Hikes in Gila National Forest, the Gila Cliff Dwellings, and the Old Mining Town of Pinos Altos

After leaving Las Cruces we began heading west on a roundabout route back to Utah. Our first stop was for a few days hiking in Gila National Forest, a visit to the Gila Cliff Dwellings, and stop in the really neat 19th century mining town of Pinos Altos. We LOVED the hiking in the open forest of the Gila and were particularly appreciative of the tall trees after 2 months in the desert.

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The visit to the cliff dwellings were equally awe-inducing, more so because visitors are permitted to wander through most of the caves and see the dwellings up close. Set in stunning scenery, the national monument is among my favorite of the archaeological sites I’ve visited.

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The perfect end to our first afternoon of hiking however was the visit to the Buckhorn Saloon in the tiny settlement of Pinos Altos. We stopped by for a beer (they had the amazingly refreshing Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA on tap) but ended up staying to enjoy the atmosphere, the original fireplace, and the good company of Wayne the bartender. We were there long enough that Tom decided to order food and they made me an amazing vegan version of their kale, cabbage, almond, quinoa power salad. Such a great stop.

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