Middle Fork Trail 157

Gila National Forest, New Mexico

Elevation Gain4,396ft
Trailhead Elevation5,709ft
Elevation Min/Max5659/6341ft
Elevation Start/End5709/5709ft

Middle Fork Trail 157

Middle Fork Trail #157 is a hiking and horse trail in Catron County, New Mexico. It is within Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness Area. It is 15.9 miles long and begins at 5,709 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 31.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,396 feet. The Middle Fork Trailhead Parking is near the trailhead. This trail connects with the following: Big Bear Canyon Trail #28, Trail #27 and Little Bear Canyon Trail #729.

Middle Fork Trail #157 Professional Reviews and Guides

"A wonderful set of hot springs along the Middle Fork of the Gila River, requiring a short hike to reach. Although occasionally washed out by floods, small pools for bathing can usually be found."

"If you ever hike up the Middle Fork of the Gila River—a beautiful part of the Gila Wilderness inhabited by black bears and bald eagles—you’ll find it worth your while to take a short trip up a side canyon to see the remains of an eleven-room Mogollon cliff dwelling.

The best-preserved room consists of a wall 5 feet wide and about 7 feet tall that completely covers the entrance to a natural enclave. A single small doorway provides access into the room."

"This route is a complete traverse of the country, from south to north, on the longest continuous trail in the Gila Wilderness. Here you’ll explore a treasure trove of ?sh- ?lled pools, spectacular canyons and rock formations, hot springs, and historic artifacts in the wild remote reaches of the Middle Fork.

With the longest continuous trail in the Gila on a route that brings new discoveries around every river bend, this trip has it all. Because many visitors use side trails to access specific points to and from the river, there are several remote stretches with very little human traffic, especially above The Meadows. Add to this the amount of damage to the Middle Fork Trail from the 2013 flood and visitation is reduced even more along certain stretches, especially directly above and below The Meadows."

"From the Middle Fork the distant East Fork Gila beckons on this out-and-back overnighter. Highlights include the spectacular Middle Fork
Gila Canyon and hot springs, views of Whiterocks, remote East Fork
Gila, and the winding Adobe Canyon."

"This is the premier Gila forks backpacking loop with soaring elegant cliffs in the Middle Fork and the West Fork and rolling meadows, ponderosa pine parks, and ridges on the Trotter Trail. Historic gravesites, hot springs, and cliff ruins are among the points of interest you’ll ?nd along the way.

This is the whopper of loop hikes on the forks of the Gila. You can do the trip in either direction, enjoying the dramatic canyons of one fork, crossing on the Trotter Trail, and then visiting the soaring depths of the other fork. The journey on the Middle Fork is the longer of the two. It is also rougher due to greater flood damage to the trail, so we recommend going up that river first."

Middle Fork Trail #157 Reviews

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Trail Information

Gila National Forest
Nearby City
Gila National Forest
Skill Level
Hot Springs
Gila Visitor Center (operated by the National Park Service in cooperation with Forest Service field staff); (575) 536-9461; summer hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days/wk; winter hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7 days/wk
Local Contacts
USGS Gila Hot Springs, Burnt Corral Canyon, Woodland Park, Lilley Mountain, Loco Mountain, and Negrito Mountain. Forest Service Gila Wilderness map (2000); 2013 Gila National Forest map (to navigate forest roads to trailhead)
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018