Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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.

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
12 days 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
24 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

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
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.

1 month ago

Awesome

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!

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
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.

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!

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
7 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.

Very nice area need to us grudging grave trail to access west fork many river crossings and a cliff dwelling

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