"Home of the Mogollon" Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument by toonsarah

Panorama of Cliff Dweller Canyon from the caves

What makes the Gila Cliff Dwellings special is the fact that you can explore inside the caves and buildings.

This makes it easier, I think, to conjure up images of the people who once lived here and to imagine what their lives must have been like.

The dwellings were built by the Mogollon people within the natural caves high in the cliffs lining the canyon of what today is called Cliff Dweller Creek. They lived here between 1275 and 1300 AD, farming the valley floor by day and retreating to the safety of their lofty homes at night or when danger threatened. Archeologists have identified 46 rooms in the five caves, and believed they were occupied by 10 to 15 families. There are also structures used for storage, and signs that some were used for ceremonial purposes.

To visit the dwellings you will need to be able to hike the one mile loop trail, with some steep ascents and a few ladders. It is well worth the effort, as you will be rewarded with a close-up view of the past as well as some pretty views of the canyon.

Please read my Things to Do tips in “Member’s order” as I have written them in the same order you will encounter these sights if you visit.

And to continue with us on our road trip through New Mexico, please visit my Hillsboro page

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:You can get up close and personal with the dwellings ...
  • Cons:... but you will need to be fairly fit to do so
  • In a nutshell:A strong sense of the past lingers here
  • Last visit to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument: Sep 2011
  • Intro Updated Dec 24, 2011
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Reviews (8)

Comments (14)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Sarah, excellent tips and fantastic photos! Your trip is just the way I like to do them too - off the beaten track and just enjoy historic places like this at your own pace. New Mexico has more to offer than one would think!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    Sarah, gorgeous page about these cliff dwellings. Especially the accommodation seems to be a great find. Well done.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Jan 19, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    What a fascinating place,and the Lake Roberts Cabins also look like a perfect accodation, much better than a posh hotel !

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    I love places like this, they are so interesting. I agree its good to be able to look around on your own, and that you have a choice if you want to do a tour. Nice, interesting page!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Dec 26, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    Great page Sarah! I feel a kinship to places like these. I guess I need to drive a little farther to see places like these:) I enjoyed all the lovely details and photography. You do such a brillant job.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2011 at 5:21 AM

    A fascinating place! Actually the time between 1275 and 1300 AD is not that long ago, from a European perspective. That would be the time of Philippe III and Philippe IV in France, wouldn’t it?

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2011 at 3:23 AM

    The Gila Cliff's look amazing and good for you for being so adventurous. Lake Rogers is indeed a beauty. The little cabin looks soooo cozy Sarah - good that you found it.

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    Lovely page Sarah, one of these days I'll get to the southwest, I think I've been avoiding it because I'm a snake magnet and the ones in the southwest are a bit more dangerous than our garter snakes here in the Midwest!!!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Oh wow, what a marvellous place you found! I would love to explore too if... there would not be the rattlers.... Geronimo's homeland, interesting (I loved the movie!). The dwellings look exciting, they remind me a bit of the hermitages I saw in Italy. And what a peaceful and cute cabin you had - love it too :-)

  • painterdave's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2011 at 7:59 AM

    I love this place...hiked it, and prospected there, it is good you made it to see.


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