Explore the Gila: Day Trips and Things To Do While Staying at Georgetown
DAY ONE: Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument
And The Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway
Enjoy the scenic beauty of the area by taking the Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The ride from Georgetown Cabins Resort to the Cliff Dwellings will take you from 1 to 1.5 hours to get there. You will drive 25 minutes along the Magical Mimbres Valley on highway 35 until you reach beautiful Lake Roberts and highway 15. Here you will turn right on highway 15 and drive another 25 minutes until you reach the visitors’ center and the Cliff Dwellings themselves. Be sure to stop at the visitors’ center and see their movie and talk with the folks. Then on to the Cliff Dwellings where they will have guides to talk to. Plan about 1 hour to tour the Cliff Dwellings themselves! They are awesome. It is best to go to the Cliff Dwellings in the morning when the winds are calm, and the afternoon monsoons are not building up yet. Sometimes the Cliff Dwellings are closed when there is lightning in the air.
Continue on the Trail of the Mountain Spirits back down highway 15 to Pinos Altos (about 1 hour from Lake Roberts). Check out the oldest operating tavern in the state of New Mexico, the Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House. There is a lot of history in the Buckhorn, and they welcome you coming in to take a look around. You can grab a bite to eat in the bar area, or make a reservation for dinner in the dining room. You won’t be disappointed! (Buckhorn opens at 3:00 Monday through Saturday, not open on Sunday)
Continue following the Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway back to Georgetown for a little unwind time and to contemplate your day!
DAY TWO: Catwalk National Recreational Trail & Bill Evans Lake
For a scenic drive and beautiful place for an exhilarating hike, check out the Catwalk National Recreational Trail in Glenwood, New Mexico. From Silver City, take highway 180 west and north for a one hour drive to just north of Glenwood. Turn right off of highway 180 and follow the signs to the Catwalk. A water pipeline along Whitewater Canyon was built in 1893 to provide water for a mill and the town. It ran up the very narrow stretches of the canyon, sometimes as much as 20 feet above the canyon floor, and was considered to be an engineering feet in its time. The pipeline was in constant maintenance and workmen who walked the line to repair the damage dubbed it the “Catwalk”. In the 1930s the CCC built a trail consisting of a hanging walkway following the path of the old pipeline. The trail was rebuilt in 1961, and in 1978 it was designated a National Recreation Trail.
One may stop to enjoy Bill Evans Lake either going to or coming from the Catwalk. It is located just off of highway 180 about 29 miles northwest of Silver City. It is a 62-acre fishing lake that is stocked with rainbow trout and often yields record small mouth bass catches. You may fish, picnic, and bring your self-propelled boats or boats equipped with electric motor to Bill Evans. The lake has a restroom and a boat ramp. A wonderful view is offered along with the chance to spot wildlife and some of the many varied species of birds in the area.
DAY THREE: Silver City & Fort Bayard
Folks love to check out historic down town of Silver City. It is an old west town turned award winning arts and culture district. Saturday afternoons are the best time with the most activity. Saturday mornings, you will find a great farmers’ market. Silver City has a great town museum and Western New Mexico University has an excellent museum as well. The Wrangler’s Bar and Grill on highway 180 (next to the Shell Station) is our go-to place for a great bite to eat in a casual, western atmosphere. At the same location as the Wrangler’s is the Silver City Beverage Company. They have the best selection of craft beers, wines, and spirits in the area! You may also enjoy one of their unique craft beers at the Wrangler with your dining experience.
The Big Tree Hike
Have some more time to explore? Check out old Fort Bayard, home of the Buffalo Soldiers. They have a great 2 mile hike there that many Georgetown folks enjoy. It is called the “Big Tree” hike. The Big Juniper Tree is nationally ranked as the second largest alligator Juniper in America. The tree’s diameter is 70.2 inches, circumference is 18 feet, 4 inches, crown spread is 62 feet, and the height is 63 feet. Directions: Follow U.S. 180 East to Santa Clara and make a left hand turn (north) at the traffic light onto the Fort Bayard Medical Center access road. Make a right hand turn towards the “Old” Fort Bayard Hospital and stay to the right past the old hospital. Travel approximately 2 miles. The Fort Bayard Recreation Site Trailhead (Large parking lot) will be on your left and you will see it from the road.
DAY FOUR: Mimbres Valley
The Magical Mimbres Valley is an undiscovered gem! Take in one of the local eateries for an awesome breakfast! Meet some of our friendly locals, and find out more about the valley. Many of our guests enjoy fishing or picnicing at Bear Canyon Lake. Not far from Bear Canyon Lake is the Nature Conservancy and you are welcome to stop and explore the area. There is a beautiful old barn there and a wrought iron fence where a home used to be. The Mimbres Cultural Heritage Site, near the Mimbres Valley Café, has a great walking trail that will give you a historical perspective about the Mimbreno Indians that inhabited the area around 600 A.D. and 1200 A.D. Top the afternoon off with a visit to Esperanza’s Vineyard and Winery, open from noon to 5pm. It is in a beautiful setting, David and Esperanza are great proprietors and host and hostesses, their wines are awesome, who could ask for anything more? They are open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and by appointment.
DAY FIVE: Hillsboro & the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway
Take highway 152 east from San Lorenzo in the Mimbres Valley to begin the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway, and head toward the very scenic hills of Hillsboro! Be sure to stop at the Emory Point Scenic Lookout along the way. You can see forever! Take a picnic lunch to enjoy, or check out the great food in Hillsboro. We enjoy the General Store’s green chile cheese burgers. Save room for some of their awesome Bumble Berry Pie a la mode! Next, head over to Truth or Consequences and Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico’s largest Reservoir. Continue on the trail to see the cool ghost towns of Winston and Chloride. Chloride has many things to see and is open from 10:00am – 4:00pm, 364 days per year (closed Christmas). You may even get a tour of the old town by the owners! Spend as much time as you like! All of this can be seen in a day trip. The best days to head to Hillsboro are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
DAY SIX: City of Rocks State Park & Deming
Take highway 61 south along the beautiful Magical Mimbres Valley to City of Rocks State Park, about 25 miles south. They have a real interesting visitors’ center, and the park itself looks like where the Flinstone’s may have lived. It is a great place to hike and explore the rock formations. There are many places for a picnic lunch.
Continue on to the City of Deming! Be sure to take in their amazing museum. They have many collections, very neatly displayed, and great volunteers! Plan an hour or so! Rock Hound State Park is located near Deming, and is a great place to pick up some unique rocks to take home! Deming has two awesome wineries, Luna Rosa and St. Clair. Check out the Adobe Deli for some great steaks and a very unique atmosphere, or check out Las Conzuelas (next to Denny’s Restaurant) for the freshest beef, fish, and poultry lunch or dinners in town! They also have very good Mexican food. Our Susieville Grass-Fed Beef is available at the El Rey Meat Market located in the same building.
Palomas, Mexico is about 30 minutes south of Deming. Just across the border is the Pink Store and it has great Mexican food and lots, and lots of Mexican home decorations you can buy. Bring your passport! We suggest you park on the U.S. side of the border and walk across to the Pink Store as you need special vehicle insurance across the border. Just on the U.S. side of the border, we have Columbus, NM and the Poncho Villa State Park and brand new museum!
DAY SEVEN: Old Georgetown Townsite Trail
Relaxing and hiking! Lots of folks love to explore the old Georgetown town site and check out the footings and foundations and imagine how things used to be. Many guests love the one mile hike to the cemetery where they check out the old gravestones from the 1800s. Shingle Canyon Road is a beautiful two mile hike through the national forest where there is a private residence at the end. There are many forest trails off of Georgetown Road that are fun to check out. We’ve had folks tell us that the canyon just below the cabins was one of their best hikes in New Mexico!
Oh did I forget to mention that just hanging out at Georgetown is a treat! Don’t forget to spend some time in our solar-heated soaking tub with Dead Sea Mineral Salts! You will feel relaxed and soothed in no time!