Cliff Dwelling

GET 2017 Day 24, May 19, Friday.

Start Lower Scorpion Campground at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Section 22 mile zero

End just past only ford of East Fork of Gila River, Section 22 mile 9.1

Miles walked:  9.1

This morning I was the first civilian to enter the Gila Cliff Dwelling after its 9AM opening.( I had toured in previous years with family, and always enjoy the experience.) You wind along a wooded path near a creek and cliff face, with birds chirping and lizards watching. Suddenly you walk out to see several rooms built of stone and mortar built into a huge overhang of a cliff.

These dwellings were built around 1280AD, about the same time as other cliff dwellings in the southwest USA. This structure was only occupied for a generation. Why? There are theories, but the answer is not settled.

In this series of photos, look at craftsmanship, and details such as steps, windows, and vigas.



CDT hikers Rob and Kendra toured the rooms when I did, while Moose waited in a kennel provided by monument staff.

Doc Campbell’s store, a 3 mile roadwalk off-trail, has my food box.

I had visited the store before on my CDT hike. They have a pleasant back porch with picnic tables for hikers to organize their stuff, with charging strip and wifi and water. I can recommend the lemon berry homemade ice cream.

I met and chatted with two CDT hikers, Butterfingers…

… and Hot Rod.

What with uploading blog posts and downloading podcasts and doing email and snacking, I did not leave the store until after 3PM. This would be a short hiking day indeed. Another 3 mile roadwalk back to the Cliff Dwelling Visitor Center, and I am back on trail.

A sign explains Super Volcanoes in tho Gila.

The trail crosses the Middle Fork of the Gila River a half-dozen times.

Then I am up on nice flat mesa for several miles. How do you tell you are on a mesa when you are not at the edge? In New Mexico, if you do not see mountains at the horizon, that is a clue.

Off the mesa, there is only one crossing of the East Fork fork of ¨the Gila River.

Farewell Gila.

Author: Jim, Sagebrush

Jim (trail-name Sagebrush) codes audio software for Windows, Linux, Android, and embedded systems. When not working at, he enjoys backpacking, which this blog is about.