The one “touristy” thing we did while staying at Silver City was make the trip out to see the Gila National Monument. It is a forty mile drive that takes close to two hours because of the narrow, curvy road. I should point out that they were having a five-day bike race on this road (and others around Silver City) right after we were leaving.
I won’t repeat all of the history of the Gila Cliff Dwellings, but they were occupied by the Mogollon’s between 1276 and 1287. There are roughly forty rooms in six natural caves. The Cliff Dwellings were declared a National Monument by President Roosevelt in 1907 and the area became part of the first National Wilderness Area in 1924. There was a lot of restoration work to the Cliff Dwellings in the 1950’s but much of the walls are original.
We also visited a second area in the National Forest with a smaller cave dwelling and some petroglyphs.
On the way back into town, we almost ran into a pack of mule deer. They have huge ears and seem much less skittish that the white tail deer we are more familiar with in Texas and in the East.