The Beginning Of The Gila National Forest. On Our Way To The Catwalk Hiking Trail.

While in Silver City, NM, there’s a lot to do and a lot to explore.  High up on our list was the Catwalk Hiking Trail in the Gila (Pronounced Hee-La) National Forest.

It’s located about an hours drive northwest of Silver City, in a town called Glenwood, NM.  On our way there we stopped at the Aldo Leopold Picnic Area where the Gila National Forest begins.  From the picture above you can see the vastness of this view point.  The sign gives a little history of the forest and of Aldo Leopold himself.

Long story short, Aldo Leopold was a nature conservationist and back in 1924 he convinced the forest service to dedicate this land as the nations first National Forest.

So in essence, this is where our National Forest system started.

On our way into the forest, headed for the trail head, you pass over this…

The View From The Aldo Leopold Picnic Area Of The Beginning Of The Gila National Forest.

The Road In And Out Of The Catwalk Area

Once we reached the trail head we were amazed at how the landscape had changed.  The tall white Sycamore trees were amazing at the entrance way.

Where’s a 4x4 when you need it?


I think we’ll survive.

The Entrance To The Catwalk Trail

A Picnic Area Around The Sycamore Trees

What a wonderful place this would be to come for a picnic.  I can only imagine what this place would look like in the springtime with the leaves in bloom.

Speaking of trees, they grow them big out here.  This is me trying to hug a cottonwood tree.

Anyway, off we went on the 1.1 mile trail.  Not a long trail mind you, but this was 1.1 mile in and 1.1 mile out, not a loop.

Starting Off On The Catwalk Trail

They Grow The Trees Big Out Here. I Can’t Even Wrap My Arms Around This Cottonwood Tree.

The trail starts off along side the cliff walls.  You are hiking in a canyon after all.  Whitewater Canyon was a central point in the mining saga out here.  They ran pipe through this canyon in 1897 to transport a continuous water supply to the town below for electricity.

David On The Catwalk Trail

David On The Catwalk Trail

The miners built and used the catwalk to help navigate the canyon walls while they were doing repairs to the pipeline.

With modern technology and advances, they don’t use this canyon anymore for hydroelectric.  So in 1961 the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) was assigned to rebuild the Catwalk as a recreation attraction.

The CCC built the Catwalk Trail along the same path as the original pipeline, using and reinforcing some of the original pipe and catwalk that was still there.  It’s pretty interesting to walk along a bridge and have the original pipe there underneath you, supporting you.

On The Catwalk Trail

On The Catwalk Trail

Along the trail, the scenery changes dramatically.  One minute your in the bright sunshine, baking.  The next your in the shade of the cliff wall and chilled.  Water seeping from the walls.

Brenda On One Of The Suspended Bridges Spanning Over The Canyon Floor

The Catwalk Trail With Whitewater Canyon Below

There are bridges to get you across the canyon to the other side.  Some are solid metal bridges while others are suspended.

One Of The Bridges Spanning Across The Canyon

Everything felt very solid as you passed over it.  Nothing was rickety.  You felt very safe.  The CCC did a wonderful job.

The Catwalk Trail

Some Of The Huge Cliff Walls Along The Catwalk Trail

Part Of The Catwalk Trail

Deep ravines where the water runs through.

As I said earlier, the scenery is constantly changing.  There are huge cliff walls that tower over you.

Spectacular every which way you look.

A View Of The Cliff Side And The Valley On The Catwalk Trail

On The Catwalk Trail

On The Catwalk Trail

Once you reach the end of the Catwalk Trail you are greeted by a lovely waterfall.

The End Of The Trail

We Reached The End Of The Catwalk Trail

Then you get to turn around and do it all over again.

On The Catwalk Trail

Off The Beaten Path, David Checking Out The Water In The Canyon Bottom

With different points of view and more pictures to be taken.

It’s a trail that’s well worth the drive from Silver City.  Not to mention, the entrance fee is only $3 bucks.  How can you go wrong?