What to Bring

Clothing considerations – Try to bring everything you’ll need while minimizing weight and bulk by careful selection of what is necessary.  Most of our trips take place in warm weather, but nights and mornings can be chilly, especially in spring and fall – or any time at higher elevations.  We highly recommend that you bring long pants – even in warm weather – to protect your legs while walking through undergrowth and in the event of sunburn or chilly temperatures.  The best option is quick-dry pants with zip-off legs that convert to shorts.  These are great on hikes that involve stream crossings because they don’t absorb water, and dry quickly.  The zip-off legs make them versatile.  

Special footwear considerations – Many of our trips involve frequent stream crossings.  When hiking the major corridors of the Gila River, six to eight crossings per mile is not uncommon.  This requires special footwear.  Changing shoes at crossings is not practical because of their frequency – nor are bare foot crossings practical because of sharp, slippery rocks.  Fortunately, there is a great variety of amphibious footwear on the market these days. Some people like hiking sandals, but we recommend amphibious hiking shoes with mesh panels for drainage.  These give more support and keep pebbles and sand out better than sandals.  Also, heavy wool hiking socks, worn with your water shoes will prevent chaffing and blisters, keep your feet warm in cold water, and increase stability.  Please bring a pair along, even if you don’t think you’ll need them.  Bring an extra pair of shoes or boots, and socks to keep dry and wear after you are done with river crossings for the day, or for dry-ground hiking.

Planning Your Trip
Welcome to the Wild and Wonderful Gila Wilderness.  The outstanding beauty of its rugged canyons, sweeping vistas, and tumbling streams will enchant and astound you.  
Operating under a special use permit from Gila National Forest.
Local Lodging Links 
(see our Links page also)

Gila Hot Springs
Small backpack or daypack
Personal water bottle or canteen
Flashlight (we recommend headlamps -are the batteries charged?)
Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, 
biodegradable soap, shaving kit if necessary, 
hairbrush, feminine hygiene products)
Any prescription or over-the-counter 
medications that you regularly use
Insect repellent
lightweight rain suit
sweater or sweatshirt
short sleeve shirt
long sleeve shirt
extra socks
appropriate footwear
Optional Equipment
Hiking staff/pole
Field Guides – we keep a variety of field 
guides in camp for casual study
Fishing equipment  (you must have a 
license to fish)
Art supplies
Reading material

Get started exploring the wilderness with us.  We've got a unique adventure 
that's just right for you, your group, club or family.  

Please read all the material to help you prepare for an enjoyable trip.  
To find out more information, to reserve your spot in our camp, or if you have  
any questions, please call, we will be happy to help.  

Reserving in advance is strongly recommended.  Camp sizes are limited.

Please note dogs are not permitted on any of our trips, unless special 
arrangements are made with us in advance.

Booking, Closures, 

Getting Here


What to Bring

About Our Food



April through June is generally dry with increasingly warm temperatures as spring progresses.  Nights are cool with a normal drop of 30-40*F from daytime highs.  Some spring days are breezy with occasional strong winds.  June is quite warm at lower elevations.  

Late June is normally the start of the rainy season that lasts through mid September.  This means mostly afternoon thunderstorms that have a welcome cooling effect on hot summer days.  Thunderstorms may be severe, but rarely last more than an hour or two.  Flash flooding is most likely at this time.  

Mid-September through November, rains diminish as temperatures gradually decrease, with night time freezes beginning the last week of October.  

Elevation has a pronounced effect on weather.  Expect cooler temperatures and increased precipitation at higher elevations.  

Averages for Gila Hot Springs, NM
   Jan   Feb   Mar  Apr   May   June   July   Aug     Sept   Oct    Nov    Dec
Precipitation (in.)   .96     .93     .8     .46      .49     .65    2.79   3.02    2.02   1.57      .9     1.3
Low Temp.(F)18.5  21.3   25    30     36.5     44     53.6    53.1    45.5   34.2   23.9   18.6
High Temp.(F)      54.7    58.7  64   72.1   80.2   88.5   88.6    85.5   81.6    73.5   63.1   54.9
A Brief Precautionary Statement

All our trips involve traveling and camping in remote areas, and some or a lot of strenuous activities.  You must be in reasonable physical condition for your chosen activity.  If you have a known health condition that could impair your mobility or normal function, travel in remote areas is inappropriate.  Major medical care and facilities are many hours or even days away.  Rescue operations are often slow and very expensive.  

If you have special needs, we may be able to 
accommodate you on a custom trip.

Please note your trip involves encountering 
wild nature in a remote area and while 
problems and accidents are rare, you must 
be aware, alert, and use good judgement to 
avoid injury and stress.  Hazards and risks 
include, but are not limited to: sunburn, heat 
stroke, hypothermia, dehydration, lightning, 
falling trees and limbs, flash floods, 
insect stings and bites, venomous 
snakes, poison ivy, slippery trails, and 
steep precipices.  

We do all we can to have a safe and 
comfortable trip.  We’re here to have fun!  
Each participant has a part to play in safety.  
Follow your guide’s instructions and 
use good judgement.

All participants are required to sign 
a liability waiver.
River crossing with pack mule and guide
Day Flower
Stopping in the shade of an Arizona Sycamore
Big Horn Sheep
Bigtooth Maple Leaf


All our Upper Gila Trips begin at trailheads near Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and you will want lodging in the near-by village of Gila Hot Springs, where our headquarters is located.  There are no restaurants in Gila Hot Springs, but all the lodging includes kitchens with cookware and utensils where you may prepare food.  There is a small store here, but grocery items are limited, so plan on bringing supplies for before and after the trip.  

Wilderness Lodge is perfect for groups, with its large kitchen, dining room, parlor, and hot springs pools in the yard.  Breakfast is included, and dinners for groups can sometimes be arranged. 

Doc Campbell's rents rooms with Kitchenettes 
and also operates an RV park.

Wildwood Retreat has nice campsites, hot 
pools, an outdoor kitchen, and cabins.

There are several free National Forest 
Campgrounds in the vicinity as well.

We would be happy to assist you in making 
lodging arrangements.
Silver City and Pinos Altos
Getting Here

Timing your arrival - If at all possible, try to arrive in the afternoon, the day before the trip.  This will allow you to rest up and prepare for an early departure the next day.  In most cases, we will meet with you that evening to get acquainted and discuss any last minute details.  You may want to arrive even sooner to tour the Gila Cliff Dwellings.  

Airports - The driving time from major airports to: 
Silver City Gila Hot Springs
El Paso  3 ½ hours   4 hours
Tucson  4 ½ hours   6 hours
Albuquerque       5 hours        6 hours
Phoenix 5 hours6 ½ hours

There is an airport shuttle to Silver City from El Paso.  Silver City also has an airport with daily commuter flights to and from Albuquerque.  
We can arrange to pick you up in Silver City 
for an additional fee (subject to availability).

Driving considerations - 
Highways 15 and 35 to Gila Hot Springs, 
as well as 152 over Emory Pass, have 
sharp curves and steep grades.  Allow 
extra driving time for these routes.  One 
and a half hours travel time is the average 
from Silver City or Mimbres to Gila Hot 
Springs.  Try to travel in the day time for 
safety and to enjoy the scenery.  The 
section of Hwy 15 from Pinos Altos to the 
junction of Hwy 35 is not suitable for large 
trailers or motor homes; you must use 
Hwy 35 through Mimbres instead.  
Following signs to Gila Cliff Dwellings 
National Monument will also lead you 
to Gila Hot Springs.

click map for larger view
Booking, Closures and Cancellations

To make each trip more enjoyable, we strictly limit how many people may participate.  Call ahead to confirm availability for your trip.   

Reservations required a minimum of 14 days prior to trip departure.

Please note our prices include 10% taxes and fees.  

25% non-refundable deposit is required by cash or check upon reservation.  The remainder is due upon arrival. If Gila Backcountry Services must cancel a trip for any reason, we will refund your full deposit. 

The Forest Service sometimes implements restrictions and closures that affect our operations.  Fire restrictions are the most common, usually late May through June.  We may not be able to use camp fires at this time.  Certain trails may be closed or impassable due to forest fires or flooding.  We will seek alternative routes and/or camps whenever possible.  In rare instances, we may be required to cancel a trip due to closures or reasons beyond our control.
About Our Food

On all our trips we provide hearty and delicious meals and snacks prepared with high quality natural food ingredients.  We cater to individual tastes as much as possible by conferring with you prior to the trip.  Due to the circumstances of camping in remote areas all supplies must be preplanned and some limitations apply.  Persons with special dietary needs must inform us well in advance so we can discuss the best way to accommodate your needs.  
Gila Backcountry Services
Zack and Jamie Crockett
Phone: 719-250-9000
Gila Backcountry Services, Gila Hot Springs, New Mexico
crockettequines@gmail.com  719-250-9000