Rough it easy in the Gila Wilderness 

Get a wilderness experience ― without all the work ― on a New Mexico drop-camp adventure

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Seeing Gila

A number of outfitters in southwestern New Mexico offer drop-camp trips; you can hike in or ride in on horseback.

Or consider a pack trip, where guides and wranglers stay with you and meals are generally included. (On drop-camp trips, the horses go back with your wrangler, and you’re responsible for your own meals.)

Three established outfitters are Gila Hot Springs Ranch (575/536-9314), Gila Wilderness Ventures (866/677-2008), and U-Trail (800/887-2453).

Prices for drop-camp trips vary, depending on the length of the trip, the number of people (and hence the number of pack mules and wranglers needed), and how far you’re going into the wilderness. Expect to pay $200 to $450 per person to pack your things in and out.

Pack trips are about $200 per person per day. Some outfitters do trips for set lengths of time; others allow you to design your own trip.

Getting there

The Gila Wilderness is remote, which complicates planning. The nearest major airports are in El Paso (two and a half hours east), Albuquerque (about four hours northeast), and Phoenix (about five hours west).

You can catch commuter flights from Albuquerque airport to the regional airport in Silver City, New Mexico. Discuss with your outfitter where you should leave your car during your trek.

More:  The West's best places to camp


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