The Gila River and Wilderness Run Header

The Gila River and Wilderness Run

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The river slows for the remaining 20 miles to Virden and the birdlife increases. Side hikes feature Indian petroglyphs.

THE GILA RIVER AND WILDERNESS RUNBeginning high in the Black Range of the Gila National Forest, the Gila River cascades its way toward the Arizona border. A number of stretches are boatable in spring, starting with a seven-mile section from the visitor center of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument to the confluence with its east fork. The following 38 miles is replete with lush canyons, refreshing springs, wildlife and rapids. Known as the Wilderness Run, this section often has few calm spots. Side hikes are plentiful, as well.

From Mogollon Creek to FS 809, many barbed-wire fences and irrigation diversions impede travel, but the next 18 miles, known as the Middle Box, provide a wild ride through a narrow, rocky canyon. The river slows for the remaining 20 miles to Virden and the birdlife increases. Side hikes feature Indian petroglyphs. For more information on the Gila River, call (505) 536- 9461.