Big Bear-Meadows Loop

Silver City, New Mexico 88053

Big Bear-Meadows Loop

Big Bear-Meadows Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This route offers a relatively direct backpacking loop that samples some of the best of both West and Middle Forks of the Gila River along with an overland traverse. Highlights include spectacular river canyons with towering rock formations; solitude in the remote heart of the Middle Fork; hot springs and broad mountain vistas.

This is not the kind of hike to hurry through, even if you could. The going is inherently slow, not only because of countless and constant stream crossings but also because you’ll want to pause often to savor and photograph the canyon majesty."

Big Bear-Meadows Loop Trip Reports

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Trail was hiked during Oct 9-14. There had been some heavy rains in the area and the Gila River forks were quite high. The rangers said they were ok but one has to remember the river from the ruins to the meadows has like 45 crossings - believe it is actually more?? We eliminated 15 by going up to little bear and then into the middle fork. However, the crossings were waist deep, swift and the bottoms rocky. Keep this in mind when planning a hike - take good water footwear!
Overall the hike was great with great scenery and solitude. Since it was wet we camped at Big Bear - there was good clean water here. Excellent camp site. The river water was quite dirty and was a problem for the water filter.
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We hiked this trail in March of 2006. The terrain around the Middle Fork was very steep but the trail follows a very easy route until you have to climb the switchbacks up out of the canyon. Jordan Hot Springs was very enjoyable but it is fairly small and became more crowded as the day went on. As the guidebook suggests, the going is slow at first, and you soon lose count of the stream crossings. The water was fairly low though, and many of the crossings were negotiable by rock-hopping. The scenery easily outweighed the difficult parts though, and we really enjoyed our hike.

Big Bear-Meadows Loop Photos

Trail Information

Silver City
Nearby City
1,460 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Best months: Mid-April through November
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 and Little Turkey Park. Forest Service Gila Wilderness map (2000)
Local Maps

Trail Log