When I found out I was moving to New Mexico I started researching like crazy all of the activities and adventures I could find. One of the first places I was super curious about was the Gila National Forest; I had seen numerous pictures of the Catwalk Trail and decided it looked magical! When I arrived in New Mexico it was one of my first weekend trips, and goodness it really was magical! Here are a few tips and tricks from that weekend adventure:
The Catwalk Trail in the Gila National Forest was my favorite part of this weekend adventure. My suggestion is to follow the metal trail as far as it can go then venture off the "official trail" and continue walking along the path upstream as far as you can go. When you reach a comfortable point I suggest turning around and using the river to come back down. My roommate and I did it and it was a blast; we went in September and the water levels were perfect for this but I for sure recommend only doing this if it's safe...obviously. I love being in the water and the chance to canyon down a river and even play in a tiny waterfall was basically my water loving heart's dream come true.
Gila Hot Springs Ranch
There are some hot springs near the Gila Monument, they were not exceptionally impressive (especially in the heat) but they were pleasant and inexpensive. Bring a swimsuit and change beforehand if possible (the bathrooms are an outhouse type situation and when I went in there there were sooo many spiders...eek!)
Gila National Monument
The Gila National Monument itself is pretty cool, I think it's fun that they allow you to climb up into the ruins. While the drive out there takes a bit, it is a short mile(ish) loop up to the ruins and back. I always recommend becoming a junior ranger when possible because it allows you to learn way more about what you are seeing and experiencing (unfortunately I didn't do that here and I for sure regret it). While up in the ruins ask the rangers (or volunteers) questions, I found they showed us things and explained things that we would have had no way of knowing on our own.
Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery
I am a huge fan of local distilleries and love trying local spirits! I would definitely recommend getting drinks at Little Toad Brewery (and maybe even a meal), they often have live music so be sure to check their schedule of events to see when events are taking place!
Javalina Coffee House
With all of your adventuring coffee is a must! I recommend getting a coffee at Javalina Coffee House. I just got an espresso but it was a cute/quirky little shop and for sure did the trick!
Tapas Tree Grill
While I didn't technically make it here (they were closed both times I tried) their food looks delicious and it comes highly recommended. If you make it here let me know what you think and if it's something I should go back for!
City of Rocks
This was my roommates favorite part of the trip. She loves to climb and this place has a way of taking you right back to your childhood days of exploring! It is such a unique and random little place and is a rock lover/explorer/climber's dream! There are rocks of all different levels and skills to play around on, not to mention some super rad photo ops. If you are going in the summer (or when it's hot) make sure to be on the look out for rattle snakes and bring lots of water! (Also, you can camp here if you are the camping type.) You will love this place, it was for sure a favorite!
I hope you enjoy your time in Gila/Silver City! Let me know in the comments section if you have any other tips or tricks for the area, I love hearing from you guys!