Since we were in Deming, New Mexico for a few days we decided to take a trip up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. This is one of the more remote national monuments in the Southwest. It’s deep in the Gila National Forest. It was just over 3 hours to drive there, taking into account I wanted to stop and take photos along the way. The trip took us up through Silver City and then continued on a very narrow winding road into beautiful country.
When we arrived, we didn’t take the guided tour, we just read up on the history at the Visitor Center and took the walk up the trail to the dwellings on our own. It was a beautiful fall day and the trail (one mile) wound up through a narrow ravine along a tree-lined stream bed and up the mountain side to the location of the dwellings. They are in amazing condition. The fact that we could actually climb up into what once was home to many families of the Mogollon people seemed strange. Usually these places of ancient history are off limits and you can only look from a distance.
The hike was steep but I believe it was only an elevation gain of 180 feet or so..
People of the Mogollon culture lived in these cliff dwellings from between 1275 and 1300 AD, which is the only location that contains Mogollon sites. Archeologists have identified 46 rooms in the five caves, and believed they were occupied by 10 to 15 families. They don’t really know why the dwellings were abandoned.
View looking out from the rooms of the dwelling.