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Backpacking Gila Wilderness (New Mexico)

  • May 13, 2013 · 7:00 PM

We will be in Phoenix on May 13th and then driving to New Mexico where we plan to spend about eight days in the Gila Wilderness (about 300 miles from Phoenix).  We will be returning to and flying out of Phoenix on the 21st.

The trail we are planning to do is the Middle Fork Trail which is a 35-40 mile trail that goes along the Middle Fork River (good news: there is water everywhere on the trail, bad news: you cross the river over 100 times). There is a 2000 feet elevation gain but it is over 40 miles so it is actually a pretty flat trail. Temperatures could range from high 20's to high 70's. It is a linear trail so we will need to shuttle- there are shuttling services in Gila. The trail will take about 5 days with time allotted to explore some of the canyons along the way. The other 3 days will probably be spent doing more mundane camping/day hiking or maybe a day trip to Carlsbad Cavern.

Finding good information about this trail (or any trail in the Gila Wilderness) is hard but here are a couple sites: (look at section about West Fork to Middle Fork via Prior Cabin)

Costs (aside from getting to Phoenix):
- sharing rental car (no more than $100)
- shuttling costs (could be as much as $100)

This is not a trip for beginners.  If you plan on going, please make sure that you have all the equipment you need, know how to use it, and are comfortable carrying it around for 10 miles/day for multiple days.  Also, there is a lot of fording rivers so bring your hiking poles.

Question or comments:
Feel free to call me (Charlie) at[masked]-2351.  I assume that very few people will sign up for this trip and I have some flexibility so alternate arrangements should be pretty easy to accommodate.

see you on the trail,




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  • Jim K.

    Thanks! This sounds great, but I won't be able to make it.

    March 19, 2013

  • Abhay

    Looks interesting.

    March 17, 2013

  • Glen G

    I was hiking there last October. There is a lot to see, and a lot of beautiful area to explore. If you are hiking along the river, I would prepare for many snake encounters. I saw three in one day of hiking there.

    March 17, 2013

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