Gila Cliff Dwellings: Cave living at its finest

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

If Bandelier National Monument introduced us to New Mexico apartment living circa 1300, Gila Cliff Dwellings showed us the McMansions of the era. Compared to the cramped cubbyholes of Bandelier, the Gila residences are huge – more than large enough to accommodate groups of people standing upright. In all, the ancient Mogollon people constructed 46 stone masonry rooms in five large caves.

The site’s remote location, deep in the Gila wilderness and a two hour drive from the nearest town, Silver City, has helped prevent the theft and vandalism that has plagued similar historic sites. The deep cave structures, and dry climate, have also protected the Cliff Dwellings; preserving, for example, wood beams that were originally cut in 1275.

Gila Cliff Dwellings

Touring the Gila Cliff Dwellings requires a fairly easy one mile round trip hike, with a modest 200 foot elevation gain. Expect to spend about an hour exploring the area. We have it on good authority that the longish drive to reach Gila is enhanced with a high performance rental car.

Tags: , , ,

13 Comments on “Gila Cliff Dwellings: Cave living at its finest”

  1. newmexicopiyo May 30, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Love your photos of the Gila Cliff Dwellings! It’s one of the few places in New Mexico that I haven’t been to yet.l


    • Brian May 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      The cliff dwellings are a bit out of the way, but well worth the trip.


  2. customtripplanning May 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    NO photo of the rental car???? You’re slacking!
    Btw, these are awesome and I will need to plan to get there!!


    • Brian May 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Ha. Sorry for the confusion. That last line is in reference to yesterday’s post. Our Jeep just isn’t the right vehicle to make the most of the twisty, mountain roads that lead to the cliff dwellings.


  3. May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Very kewl indeed! Thanks for sharing:)


    • Brian May 31, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.


  4. rommel May 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    Magnificent! Cave-living? So people are actually residing there?
    I’m starting to become a fan of great-looking rock formations.


  5. Lynne Ayers June 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Fascinating Brian – I’m seeing all these photos of the western States and it is beckoning …


    • Brian June 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      It is one amazing country.



  1. Mesa Verde an Ancient Metropolis | Everywhere Once - July 25, 2012

    […] posts we’ve likened the structures at Bandelier National Monument to ancient condos and those at Gila to primordial McMansions. Compared to those parks, Mesa Verde is an Ancestral Puebloan metropolis. […]


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: