Gila National Forest fall colors report
SILVER CITY, N.M. — The leaves are starting to change on the Gila National Forest in the higher elevations, with peak viewing expected the last week of October for most of the forest.
In the Glenwood Ranger District aspens and oaks are in full color at the highest elevations and an abundance of wildflowers are blooming at lower elevations so some hillsides are currently a bright yellow color and are visible along U.S. Highway 180. The trees along the San Francisco River are just starting to turn; those will peak later in the month.
On New Mexico Highway 12 heading into the Reserve Ranger District, approximately 40 percent of the leaves have changed. This intimate state highway, winds around Largo Canyon and the San Francisco River, leading visitors up and into the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
Golden colors are beginning along the Mimbres Valley and along New Mexico Highway 35. The Gila River area around Forks and Grapevine campgrounds are also experiencing vivid colors. New Mexico Highway 15, accessed only from Silver City, New Mexico or from the east on New Mexico Highway 35, offers spectacular views of the Gila Wilderness and ends at the Gila Cliff Dwellings Visitor Center.
New Mexico Highway 15 from Silver City can be very narrow at certain points and is not recommended for trailers over 20 feet in length. These visitors may take an alternate route on New Mexico Highway 35 that intersects with New Mexico Highway 15 leading up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Given the shear drop-offs along the way, it is well worth the ride for breathtaking views of the oldest, most celebrated Wilderness in the country.
Due to the extensive flood damage along New Mexico Highway 152, fall color viewing is not possible in the Black Range Ranger District.