The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Billy and I were visiting Silver City, NM for just a few days and didn’t have much time to sight see. There was one thing that was on the list of must do’s!! The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in the Gila National Forest. When I saw the pictures of the dwellings I knew it was something that I had to see.
The Cliff Dwellings were created by the Mogollon people and were used from the year 1275 to the early 14th Century. According to archeologists these cliff dwellings served as home for 10-15 families. The area was established as a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, and consists of 533 acres of forrest.
It is hard to believe that these dwellings are still standing after 700 years, the pictures just don’t do it justice. This is not something that you can see from the road, you have to hike up the canyon. Let me tell you, it is worth it! You are able to walk around inside the dwellings to get a feeling of what it was like to live and thrive here in the 13th Century.
It is a one mile loop hike up the canyon and down. About 1/2 mile up you can step onto an overlook and see the dwellings across the canyon. It is a pretty good view and that 1/2 mile hike up is fairly easy. If you are like me and actually want to walk inside and touch the walls of the dwellings you will need to continue up another 1/4 mile or so. This part of the hike gets more challenging, especially if you are not used to hiking up a rocky incline. (Like myself. I found it quite challenging but doable.) Coming upon the Cliff Dwellings is spectacular though. Seriously one of the best things i’ve seen. The fact that these were built over 700 years ago and you can walk amongst where the people once lived is just surreal to me.
The hike down is also challenging as it is very steep an rocky with a drop off on one side. You can choose to go back the way you came as well which is longer but not near as challenging. We did the loop, so went down the very steep rocky terrain, as it was much shorter and we were running short on time. If I had the time or energy I probably would have gone back the way I came. lol. Either way, the hike is very much worth the payoff of visiting the Gila Cliff Dwelling in my opinion! They are a must see if you are in that area!
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