Description - This special byway allows individuals to travel by auto into some of the nations most remote wilderness settings. The route begins at Silver City and ends at the Gila (He-la) Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Be prepared for breathtaking views as you travel into the Pinos Altos Mountain Range. You will have a chance to explore ancient cliff dwellings, view an open pit copper mine, and settlements dating back to the western movement.
The Gila Cliff Dwellings Inner Loop Scenic Byway features access to the Gila National Forest, which combines 3.3 million acres of forest and range, involving more federal land than any other national forest outside Alaska. This National Forest rises above the desert country of southwestern New Mexico, and here you can find cactus, grass, juniper, pine, spruce, aspen, and few people. The Continental Divide meanders for 170 miles through this awesome canyon country, once the stronghold of Apache warrior Geronimo and his followers.
Centuries ago, tribes lived in the cliffs here, and the remains of their homes are scattered throughout the forest. At the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and Gila Visitor Center, you can see an outstanding example preserved by the National Forest Service and the National Park Service.
The Gila's mountains include the Mogollon, Tularosa, Diablo, Big Burro, San Francisco and Mangas Mountains, and the Black Range. Elevations range from 4,500 feet in the desert to almost 11,000 feet on the often snow-covered crest of Whitewater Baldy. In the Gila you can find scenic drives, camp and picnic grounds, rushing streams, and majestic mountains. A favorite route runs from Silver City to Mimbres Valley, down Sapillo Creek, across the Piños Altos Mountains, and back to Silver City, with a side trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
- The Gila Cliff Dwellings Byway is known for it's Archeology, Historical, Natural, Recreational and Scenic Attractions.
Directions from : Travel from Silver City north on New Mexico Route 15.