The Catwalk of Whitewater Canyon is a great place for everyone, though you probably won’t find any cats. You will find parents and children, couples holding hands, backpackers hiking into the Wilderness, seniors, photographers, birders, people from Europe, Australia or Canada, and locals who have been here countless times and keep coming back because it’s just so beautiful. Sometimes you won’t find anyone at all. You’ll have this gorgeous place of hidden waterfalls and pools, colorful cliffs and giant boulders, walkways and bridges, all to yourself. You’ll have the Catwalk experience.
The drive from Silver City to the Catwalk is a scenic trip. Highway 180 curves and rolls along the foothills of the Mogollon Mountains, a sky bound fortress of peaks cut by deep, craggy canyons. Whitewater Canyon is one of them.
In the village of Glenwood you turn off the highway and five miles up the valley the road ends where the Catwalk narrows begin. There’s a beautiful National Forest picnic area shaded by giant Sycamore trees along the banks of Whitewater Creek and educational signage telling the history and geology. From here you have a choice of two trails that will take you to the narrows. One is carved out of the rock and the other is a paved universal trail. Both trails converge at the beginning of the narrows. The first section of the Catwalk through the narrows is universal and can accommodate people of varying abilities.
The Catwalk is a passage to hidden, secret places. Sheer cliff walls rise out of the streambed and the walkways, supported on steel beams 20 feet above the stream, zigzag from cliff to cliff as they wind through the narrows. The canyon suddenly opens into the light and the trail continues on with short series steps, hard-surfaced trail and scenic footbridges that span the cascading stream. Waterfalls echo in hidden grottos inviting you to linger and listen.
At the 1.1 mile marker a metal bridge, bouncing slightly under your steps, takes you to a sheltered ledge and waterfall pouring out of the rocks into a deep trout pool. The ledge is a dead end and the end of the Catwalk.
From the bridge the trail continues up Whitewater Canyon. It’s worth going about 100 feet further to an overlook above the bridge to get a view of the canyon. If you want to hike further continue on up the canyon and you’ll be rewarded by the beauty of Whitewater Creek and spectacular rock formations.
The Catwalk is a relaxing and rewarding way to spend the day enjoying a natural wonder and making memories. Take lots of pictures.