Southwestern New Mexico Sights

Whitewater Canyon

  • Geological Site

Published 10/13/2013

Fodor's Review

U.S. 180 leads northwest about 50 mi from Silver City to Glenwood and Whitewater Canyon —the gateway to the western reaches of the Gila. Return to U.S. 180, and go north 3 mi (just before the very little town of Alma, where you can get some snacks at the Alma Grill or Trading Post), and turn east onto NM 159. Your rewarding destination, about 45 minutes in, on a sometimes one-lane dirt road, is Mogollon (muh-gee-yohn). The gold-mining town, established in the 1880s, was a ghost town for many years but has been revived in the last few decades by a dozen or so residents who live there year-round. A small museum, an art gallery and a gift shop, and a café operate on the weekends. Book a stay at the Silver Creek Inn and you can spend the weekend exploring this interesting relic of the American West, as well as the breathtaking, and huge, Gila National Forest bordering it.

Several miles north of the Catwalk on U.S. 180 is the Glenwood State Trout Hatchery.

There are picnic tables and a fishing pond with Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep grazing nearby. Catwalk Rd. ; turn east from U.S. 180 and proceed 1/4 mi, 88039. 575/539–2461.

A primary destination here is the splendid Catwalk National Recreation Trail, a 250-foot-long metal walkway drilled into the sides of the massive rock cliffs of the breathtaking Whitewater Canyon—which is only 20 feet wide in places. This is one of the most verdant, beautiful canyons in the state, with the creek and tumbling waterfalls surrounded by gorgeous rocks and shade trees. The Catwalk, first installed as an access route for water lines critical to local gold- and silver-mining operations in the late 1800s, was rebuilt in 1935 for recreation purposes. A number of famous outlaws, including Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, have used the canyon as a hideout because of its remote, and almost inaccessible, location. You need to be in reasonably good physical condition to scramble up some stone stairways, but the 2.2-mi round-trip trail is well-maintained and worth the effort; there is a nice alternate route that is wheelchair accessible. Bring your bathing suit so you can enjoy standing under the waterfalls and splashing in the creek. Admission is $3. Catwalk Rd. ; turn east from U.S. 180 and proceed 5 mi.

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Sight Information


Sight Details:

  • $3
  • Monument late May–early Sept., daily 8–6; early Sept.–late May, daily 9–4. Visitor center late May–early Sept., daily 8–5; early Sept.–late May, daily 8–4:30

Published 10/13/2013


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