Gila National Forest

Gila National ForestFrom the cottonwoods of the Mimbres Valley, you will quickly enter the juniper, pinon and ponderosa pine country of the Gila (pronounced ‘HEE-la’) Forest. Here, spruce and fir thrive on the highest peaks, while the desert agave clings to the vertical cliffs of deep canyon walls. Almost one fourth of the 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest is in wilderness. Largest of these is the 438,360 acre Gila Wilderness, promoted by conservationist Aldo Leopold and set aside in 1924 as the first such area in the United States.

Some 400 miles of fishing streams lace the entire forest. Wildlife in the Gila National Forest includes Rocky Mountain mule deer, Sonoran White-tail deer, beaver, elk, bobcat, mountain lion and black bear. The lucky motorist may spot wild turkey, antelope and other animals in the right season.

Largest federal land mass encompassing more than any other forest area except Alaska. The Continental Divide meanders through the Gila for 170 miles of solitude and grandeur. The Gila National Forest lies from Silver City north to Reserve and west from Hillsboro to the Arizona border.

New Mexico’s Most Remote Spot: On December 6, 2001, the Albuquerque Journal named a location in the Gila Wilderness as “New Mexico’s Most Remote Spot.” A team examined the point most distant to roads and to population density. They chose a point 11.5 miles west of the Gila Cliff Dwellings Visitors Center.

Largest federal land mass encompassing more than any other forest area except Alaska. The Continental Divide meanders through the Gila National Forest for 170 miles of solitude and grandeur. The Gila lies from Silver City north to Reserve and west from Hillsboro to the Arizona border.