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Gila Cliff Dwellings
The Gila Cliff Dwellings are in a National Monument located in Southwestern New Mexico. The Gila Cliff Dwellings became a national monument in November of 1907. The park contains 533 acres. The Cliff Dwellings are a short drive from the visitors center.

The one mile long loop trail takes visitors 175-180 ft. above the valley floor to a series of a caves in a side canyon facing south. Five of these caves contain structures, and the remainder do not. Original logs used in the construction of the structures have been tree-ring dated to 1270-1300. The dwellings were built by a people known as the Tularosa Mogollon. As large and nice as they are, they are only believed to have been used for 20-50 years, before they were abandoned.

It is believed that the five caves contained around 40 rooms, and some of the caves contain structures that are two stories high. A handful of red pictographs can also be seen if you know where to look.

The park contains additional archeological sites. The earliest of these are pithouses which date from approximately A.D. 100 to A.D. 400. These were built in the open, below ground and are believed to have faced to the east. The park was also the site for later structures that were built above ground in a rectangular shape. These are believed to have lasted until approximately A.D. 1000. The monument contains examples of other smaller dwellings. One such example can be found just north of the lower scorpion campground. A small one room dwelling is located here.

For those who like hiking, the National Monument is surrounded by the Gila National Forest and by the Gila Wilderness, the nations first wilderness area.

Location: Southwestern New Mexico. The Gila Cliff Dwellings are located 44 miles north of Silver City, New Mexico. The road to the National Monument is a narrow mountain road which has lots of sharp curves. It is recommended that drivers be cautious, and observe the speed limit. The driving time the official Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument website has listed from Silver City, NM to the Gila Cliff Dwellings is accurate. It is strongly recommended that two hours be allotted for the drive from Silver City, NM to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Watch for deer, cows, and horses, etc. since they are common on the road.

Weather: This is high altitude. (5700 ft.) Conditions can change rapidly. Please observe all warning signs. Thunderstorms with lightning can be extremely dangerous. With inclement weather, roads and trails in the area can become impassible.


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