Experiencing the Gila Cliff Dwellings, an ancestral Puebloan archaeological site, (Mogollon Culture in the 1200s) and National Historic Monument, today in the stewardship of National Park Service, has been on my to-do list forever.
Last week I made the journey - about 4 hours driving away. The cliff dwellings are remote and accessed via a winding scenic route,through the Black Range and Gila Wilderness Area, aptly named Trail of the Mountain Gods. I planned my trip to arrive early to avoid the summer heat (and potential crowds ha ha).
The hike up to the cliffs and back down is only about a mile, though with some serious elevation gain. In the early morning much of the trail was shaded until the cliff face.
Wildflowers were in bloom everywhere, perfuming the air. Meadows of sunflowers wrap around the ancient dwelling site.