Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

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Gila Cliff Dwellings, United States

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Reviews

684 reviews
Hike to the Gila Cliff Dwellings Oct 24, 2017
The trail leading to the Gila Cliff Dwellings is a one mile loop trail that rises about 180 feet in elevation via a series of switchbacks, steps, and stairs, and is rated “moderately strenuous” and you better believe it. It may have been a breeze for me in my 20s and 30s but not so much in my 60s. For those who do not feel up to the entire hike there is a viewpoint about ¼ mile along the trail and before the steep parts. When I was there in October 2017, however, the trees had grown up to the point where I (at 5’7”) had difficulty getting a good view of the ruins. The rangers suggested we take the trail past the viewpoint gong up and the opposite trail going down. Be advised, however, that going that way involves climbing down a handmade ladder so if that is not doable for you then you will have to backtrack. Additionally the route back burned in a fire recently so there was little to no tree cover for shade. Make sure you have a hat, good walking shoes, and some water. No other drinks or food is allowed along the trail. There are public restrooms at the trailhead if needed and a small museum/ranger station with some displays about the ruins and the plant and animal life in the area. If this trail does not quench your thirst for hiking the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is surrounded by the Gila Wilderness which has 400 miles of hiking trails.
Trail Along the Creek (Going to Ru…
View From the Viewpoint
The Trail Gets Steeper
Approaching the Ruins
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
pfsmalo says:
Looks like a great little hike that Jim
Posted on: Nov 08, 2017
walterman9999 says:
Posted on: Nov 04, 2017
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684 reviews
Learn About the Mogollon and See Their Ruins Oct 24, 2017
I have been here three or four times and have done the hike on three occasions. I find things like these prehistoric ruins fascinating. It is interesting to contemplate how they lived. The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a 533 acre park supervised by the National Park Service. The park was established in 1907 to preserve a unique series of habitats built by the Mogollon People between 100 AD and 1300 AD, There are also the remains of later settlements established by the Apache. Chiricahua Apache chief Goyahkla better known as Geronimo was born by the headwaters of the Gila River in what is now part of the park. When the park was first established, the park service did not fully realize just what they were preserving. After a number of years and several archeological surveys the Mogollon culture have been determined to be a distinct and important prehistoric culture living in southwestern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, and adjacent areas of northern Mexico and western Texas. The Mogollon settled in an area centered on the headwaters of the Gila River and what is now the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. More than 103 prehistoric sites have been identified within several miles of these headwaters. The monument includes about 45 of these sites. The prehistoric sites preserved within the monument include: Archaic rock shelters through Early and Late Period Pit Houses and Classic Pueblo periods up to an Apache site. The monument is on the edge of the area settled by the Mimbres Culture which is best known for its beautiful pottery. The Gila Cliff Dwellings, the main attraction in the park, dates from the Tularosa phase which is more common north of here around the town of Reserve. The TJ Ruins, also in the park, are from the Classic Mimbres phase. Having these two different phases so close together geographically gives clues about the interaction of these peoples. Although the cliff dwellings themselves had been looted pretty thoroughly before the park became a protected area some of the other, more hidden sites, are among the best preserved Mogollon sites in the country. The Gila Cliff Dwellings is surrounded by the Gila Wilderness which was established in 1924 and encompasses 872 square miles. The park is open 9 AM to 5 PM daily (summer) and 9 AM to 4 PM daily (winter). Admission is $5 per adult unless you have a park pass like I do. National Park Service Passes are accepted. Guided tours of the dwellings consisting of about 40 rooms in 5 caves, and built between 1280 and 1300 are sometimes available inquire at the visitor’s center. You can also walk through the ruins on your own.
Visitor's Center
Display in Visitor's Center
Mogollon Pottery
The Ruins
Gila Cliff Dwellings Map
Gila Cliff Dwellings
photo by: BASAIC