistent

Tough trail with lots of downed timber. About 7 miles through old burn, very hot and exposed in the summer.

Awesome trail. A little bit bumpy at the beginning because of the rocks, but once you get to the hot springs it really pays off. We camped about 4 miles deep into the trail and it was beautiful. We saw a fox, two deers and a snake. No signs of bear or wolves. Really amazing place if you want to be far from civilization.

Beautiful, peaceful...go on a weekday too avoid a lot of foot traffic, I’m gonna do it again!

backpacking
6 months ago

I grew up taking annual family hikes to Turkey creek in the early 80’s through 90’s. My last trip was 1998 to show it to my husband. It’s a very dry hot trip any later than early June and it’s extremely important to now put your head In the water or get it splashed in face or mouth due to bacteria in the water. Now that the kids are older I may just have to take them up the trail!

The road in is narrow and hard on your tires and 4wheel drive is definitely a good idea... although I did watch my uncle Clyde make it across the Gila 4 crossings in his Blue 1972 Mustang in 1985;) Definitely fond memories of this whole area!

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 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 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.

backpacking
8 months 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
9 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.

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.

hiking
11 months ago

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!

backpacking
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

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
Sunday, December 24, 2017

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.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

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!

This trail has it all.

on Mineral Creek Trail

Sunday, October 15, 2017

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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

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