There is much to do here in the area. Check out these popular places to visit!
A Visit to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The Gila Cliff Dwellings are well known. Within five natural caves there are 42 well-preserved rooms of stone and mud mortar that were built in the 12th century. A beautiful wooden footbridge spans the West Fork of the Gila River from the Gila Cliff Dwellings visitor station to the mouth of Cliff Dweller Canyon. The West Fork of the Gila River flows under the bridge, rippling and sparkling in the sun. Two mule deer drinking at the shore look up than lower their heads again. Above you towering rocks pierce the blue sky. There is only the sound of the river and wind in cottonwoods and pines. It's beautiful and peaceful, and time is forgotten. The river has flowed here for uncounted thousands of years. It was like this when the Mogollon people ventured up this valley and found the caves that would protect the dwellings they built and suddenly left behind 800 years ago. As the trail enters Cliff Dweller Canyon the walls close in and you walk in the dappled shade of pines accompanied by songs of birds and cascading water. There are little bridges that cross the stream and benches along the way to sit and enjoy the moment. A half-mile up the canyon the trail ascends in a series of stone steps. Here is your first view of the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Looking up you see dark arches, like giant eyes, in the cliffs above. Sheltered within the caves and reflecting the warm glow of the sun, are the Dwellings. You climb the stone steps to a broad shelf and pass by caves and ruins, inaccessible and high on the cliff face. At the largest of the caves a stair takes you up and into a great domed chamber, cool and dim with reflected light from outside. The stone walls of many rooms fit together like a puzzle on the sloping floor and the smoke of ancient fires blackens the high ceiling. Two great arched openings look out across the canyon to pine covered slopes. The view is stunning. A Monument volunteer is there to tell you about the Dwellings and the Mogollon people. Little is known about them but you can come to your own understanding of them by visiting their ancient homes. In learning how they lived you will find an appreciation for the endurance and spirit of the people who came before and left their mark in this timeless place. A visit to the Gila Cliff Dwellings in the heart of the Gila Wilderness is a great experience for everyone.
The Catwalk's history began with the discovery of gold and silver in the Mogollon (pronounced muggy- own) Mountains above Whitewater Canyon. The small town of Graham (also called Whitewater) grew up around a mill, located on the west hillside near the present day parking area. Ore was dropped from a chute down the Whitewater mesa and funneled into the mill where it was ground to separate the gold and silver from rock. Water was needed to generate the mill, so a pipeline was constructed to channel water from 3 miles up Whitewater creek. Brace holes were drilled to hold the pipeline. In the mid 1930's, after the mill had been closed for decades, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) rebuilt the Catwalk as a recreation attraction for the Gila National Forest. The Forest Service has rebuilt the Catwalk after several devastating floods, the latest in 2013. It is now reopened to enjoy again.
Silver City is the boyhood home of Billy the Kid. Silver City is a blend of the old and new, the last of the frontier days and modern culture. The historic downtown district has brick Victorian homes and stores built in the late 1800's and early 1900's. It's charm and character has been preserved by our community's efforts. You'll enjoy a visiting to the Silver City Museum, Western New Mexico University Museum, and the galleries and shops. Silver City has been listed in the books, The 100 Best Small Towns in America and The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America. The Silver City KOA has as all the area publications and maps to help you discover and enjoy Silver City and our wonderful area.
The Silver City Museum, a Victorian mansion built in 1881, was once the H.B. Ailman house. The museum has permanent and rotating exhibits of objects and furnishings from homes and business of the early frontier and mining days as well as ancient Mimbres and Casas Grandes Indian pottery and artifacts. There is also an outstanding archive of early photographs. Explore the various rooms of the Ailman house and climb the stairway to the cupola for a view of Silver City.
Located in this little mountain community nine miles from the Silver City KOA is the famous Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House where the flavor of the Old West is preserved. You'll have a great meal in a truly unique atmosphere. There is musical entertainment in the Saloon almost every night. You can also visit the Hearst Church, built in 1898 with money donated by the famous Hearst family. This unique adobe church now houses the Grant County Art Guild and an exhibit of horse drawn vehicles including the funeral hearse that carried Sheriff Pat Garrett.
The City of Rocks State Park By Jackie Blurton It's like the Flintstones' Town of Bedrock. Giant boulders rise up out of the desert floor like the buildings of a stone village. Stony avenues and alleyways lead you into the boulder maze of this silent “prehistoric city”. An occasional lizard scurries away as you walk through it, but no one lives here. The sun passes over it casting ever-changing shadows like a Stonehenge of the West, but no hands built this place. The boulders are formed of volcanic material that is eroded and shaped by desert winds and rain. They are at once beautiful and grotesque, strange and familiar, inspiring and maybe a bit disconcerting as if they came from a distorted dreamscape. They are like the bones of the earth or the graveyard of dinosaurs. They are the ambush scenes from old western movies, and they are a lot of fun to wander through. The early people came by here and may have found shelter among the rocks. Maybe their children played hide and seek like children do today. It's a place that will turn parents into children and children into tireless explorers. Why play video games when you can take the family to a real place where the imagination can fly? There is much here to inspire the artist, photographer, and all of us who love nature. In the shadow of the stones there is a place and time enough to enjoy a moment of solitude and the immense vistas of desert, distant mountains, and boundless sky. The City of Rocks is just one more good reason to come to the Silver City KOA and enjoy the rare beauty of this unique landscape. Take a picnic lunch and make a day of it.
You can hike a section of the Continental Divide! The Continental Divide Trail is a primer recreation trail that runs all the way from Canada to Mexico. Silver City is right on the Divide and offers great hiking and mountain biking opportunities from many trail access points. We have maps and can give you the best advise on what section of the trail you'd like the best.
Penny Park, a community built park in Silver City, has amazing climbing structures and loads of fun for the kids. A great place to take the family when you visit the downtown area.
Western New Mexico University Museum on the university campus has the largest permanent display of prehistoric Mimbres Indian pottery dating from the 8th to the 12th century. A new collect from the Nan Ranch was added in 2012. This pottery is world famous for it intricate geometric designs and animal figures. The exhibits also included stone tools, ancient jewelry, and military and mining artifacts from the frontier days.
In July 21, 1895 a wall of water 12 ft high and 300 ft across rolled down Silver City's Main Street stripping away homes, businesses and left a 35 ft deep trench in its wake. Successive floods in the early 1900's deepened the trench to 55 feet. Today the Big Ditch is a city park where a quiet stream pours and pools into bedrock basins. The Ditch, with several access points from Bullard Street, is lined with trees and stone walkways. A great place to bring a take-out sandwich for lunch and for families and kids to explore.
Silver City Golf Course is a 18 hole championship course with bent grass greens and watered blue grass fairways. The views from the course are fantastic. So call for tee times and enjoy your golfing experience!