We set off on our first visit to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument which is north of Silver City, NM in the Gila National Forest. The Gila National forest has much to offer including camping, hiking, and water activities. We were fortunate to have pleasant January temperatures and stretched our stay to 4 nights. There are a few campground options all within a few miles of the Cliff Dwellings.

Cliffs in the Gila National Forest

Grapevine and Forks campgrounds are both very roomy and are along the river. Grapevine is down along the Gila East Fork river’s edge making for nice riverside camping. There are abundant trees providing both shade and privacy. Forks campground is up above the Gila Middle Fork River. Both campgrounds also have a day use and river access area. There are less trees at Forks which may be attractive for larger rigs or you’re just looking for more sunshine. Most rigs would fit nicely into either of these camp grounds. It’s worth noting the access into Grapefine from HWY-15 is a short, steep downhill drive. Other amenities include pit toilets and some fire rings. No trash service; pick up and take it all with you.

The other two public camp areas are Lower and Upper Scorporian; These are better suited for tent campers. There are several picnic tables in the trees and a paved lot for cars. In the off season when we were there, we could’ve easily have parked on the paved area and camped there. Unfortunately, paved area is along the road to the cliff dwellings and does get daytime traffic. Along with the picnic tables there are pit toilets but again no trash service. Pack it out.

The fifth campground we considered is a private campground called Gila Hot Springs and Campground. The sites are also along the rivers edge. What is unique are the hot spring pools. There are 3 large pools in the center of the campsites. You can visit just the pools for a $5/per person day fee which is what we did. You can check out their website HERE.

Check out our video and Grapevine, Forks and the Gila Hot springs campgrounds.

Grapevine Campground Details

We loved staying here right next to the weather. Being here in the off season and timing our stay with nice weather made this spontaneous diversion an awesome discovery.

  • GPS: 33.177939, -108.201698
  • Easy to locate: Yes.
  • Public Land: Yes and there was no fee
  • Cell: None. There is no cell signal along the valley however, Campbell’s Post is a small market, deli, gas stop that does offer free wifi.
  • Crowded: not at all because we were off season. A local confirmed June and July it’s very crowded up there
  • Clean: mostly clean
  • Would we stay here again: Yes

Where to next?

Sadly, it’s time to head back to Southern California for chores followed by a long flight to Hawaii. It’ll be time for some snorkeling, maybe a dive or two and exploring a couple new islands islands! Our time in Gila was extremely nice and I’m working on a post for the cliff dwellings as well as a great hike we did during our stay.

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