Thanks to the work of famous early 20th-century environmentalist and activist Aldo Leopold, the Gila River Wilderness was designated the world’s very first protected wilderness area on June 3, 1924. This monumental event paved the way for the establishment of a subsequent 759 designated wilderness areas in the United States. Thanks to his efforts much of what Leopold saw that was worth preserving in the Gila Wilderness is still intact today – and this trip will take us through the heart of that wild and beautiful landscape.
The Gila Wilderness represents a transition zone between the Chihuahuan Desert and the Rocky Mountains and is characterized by flora and fauna of each environment: Mesquite trees and ocotillo meet ponderosa and apache pines, Mexican wolves and black bear hunt beneath the shade of walnut and cottonwood trees along the rivers edge. The highlands boast one of the worlds largest and healthiest ponderosa forests and the desert lowlands bubble with the quiet sound of riverside hot springs.
Recent decades have seen a major push to exploit the Gila River’s already strained watershed and further diminish its streamflow. The Gila River Diversion Project, which aspires to dam and divert the Gila’s water has been persistently defended by local irrigators and water speculators, against the efforts of environmental groups and local activists. In that vein, our commercial river tours are offered in hopes of raising awareness of this remarkable river and stimulating outdoor recreation economy in southwestern New Mexico- all of which could play a part in persuading lawmakers to reconsider what would certainly be another “deadbeat dam” project.
Because of the fickle nature of the river flow on the upper Gila we are asking that participants take an open minded approach to their Gila River adventure in terms of watercraft. We also consider the Lower Gila Box a fantastic supplement for a Gila Wilderness run when river flows are not sufficient. The Lower Gila Box is easily done from Silver City, NM as well.
As the only commercial river operators on the Gila River, we are proud to be your escort on this trip down one of the southwest’s most prized bucket list river adventures.
Dates and Discounts
The Gila Wilderness season generally lasts from mid February to early April. Custom dates are available in that time period for groups of 4 or more, or groups/individuals may join our scheduled group dates.
March 15 (contact to inquire)
The group of 2 or more people to book can save 10% on two tickets using promo code “savethegila” by booking before February 1st.
Day 1: All participants will plan to meet at the Silver City Visitors Center at 8am on the morning of the trip. From there we will have an 1.5 hr shuttle to the put-in through the beautiful Gila Mountains. Once at the river we will rig, have a safety briefing, and launch on the beautiful Gila river!
Day 2: Enjoy a beautiful morning beginning with a hearty, hot breakfast. In general we will plan to cover 10 river miles or so a day and hope to make time for side hikes and exploration. We will then be deep in the wilderness where we can enjoy a beautiful side hike or take in the solitude riverside from a camp chair by a crackling fire.
Day 3: Another crisp morning and river day will follow. We will wind our way through the Gila’s inner canyons and the tight brushy class II-III rapids, keeping a close eye out for obstructions, strainers and wildlife!
Day 4: As the canyon opens up more as we make our way downstream we will set our sights for Turkey Creek, our campsite for the night.
Day 5: Depending on water levels we will either take out at Turkey Creek and drive out or float down to Mogollon Campground river access and take out there. We will then head back to Silver City, at which point our scheduled service will end, with the exception of airport transport the following day for those who are flying.
*We are happy to help with any hotel reservations you might need. Please contact us for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Driving: Silver City, New Mexico is located on hwy 180, north of Deming, about 60 miles west of Las Cruces.
Flying: There are a few options for commercial flights into the Grant County/Silver City airport with small regional airlines. If you choose to fly, we will pick you up and provide all transport needed for our itinerary. There are two airlines that offer service to Silver City, please follow the links below to browse their websites and explore flight options.
Boutique Air: https://www.boutiqueair.com
Advanced Airlines: https://www.advancedairlines.com
Get ready to pitch a tent, sling a hammock, throw down a pad, and relax! Every day we will prepare and serve you a delicious riverside lunch, not limited to, but often including an array of home-roasted sandwich meats and homemade dips and salsas (see some of our recipes here). In addition, our camp dinners and breakfasts are a classic staple of the Far Flung experience, as 40 years in business has not only taught us the principles of reading white-water…but also of cooking and camp ambiance!
***Please let us know ahead of time about any allergies or special food requirements***
Following is a list of required and recommend items for this three-day camping excursion. You will also receive this list as part of your confirmation email. As part of the trip we will provide waterproof drybags for all of your personal items, tents, pads and camp chairs for fireside relaxation and enjoyment. Sleeping bags are not included, though if needed we can provide them for an additional $5/night.
Please click here to look at a more in-depth list of required and recommended camp gear:
Join us for an adventure that you will never forget!