Explore the most popular hiking trails near Gila Hot Springs with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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

6 days ago

We enjoyed this short, well maintained trail to the dwellings. Lots of flora along the trail along with the beautiful views. One can only imagine how difficult life must have been.

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.

The first couple miles of the trail where overgrown with light vegetation and there are 40-ish river crossings up to knee deep so be prepared to get wet.

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

Short hike on a well-marked trail of a moderate incline, lots of stone steps. My 2yo did the hike up to the cliff dwellings today. What a fascinating site to visit. We love learning more ancient indigenous cultures. Currently described as “ancient Puebloan of the Mogollon area.” My husband notes the significance of a keyhole window which is a rare building feature to see. The views are great looking out from the dwellings. A must-do visit for people of all ages, particularly history/archaeology interests.

Only did about 8 or 9 miles into this trail till Ring Canyon Spire, an eye-catching rocky spire along the West Fork. First 2 miles of the trail are relatively flat, mile 2 to 6 are the most spectacular (amazing rock spires, cliff dwelling) 6 to 9 the canyon gets a little wider. Unfortunately I didn't get to Hell's Hole. Trail easy to follow despite being overgrown in places. Trail climbs out of valley at times, offering nice views.

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!

We went in late April on a whim and enjoyed near perfect temperatures, as well as free admission. As others have noted, they don't allow food or gum, only water. They recommend carrying extra water and stuff, but it's a very short, easy hike with only one small section of elevation gain. The trail is well marked and the archeological site is pretty well preserved. The volunteers do a nice job of giving interpretations along the trail, and if you ask, they'll tell you some good stories about the burn scar as well. Definitely worth a small detour, though a quick stop at the visitor center doesn't hurt either. Be aware of the limited hours of opening as well.

Great short hike to the dwellings. Look out for wild flowers and lizards hiding in the rocks along the path. A sun hat/sun screen is recommended as there is very little shade. The volunteer ranger at the dwellings was great! Filled with knowledge and super friendly. :) The drive near there is very scenic and enjoyable as well.

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.

It's a shame this trail's so short! It's beautiful. After you cross the bridge, you'll walk through a canyon by a creek. There's a couple of bridges to walk across. You get a photo op of the cliff dwellings, then a climb up to them. There's a ranger on duty to answer questions. After viewing the dwellings, you walk along the cliff. Then descend back to the bridge.

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
5 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.

5 months ago

Magical place

Amazing! The first cliff dwellings I've been to. We got a tour of the dwellings from a volunteer guide, then looped back along the creek.

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.

Awesome

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 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
8 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.

hiking
11 months ago

The Gila is Sooo nice, hot springs, camping, river crossings, canyons, wildlife.

This trail has it all.

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

Very nice hike, at this time-west fork trail is only accessible by this route. Look for cave dwelling at about mile 3, many river crossings and wildlife, basically level terrain

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