Janet & Steve's Western Wanderings 2009 travel blog

Cliffs were formed as part of two large volcanoes that erupted 28...

Food items were likely stored in the communal kitchen, left. Not many...

Archeologists unearthed foundations of storage rooms, a hearth, and 3 circular depressions...

There are 40 rooms identified within the 6 caves. Archeologists do not...

These walls completely encircle the room, accessible only by ladder. The basket...

The rock lip around the cave's opening blocked out the summer sun...

What could this have been? We were impressed by the pattern of...

Awesome seen from below, the dwellings must have been accessed by invitation...

No, it's not a gila monster! It's a striped rock lizard.

Cliff Dweller Canyon supports an incredible diversity of plant life, where 3...


Well, after yesterday's fiasco, we finally managed the 100 miles to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The landscape changes alone were worth the hours we spent on the motorcycle. We went from the mind-numbing boredom of I-10 and US 80 to the ambiance of NM 61 and then the breathtaking, mountainous, treeful beauty of NM route 15 as the leaves begin to change color. When we got to the monument, we hiked uphill through mixed young forest, alongside a running creek that feeds the Gila River below. The Indians who lived here 800 years ago had penthouse accomodations that overlook a lush canyon. We really enjoyed touring Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument because we could walk through all the rooms. Obviously, the wooden ladders and iron railings were added by the National Park Service, but they tried to keep most walls, floors, and walkways the way they think it might have been when the native people lived there 600 years ago.



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