Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
342.00 ft (104.24 m)
Trail type
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Gila Cliff Dwellings are a fascinating National Monument that features natural caves with rooms built by Native Americans during the late 1200s. You can explore the caves by walking the 1 mile loop trail described below.

The trail begins from the visitor center and crosses over the West Fork of the Gila River via large footbridge. You’ll likely run into a ranger at the footbridge who will give you a run down on the dwellings and what to expect. The one way loop trail then follows a small stream through some pretty areas. You’ll cross the stream several times as you meander along.

Toward the far end of the loop you’ll begin to gain elevation as the trail turns to the right and heads toward the cliff dwellings. You’ll get your first glimpse of the dwellings from this area.

Continue along until you arrive at the dwellings. You’ll likely run into a ranger stationed here who is happy to answer questions or provide info. You can then hike into the dwellings themselves. Most of the rooms found here were built during the 1280s. Please stay on the trail and be respectful of the dwellings.

The best section of the dwellings is a bit further up. A sizable cave features lots of different rooms. You can climb the small ladders here to explore certain areas.

When finished, continue on the one way loop as it descends and ultimately heads back to the visitor center and parking lot.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Fascinating cliff dwellings. No entry fee.

Trailhead Elevation

5,717.00 ft (1,742.54 m)

Highest point

5,907.00 ft (1,800.45 m)


Vault toilet
Historically significant
Family friendly
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Potable water
Native artifacts

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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