Gila Wilderness


Situated within the Gila National Forest, north of Silver City, New Mexico and bordered by the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest of Arizona.


The hamlet of Alma was the most southerly way station on the Outlaw Trail in North America. Between 1896-1899 members of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch worked at the W.S. Ranch as cowboys and bronco busters. The territory previously boasted a rich history of the Mimbres people, a subgroup of the Mogolllon, who were active between 1000-1130 in the Gila Wilderness area. The world class cliff dwellings and other ruins are evidence of their culture. Later, the Chiricahua Apache came between 1200-1600. The region remained undeveloped into the 1870s by the fierce protectiveness of infamous war chiefs Mangas Coloradas, Victorio and Geronimo. The Spanish, Mexicans, ranchers, prospectors and miners were here too. Aldo Leopold, noted  conservationist, ecologist and author of the Sand County Almanac and renowned lion hunter Ben Lilly are other personalities who left their mark – maybe you will too…


Established in 1924 as the first designated wilderness in the country, it is one of the more remote, least developed National Forests in the south-west. Covering 3.3 million acres of publicly owned forest and range land, it is the sixth largest in the continental USA.

This horse adventure in the Gila offers unparalleled riding. The magnificence of these regions imparts an indescribable feeling of awe and wonderment. Beauty lies in its diversity – ranging from rugged high cool mountains with aspen and Douglas fir, deep canyons, lush meadows and semi-desert lowlands with astounding scenery comprising of juniper, oak and cactus. Elevations rise from 4,200 -10,900 feet and cover four of the six life zones. Escape into vast wilderness taking pack-horses and mules with your provisions. The San Francisco, Gila and Mimbres Rivers, the Catwalk, the Gila Cliff Dwellings, Mogollon Baldy, Castle Rock, Eagle Peak Mountain, Emory Pass and Burro Mountains are among many islands of beauty here. Other areas of interest include Cooney’s Tomb, El Caso Lookout Tower, Beaverhead, Reed’s Peak, Frisco Hot Springs and Cherry Creek.

Become capable at making camp and packing your trusty animals. Keen-eyed travelers may be rewarded with sightings of deer, elk, pronghorn, grey fox, bear, wolves, mountain lions amongst the turkey, grouse, hawk, eagles and other wildlife. This ride featured in the Independent on Sunday newspaper on April 29, 2001.


Accommodation: tents  and bivouacs; Duration: negotiable; Group size: 4-8; Departures: May-August; £:POA