22 Great Reasons for Visiting Grant County New Mexico

Birding in Grant County NM

Here in southwestern New Mexico, we’ve got a whole lot to offer to both the casual visitor and the serious outdoors enthusiast, from enormous tracts of National Forest to artifacts from ancient cultures to some of the best birding in the country.

Here are 22 great reasons to visit Silver City and Grant County New Mexico:

  1. Gila Cliff Dwellings: Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument offers a glimpse of the homes and lives of the people of the Mogollon culture who lived there from the 1280′s through the early 1300′s. Containing 533 acres, it was established on November 16, 1907. The dwellings are located forty-four miles north of Silver City, New Mexico, on Highway 15.
  2. Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway: The 93-mile Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway beckons you to experience the beauties of southwestern New Mexico. Walk where the spirits of all the people — miners, homesteaders, Indians, Spanish explorers, mountain men — who have passed through this area left their mark. People can camp here, but they are recommended to use these foam earplugs reviewed by a lot of people because there arae lots of noises at night that could spook you. And, like those who came before, the beauty of the surroundings will leave its mark on you.
  3. Catwalk National Recreation Area: The Catwalk National Scenic Trail offers a fascinating glimpse into the geologic and historic foundations of southwest New Mexico. The result of cataclysmic volcanic actions, the area now offers a beautiful picnic spot next to Whitewater Creek, a challenging one-mile trail along the historic 1890′s mining waterway, and a sense of place that creates images of an earlier time.
  4. Fort Bayard: Fort Bayard played an integral role in protecting settlers and miners in the Los Pinos and Silver City mining districts. Copper, silver, and gold mining spurred economic development of this region of southwestern New Mexico. Learn more on how to tell if gold is real.
  5. Birding: Southwest New Mexico has a reputation for being a bit of birders’ paradise! The lush riparian river valleys which provide for some of the top rated kayaks to be enjoyed, scenic mountains and canyons, proximity to Mexico and the surrounding lands of the Gila National Forest attract over 300 species.
  6. Gila Wilderness: The first wilderness set aside by Congress was within the vast 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest. The Gila Wilderness is the largest with 559,324-acres and is one of four designated wilderness areas within Old West Country …three within the Gila (Gila, Aldo Leopold and Blue Range Wilderness) and one within the Cibola National Forest (Apache Kid Wilderness).
  7. Dark Night Skies: With our limited development, higher altitude and bountiful “dark skies,” southwestern New Mexico is one of the premier locations in the United States for stargazing and portable astronomy.
  8. The Mining District: The Central Mining District is a 45 square mile area in Grant County and includes the population centers of Bayard, Hurley and Santa Rita. The district also includes one of the largest open pit mines in the world (at Santa Rita) and a large copper ore processing facility south of Hurley.
  9. Elevation, Climate and Weather: Grant County New Mexico is one of the most diverse landscapes in the southwest US, with half a dozen climatic regions to be found and an incredible variety of vegetation, weather and temperatures to be found — sometimes over the space of just a few miles!
  10. Art Galleries and Studios: You can’t stroll through our historic downtown district without noticing that we have a lot of art galleries! We’re proud to have been named one of the “100 Best Art Towns in America” by author John Villani. And our active gallery scene doesn’t stop in downtown Silver City–there are a number of galleries in the surrounding communities.
  11. Silver City Museum: The Silver City Museum creates opportunities for residents and visitors to explore, understand, and celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of southwestern New Mexico by collecting, preserving, researching and interpreting the region’s unique history.
  12. Cycling: Not only are we home to the renowned SRAM Tour of the Gila stage race, but we’ve also got miles and miles of amazing scenery to take in while cycling around Grant County.
  13. Silver City Blues Festival: Every Memorial Day weekend, the Mimbres Region Arts Council presents one of the Southwest’s premier FREE Blues Festivals.
  14. Pickamania: Pickamania! is a joyous celebration of American music: bluegrass, folk, Americana, roots and more, all for free!
  15. Clay Festival: The Silver City Clay Festival is an extravaganza of cultural and artistic events celebrating sculpture, tile, adobe, and all things clay.
  16. Wild Wild West Pro Rodeo: Silver City’s Wild Wild West Professional Rodeo features high-flying bull riding, fast riding and roping and much more, all under the cool evening skies of Silver City. The annual rodeo competition features some of the nation’s toughest cowboys and toughest bulls.
  17. Water: Although the southwest is not often thought about in terms of its water resources, the fact is that there are plenty of ways to explore water in the Grant County area and nearby!
  18. Cuisine: When you’re in the area, be sure to fill up at one of our great local restaurants.
  19. Tamale Fiesta: Get in the holiday mood with a Borderland favorite and a traditional Christmas treat, tamales, at the Tamale Fiesta!
  20. Red Paint Powwow: Silver City (Grant County) is the original homeland of the Chiricahua Apache, who have come together as a group to provide stability to the population of Native Americans in this area. The Red Paint Tribal Council promotes the Red Paint Powwow, held every January, which has become a major tourist attraction and provides much needed “Representation of Cultures” for this area.
  21. WNMU Museum: Housed on the campus of Western New Mexico University, the WNMU Museum houses one of the world’s most complete and comprehensive collections of Mimbres pottery, basketry, and other artifacts, in the Eisele Collection of Prehistoric Southwestern Pottery and Artifacts.
  22. Day Tripping: There are a whole lot of southwestern experiences to be had within driving distance of Silver City, as this list of day trips in Grant County illustrates.

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