Grant County is huge and offers day trips through mountains, deserts, open grasslands and more, on paved and unpaved roads. Popular destinations include the Cliff Dwellings (right) and Catwalk. Ask a Chamber volunteer for information on seasonal drives that suit your tastes!
Cliff Dwellings Tour
Emory Pass Tour
Coronado Trail Tour
Motorcycle Tour Guide
Jim and Jackie Blurton
Silver City, NM 88022
Motorcycle Tour One:
The Gila Cliff Dwellings
Trail of the Mountain Spirits.
Miles: 122 round trip.
Travel Time: Five to six hours.
Maps: Silver City Chamber of Commerce tour map, New Mexico state road map and New Mexico Department of Transportation map.
Gas: Grocery store and sub shop on NM 35 about 1/2 mile north of NM 152. Lake Roberts General Store. Doc Campbell’s Vacation Center four miles before the Cliff Dwellings.
Food: Grocery store and sub shop on NM 35 about 1/2 mile north of NM 152. Mimbres Valley Café on NM 35 4 miles north from the junction of NM 152. Spirit Canyon Lodge about 1 mile east of Lake Roberts. Lake Roberts General Store at Lake Roberts. Gray Feathers Lodge & Café at the junction of NM 35 and NM 15. Doc Campbell’s Vacation Center/convenience store on NM 15 is about four miles before the Gila Cliff Dwellings.
Directions and Highlights: From Silver City go east on US 180 then left on NM 152. Turn left on NM 35 and ride up the Mimbres River Valley to the junction of NM 15 and then turn right. It is 19 more miles to the Gila Cliff Dwellings Visitor Center at the end of the road.
The Cliff Dwellings are about two miles from the Visitor Center and require a half-mile walk to see them. They are well-preserved ruins and even if you’ve visited other ruins these are worth the trip.
To complete the loop on the return trip, stay on NM 15 all the way back to Silver City. South of the junction with NM 35, NM 15 becomes so narrow that there are no lane markings. The first three miles have very steep hairpin turns as the road climbs up to the plateau. There are no guardrails and don’t forget that traffic is two-way. When you reach the top the road will be less curving with only a few minor undulations until you get to the village of Pinos Altos.
In Pinos Altos take time to visit the famous Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House and have some refreshments. They serve appetizers and sandwiches beginning at 3:00 pm Monday through Saturday and dinner from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, and are closed on Sunday.
There is good entertainment in the Saloon in the evenings. The Opera House has original melodramas by a cast of local characters/talent on Friday and Saturday beginning in March through October.
Return Silver City on NM 15.
Motorcycle Tour Two:
Miles: 110 round trip.
Travel Time: 3 hours.
Maps: Silver City Chamber of Commerce tour map or New Mexico state road map.
Gas: Grocery store on NM 35 about 1/2 mile north of NM 152 and in Hillsboro.
Food: Groceries and sub shop on NM 35 about 1/2 mile north of NM 152 and in Hillsboro.
Directions and Highlights: From Silver City go east on US 180 2.5 miles then left on NM 152. NM 152 is a good paved two-lane road and takes you over Emory Pass in the Black Range to Hillsboro.
A loop trip can be made of this tour by continuing south from Hillsboro on NM 27, right on NM 26 and returning to Silver City on U.S. 180. The problem with completing this loop is that U.S. 180 is 45 miles of heavy, fast traffic and is flat and straight. It is 151 miles round trip.
Motorcycle Tour Three:
The Coronado Trail
Miles: 320 round trip.
Travel Time: At least 8 hours.
Maps: Arizona and New Mexico road maps.
Gas: In New Mexico: the villages of Cliff, Buckhorn, Alma, Glenwood, and Luna on U.S. 180. In Arizona: the villages of Alpine on U.S. 180, Hannagan Meadow, Clifton, and Morenci on U.S. 191.
Food: Glenwood, Alpine, Hannagan Meadow (seasonal), Clifton, and Morenci.
After this long day tour you’ll be set for some super cuisine at Silver City’s many specialty restaurants.
Directions and Highlights: From Silver City go west on US 180. This entire route is a very scenic drive with plenty of breathtaking mountain vista. From Silver City to Glenwood you’ll be traveling along the western slopes of the Gila Wilderness. The tallest peaks are Mogollon Baldy at 10,770 ft. and Whitewater Baldy at 10892 ft. The Gila Wilderness became our country’s first officially designated wilderness in 1924.
Glenwood is 63 miles and you’ll want to stop here to visit the Catwalk of Whitewater Canyon.
It is 57 miles from Glenwood to Alpine, Arizona. Turn left on U.S. 191 and you are on the Coronado Trail. The next 95 miles are continuous curves winding down the long ridgeline of the Blue Mountains.
The road from Alpine to Hannagan Meadow is 13 miles through dense Spruce and Fir forest. About a mile past Hannagan Meadow is the highest point with a remarkable view that’s worth stopping to check out. You can see the road winding down the ridgeline far below. From here it’s mostly down and you’ll transition from forest to desert. There are no services for the next 82 miles.
Note: Heavy winter snows often force the closing of the upper part of the Coronado Trail and Hannagan Meadow. In summer, as you descend to Clifton and Morenci, you’ll quickly loose the cool mountain air and enter the heat of the Sonoran Desert. Ten miles south of Morenci turn left on Hwy 78. This segment of windy road takes you on a dramatic climb up Mule Creek Pass and back into the mountains of New Mexico. The first segment of this road is narrow but the climb up the pass is very good pavement with broad, sweeping switchbacks. Soon you’ll be back in New Mexico.
At the junction of Hwy 78 and U.S. 180 turn right and head home to Silver City.