Dispersed Camping Safely on the Gila National Forest


Silver City, NM, April 3, 2020 -- The Gila National Forest has closed their developed campgrounds and restrooms to protect public health and safety, and to align with state and local measures already in place to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

We also recognize that many people want to still get outside and have been referred to dispersed camping opportunities. Dispersed camping is a term used for camping in the National Forests outside of a developed campground.  Dispersed camping is free and, therefore there are no services such as trash removal, tables, and fire pits. If you want to drive to a dispersed camp site, the Gila NF recommends that you download a copy of the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the ranger district you are interested in visiting. The MVUM will help you identify camping corridors that you can drive to. Tips for dispersed camping are located on the Gila NF website as well.

If you are a backpacker and want to camp within one of the wilderness areas, there are maps available on the Gila NF website as well. The Hiking link Includes safety tips, documents identifying which trails were cleared over the past few years, maps of the three wilderness areas, and water flow levels for the Gila River.

Be safe and plan ahead to reduce impact to emergency medical personnel, first responders and Search and Rescue organizations. 

Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/gila or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.