Wilderness Ranger District


Welcome to the Wilderness Ranger District. The district is located in the heart of the Gila National Forest and covers an area of 686,171 acres. The majority of the district is designated as wilderness and comprises the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas. The wilderness features steep mountains, rough deep canyons, flat mesas, large river channels and flood plains. Higher elevations consist of a mixture of pine spruce and other mixed conifers, while lower elevation vegetation is semi-desert shrub and grassland. There are large areas with pinyon-juniper-oak woodlands and others with ponderosa pine. No permits are needed to hike or camp in either wilderness area.

The ranger district offers a number of recreation attractions for the visitor, including wilderness areas, Lake Roberts and the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The Copperas Vista and Clinton P. Anderson Overlook offer beautiful views into river canyons and wild ranges. They overlook the eastern ramparts of the Gila Wilderness and honor one of the pioneers of the Wilderness Act.

Area Description


Mimbres (Spanish meaning willows) is a small rural community with a population of 657 is nestled between rolling hills dotted with mostly pinion/juniper trees as well as the Black Range Mountains and Cooks Peak standing majestically behind. Part of a scenic route, Hwy 35 which runs north of the Mimbres Valley to Lake Roberts recreation area a favorite for camping, fishing and hiking at and around the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument on Hwy 15. The paved road ends at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument but the trails begin to lead into 558,000 acres of the first designated wilderness in the nation. Known for its rugged cliffs, steep canyons and beautiful scenery, the Gila Wilderness is managed by the Wilderness District. Silver City, a full service community with a population of about 15,000 is approximately 35 miles west.

Climate and Current Conditions

The gentle climate is one of the highlights Mimbres has to offer at an elevation of 6,257 and average summer temperatures of about 55 in the lows and highs in the 90’s. Winter temperatures fall to the teens and highs in the 40’s and 50’s. All four gentle seasons are enjoyed for an almost equal amount of time each.

For current conditions call (575) 536-2250.

Cultural and Recreation Opportunities

Mimbres is famous for the distinct Mimbreno-Indian painting on pottery with dramatic black-on-white geometric designs of animals and ceremonial scenes. It also has a rich history of ranching, farming (including apple orchards) and mining. The Gila Cliff Dwellings Visitor Center includes a bookstore that offers a variety of books including history writings of the area, a great place to stop before or after visiting the monument. Lake Roberts is a popular recreation area drawing fishermen, and campers.


A local clinic is available as well 4 volunteer fire departments throughout the valley and an ambulance service. The Gila Regional Medical Center is 35 miles west in Silver City.


The nearest commercial airports are in El Paso, TX (3 hours), Tucson, AZ (3 hours) and Albuquerque, NM (4 hours). Grant County Airport also provides some services with Advanced Airlines. There is also a shuttle service for transportation from Silver City to Las Cruces and El Paso and a local transportation service to all the surrounding communities.

Contact Information

District Ranger: Brian Stultz
Address: HC 68 Box 50, Mimbres, New Mexico, 88049
Phone: 575-536-2250
Fax: 575-536-2242
Directions: Travel US Hwy 180 east from Silver City to the junction with NM Hwy 152. Take Hwy 152 approximately 14 miles to the junction of NM Hwy 35. Continue 11 miles north on NM Hwy 35 to Wilderness Ranger Station
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