Whitewater-Baldy Closure Area Shrinks, Trails Still Closed for Safety

Contact(s): 575-388-8201

August 30, 2012-Silver City, NM-   As the burned area rehabilitation for the Whitewater-Baldy fire comes to an end, Forest officials, in cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, have lifted the area closure for most of the fire area.  Public safety remains a high priority and selected trails will remain closed until a thorough assessment of trail conditions can be completed.  “We are currently dealing with the effects of monsoon rains and we are concerned with the stability of the trail beds,” states Forest Supervisor, Kelly Russell.  “Some of these trails are in steep terrain and high volumes of rain can destabilize the trail tread quickly, particularly after a fire.”  Snags, specifically, are an issue.  Even a slight wind or a mild rain storm can bring down standing dead trees across trails, creating a potentially hazardous situation.  An assessment of trails impacted by fallen trees will be completed next spring.


Willow Creek, Ben Lilly, and Gilita Creek Campgrounds, as well as the access roads into them, will remain closed for public safety due to high water flows in the streams.  No parking or overnight camping will be allowed on either side of Catron County Road 73 (formerly known as Forest System Road 507) into Willow Creek.  National Forest System Lands on both sides of New Mexico State Road 159 are closed between the south fork of Mineral Creek and Gilita Campground and Trailhead.  Land owners and residents in Willow Creek will continue to have access to their private lands.  The Catwalk National Recreation Area and Trail also remains closed, although a reassessment of the Catwalk after monsoon rains diminish may allow partial opening later this fall.  The New Mexico Department of Transportation is currently working on New Mexico 159 (Bursum Road), and will provide information to the public regarding road restrictions.


The following trails will remain closed: (For a pdf version of the map click here)

 Whitewater Baldy Closure Map 8/31/2012

  • Forest Trail (FT) 814, West Fork Corral Trail is closed.
  • FT 151, West Fork Trail is closed from Willow Creek Trailhead to the junction with FT 172, Whitewater Baldy Trail.
  • FT 172, Whitewater Baldy Trail is closed from junction with FT 151, West Fork Trail, west to just junction with FT 182, Crest Trail.
  • FT 152, Mogollon Baldy Trail is closed from the junction with FT 182, Crest Trail, to the junction with FT 221, Gobbler Canyon Trail.
  • FT 221, Gobbler Canyon Trail, is closed from the junction with FT 152, Mogollon Baldy Trail, to the junction of FT 153, Mogollon Trail.
  • FT 182, Crest Trail, is closed.
  • FT 206, Redstone Trail, is closed.
  • FT 179, Deloche Trail, is closed.
  • FT 207, Whitewater Creek Trail, is closed from the Wilderness Boundary to the junction with FT 182, Crest Trail, at Hummingbird Saddle.
  • FT 212, South Fork Whitewater Trail, is closed from the Wilderness Boundary to the junction with FT 181 at Camp Creek Saddle.
  • FT 213, East Fork Whitewater Trail, is closed.
  • FT 214, Little Whitewater Creek Trail, is closed.
  • FT 217, Holt Gulch Trail, is closed.
  • FT 215, Straight Up Trail, is closed.
  • FT 181, Holt Apache Trail, is closed
  • FT 225, North Fork Big Dry Creek Trail, is closed.
  • FT 180, Little Dry Creek Trail, is closed.
  • FT 189, Rain Creek/74 Mountain Trail, is closed from the Rain Creek trailhead north and east to the junction with FT 153, Mogollon Trail.
  • FT 224, West Fork Mogollon Trail, is closed.
  • FT 218, Golden Link Trail, is closed.
  • FT 781, Grouse Mountain Trail, is closed.
  • FT 138, Bead Spring Trail, is closed.
  • FT 157, Gilita/Middle Fork Trail, is closed from the trailhead near Willow Creek, easterly to the Middle Fork Gila River, just below Snow Lake.
  • FT 41, Catwalk National Recreation Trail, is closed from the parking lot to the junction with FT 41, Gold Dust Trail.


This Emergency Area Closure will become effective on Friday, August 31st, at 1:00 p.m. MST.  All Forest and Wilderness Visitors are reminded that wildernesses are places where safety is a personal responsibility.  Take care to locate campsites and rest areas in locations that provide a maximum degree of safety.  Consider what the potential for flooding or falling trees may be, as well as rolling debris from the slope above.  Heavy rains can quickly turn a gentle stream into swift-moving waters and should not be under-estimated.  While the wilderness will be open again to general public, there continues to be a hazardous situation in areas affected by fire. Taking precautions to ensure personal safety will provide forest visitors with a memorable wilderness experience.


For additional information, please contact the Gila National Forest at 575-388-8201, the Reserve Ranger District at 575-533-6231, or the Glenwood Ranger District at 575-539-2481.

To view the official closure order click here