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Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Datil-Mogollon Volcanic Plateau, New Mexico

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Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

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  • The trail crosses the West Fork of the Gila River.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • The trail crosses over a small stream several times.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • The trail is quite steep in places.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • The trail crosses over a stream several times.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • The first view of the cliff dwellings after a quarter of a mile.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Close-up view of the cliff dwellings.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Climb a staircase to enter the third cave.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • A staircase assists visitors in climbing over the fragile walls of the ruins.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • The ruins in caves four and five.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • There are several staircases in the ruins.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • The Ancestral Puebloans who inhabited these cliff dwellings had an amazing view.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Looking inside one of the rooms.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Pictograph located high on the cliff wall.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • There are many ladders you can climb to peer into the rooms.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Climb down the ladder to take the trail back.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • The trail back to the parking lot.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • View of the parking lot and footbridge in the valley below.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Javelina (or the collared peccary) are often spotted in the area.- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Breathtaking ruins. Beautiful views.
Cons: 
Steep trail.
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Region:
Datil-Mogollon Volcanic Plateau, NM
Access: 
Hike-in
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall, Summer
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

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Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument was once the home of the Mogollon Puebloan people. They built houses inside of natural caves in Cliff Dweller Canyon using rock, mortar, and wood between 1276 and 1287. After only a few decades, the Puebloans abandoned their homes for reasons anthropologists debate to this day. The site at Cliff Dweller Canyon consists of around 40 rooms with pit houses and surface pueblos in the surrounding region.

The trail to the Gila Cliff Dwellings is short and steep. After crossing the West Fork of the Gila River, the path criss-crosses over Cliff Dweller Creek as it ascends to the ruins. There are seven natural caves containing ruins and evidence of use, and the trail passes three of them. Visitors are able to climb ladders and designated staircases to peer over walls and see into rooms. A ranger is present in caves three and four to answer questions. Guided tours are available, except during the winter season.

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