New Mexico January 13, 2018
The Remnants Of This Ancient Village Are One Of New Mexico’s Most Awe-Inspiring Attractions
You don’t need to look far to find history in New Mexico. It exists all around us, both out in the open and hidden away. Today, we’re going to check out one national monument that is home to some spectacular history.
This is Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, a remote site tucked away in the Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico. It’s a fairly small area, composed of just 533 acres and the nearest city is Silver City, which is located 45 miles south of the national monument.
Between 1275 and 1300 AD, the dwellings were home to the Mogollon people. It was a community likely made up of about a dozen families living in five cliff alcoves and 46 rooms.
Eventually, however, the dwellings were abandoned by the early 14th century. Anthropologists have not determined why but Hopi oral tradition points to migration and environmental changes.
Visiting the dwellings themselves requires an easy hike. The trail is approximately one mile long and will require you to cross some bridges to access it. This is a wonderful trek above the trees, so take your time to enjoy the views!
Once you arrive, you’ll be astounded by the views here. The ancient dwellings still stand in fairly good condition, despite looting that took place before the Antiquities Act of 1906.
Looting following American settlement of New Mexico included not just removal of pottery sherds and tools but also several mummified bodies found near the dwellings.
Once you arrive, you’ll have a chance to explore parts of the dwellings under the watchful eye of a park ranger. Walk through the rooms, ask the ranger questions, and imagine what life must have been like nearly 800 years ago.
Have you ever had a chance to visit the dwellings? What was your experience like?
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is located approximately 1.5 hours north of Silver City via State Highway 15. You can find details about the monument, events, and more by visiting the
National Park Service website.
Ready to explore more incredible places that feature New Mexico’s history? Read more in
These 7 New Mexico Hiking Trails Lead To Some Incredible Pieces Of History.