Cliffs and Camping at the Gila Forks

posted in: New Mexico | 2

I’m camping at the Gila Forks campground, a lovely spot right above the Gila River. The forks of the river come together near here, and there are fabulous cliffs just across the way.

From my campsite, it’s an easy walk down to the river, where I spent some time on this warm summer day dangling my feet in the water, thinking of everything and nothing… 🙂


Gorgeous cliffs, camping at the Gila Forks
The gorgeous cliffs above the Forks campground

I love the Gila National Forest, and have spent quite a bit of time here — hiking, camping, backpacking, visiting the Gila cliff dwellings, and soaking in some of the local hot springs. It’s a fabulous area! It’s very beautiful, and feels quite remote thanks to the twisting road you drive to get here.

Most of the towns in the area are small hamlets that still have some real character to them – not a big box store in sight! The largest town is Silver City, which does have a Walmart, but it’s a pretty fascinating place. Check out the historic district, and find out about their “Big Ditch” aka “Main Street“, for something really cool.

Camping at the Gila Forks

I’ve been through the area, but this is the first time I’ve been able to admire the cliffs, camping at the Gila Forks Campground, and I’m impressed! The location is simply gorgeous, and I had my choice of primo spots on a Monday. I had no cell service (T-Mobile), but did I mention that it’s free? 🙂

There are other official campgrounds not too far from here, and I drove through a few of them before choosing this one for the combination of view, river access, and mix of sun and shade. I’ve got to get some sun for my solar power, while keeping the interior as cool as possible. If I can do all that with a view? Perfect!

It was very quiet here at night, too. One disconcerting thing was that one night I could see a hillside in the distance glowing red with forest fire. I knew it was a managed burn because I drove past the signs, and it wasn’t close enough to be disturb the wonderful sense of well-being here. But it’s certainly a strange sensation watching a hillside pulsing with flames in the night!

On the Monday when I arrived, I was the only person here. As the 4th of July holiday weekend approached, the place started filling up, and I made a quick getaway. I’m sure it was full for the holiday, and may fill up on normal weekends, too. But having the place to myself was sweet!


Forks Campground – Gila National Forest
Official campground. Small campground on a bluff, most spots have nice views. Easy access, clean vault toilets, no water available except the river. No hookups.

Rating: 4****
Altitude: 5,610 ft
GPS: 33.18321, -108.20628
Price: Free


Questions? Comments?

Have you camped in the Gila Forest, at this campground or another? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Reply section below. Thanks!

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PHOTO CREDITS: Deanna Keahey


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Hi! I'm Deanna, creator of Uphill Zen. I'm currently yondering around North America with my 1986 Toyota motorhome, Zennie. What makes my heart sing is travel, adventure, and the awe-inspiring wonders of nature. Finding ways to share that joyous spirit is what this is all about.

2 Responses

  1. Thomas Welther

    Thank you for your very informative write up. I have just acquired a used chevy express cargo van and have been working on it to get it ready for camping trips. Being a teacher, I don’t have a lot of money but I have time off in the summer. My plan is to spend some of this time with my little family in the Gila National Forest, with our van being our primary residence. Thanks again, and yes, we are looking forward to summer.

    • Deanna

      Yay! 😊 Congratulations on your purchase and renovation! I hope you have a fabulous time with it! Of course there are problems that will arise sometimes, but in my view, they’re well worthwhile for the freedom & lifesyle you get! Have fun! 😀

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