Surrounded by the Gila National Forest and within the Gila Wilderness lies the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, 533 acres that were home to the Mogollon people during the 13th and early 14th centuries.
The monument is a long, steep drive from Silver City, the nearest town. Once inside the park, it is an easy half-mile walk along the canyon floor to see the dwellings from below. A hike 175 feet up a rocky trail lets you experience these unique structures up close. The dwellings were constructed inside caves, and many of the 700-year-old walls are still standing.
A brief film in the visitor center describes the dwellings and what is known about the people who built them. Guided tours of the cliffs are available at specified times, and park staff stationed inside the dwellings can answer questions.
The neighboring Forest and Wilderness are popular with hikers. Save time for a trek to the nearby hot springs, including Lightfeather just 20 minutes from the visitor center, or Jordan, 6 to 8 miles away.