Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Located 37 miles from Silver City, New Mexico deep into the mountains of the Gila National Forest, the Gila Cliff Dwellings sits a good 7000 feet above sea level and follows the branches of the Gila River. The terrain around the ruins is rugged and arid, and contains steep-sided canyons cut by shallow spring rivers and mesas and bluffs forested with Ponderosa pine, Gambel's oak, Douglas fir, New Mexico juniper, pinon pine, and alligator juniper (among others). The cliff dwellings were proclaimed a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt on November 16, 1907
Who built them? Archeologists aren't quite sure but what they do know is that for thousands of years, groups of nomadic people used the caves of the Gila River as temporary shelter. In the late 1200's, people of the Mogollon Culture decided it would be a good place to call home. They built rooms, crafted pottery and raised children in the cliff dwellings for about twenty years. Then the Mogollon moved on, leaving the walls for us as a glimpse into the past.