Purgatory Chasm

Silver City, New Mexico 88036

Purgatory Chasm

Purgatory Chasm Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This is a dramatic, twisting interlocking canyon system of slickrock. For a short easy outing, the climbing and scrambling opportunities are amazing.

Broad mesa tops border each leg of the chasm. This nifty nugget of a Gila hike is a perfect combination of the various landscapes that attract visitors to this country with a sampler of a riparian woodland, a pinyon-juniper mesa grassland, and a winding canyon of sculptured rock. And it’s all very convenient to a paved road. This canyon wonderland does not deserve its hellish name."

Purgatory Chasm Trip Reports

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I am not sure when the last time any of the hikers who review on websites have used this trail, but there are some changes. Granted, I wasn't intending originally today on going on this trail so I didn't read in depth to take the right turn at the loop beginning. That decision may have made a difference. I hike with 2 young children, trying to ramp them up in difficulty so they can do longer hikes with me in the future. I was looking for 2-3 mi of easy trail. Slight enough to be a challenge but still enjoyable for my 3 yo. (Keep in mind she was doing 1 mi flat at 18 mo so I am not out of left field with that). This site has this trip rated as "easy". Other sites have it as "moderately easy" to "moderate". The referenced hiking book is a little old for an ever-changing chasm. The one picture is nothing like the trail today. We took the left turn. The reason I reviewed this at 4 stars is that the beauty of the canyon/chasm itself is literally awesome. It was truly a wonderous hiking experience. We didn't get over to the other side of the loop, because at the end of the chasm we got to a sign that read "Trail not maintained for next 1/4 mile" and they weren't kidding. I scouted ahead to see if it was going to be doable but was a no go for a 3 and 6 yo. It'd rate this today as a "moderate" hike just because of that area. The rest of the chasm was pretty easy especially for an experienced hiker and a nice challenge for a young inexperienced one.

Purgatory Chasm Photos

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Trail Information

Silver City
Nearby City
250 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2-3 hours
Wilderness Ranger District, Mimbres, NM; (575) 536-2250 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mon–Fri). Check Gila National Forest website for alerts and warnings.
Local Contacts
USGS Copperas Peak. Forest Service Gila Wilderness map (2000)
Local Maps

Trail Log