Upper Black Canyon

Silver City, New Mexico 88036

Upper Black Canyon

Upper Black Canyon Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This hike follows a primitive path winding along a pleasant babbling brook in gentle terrain nestled in a remote canyon. The lower canyon contains a gorge and varied rock formations.

This mellow east-side entry point into the Gila Wilderness provides an increasingly rugged and remote canyon experience with each passing mile. The unsigned trail begins from the lower right (north) side of the forest camp meadow. A somewhat confusing sign pointing in the wrong direction to “Forest Trail” should be ignored. The unsigned Gila Wilderness boundary (a post, without a sign) is reached after 0.1 mile. Here you will see an old cable with iron posts to block vehicle traffic. For the first 0.7 mile, the soft dirt trail stays on the north side of the stream in the pleasant pine-forested valley."

Upper Black Canyon Trip Reports

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You should consider using a least a high clearance vehicle to get to the trailhead, since you have to cross a couple a small streams in the rocky canyon. Four wheel drive is an re-assuring feature on steep grades with loose gravel in numerous turns.
Starting at lower canyon campground, we made our way through the high grasses, following some kind of path.
The actual path itself is more a kind of guesswork most of the time, obscured by rocks and fallen trees. But most of the time, we were able to find something like a path, maybe used by deers or bears (we actually found a "mud tub" for bears on our way). You have to cross the stream frequently.
Overall, it is more strenous than the distance implies, and we used up our two liters of water we carried.
We made our way back on top of the middle mesa, walking there cross country with GPS and used the old pack trail from there to the Campground.
It's a great hike, and we saw Bear and Elks.


Upper Black Canyon Photos

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Trail Information

Silver City
Nearby City
300 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
4-6 hours
Best May through November
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 Middle Mesa. Forest Service Gila Wilderness map (2000)
Local Maps