Mountain Bike Trails
Boston Hill - Historically, the 'Boston Hill' open pit mining area is of great importance when considering why people first descended upon Silver City. After considerable prospecting for silver, the area was first mined in 1870. Shortly after realizing that Silver was not in abundance, the Massachusetts and New Mexico Mining Company began extracting a considerable quantity of fluxing ore, used by the local mines in the reduction of richer ores.
In 1999 the Town of Silver City purchased the area as the towns first open space acquisition and obtained a grant to develop a non-motorized trail network. Offering everything from beginner to technical mountain biking and beautiful views of Silver City and the Gila National Forest, the 13 miles system is only a short hike or ride from downtown Silver City. The land also dries out incredibly quickly, making it an absolute resource in the wet monsoon and winter months. Local riders consider Boston Hill to be the original 'Gila Training Facility' - if you can ride everything up there, nothing in the Gila will catch you out!
Stage 1 Tour of the Gila - The course turns left onto US 180, a 2-lane road with wide shoulders. At 27.2 miles (43.8km), turn right in Cliff onto NM 211. Continue on NM 211 through Gila, then on a narrower NM 211 with a few short steep rollers to the main highway. At 33.5 miles (53.9km), turn right on US 180 to Cliff again, completing the first of two 11.2 mile(18km) loops. Head on to Glenwood and turn right onto NM 159 at 85.3 miles (137.3km) and head toward the ghost town of Mogollon where the road narrows and climbing begins for the last 6.7 miles(10.8km).
Lil Walnut - Located at the foot of the Gila National Forest only four miles out of Silver City lies the Little Walnut Trail Network. Made up of 11 miles of non-motorized fun fast single track, the network is dissected by the mighty Continental Divide trail (CDT), offering connectors to both Bear Mountain and the Pinos Altos range. Start and finish your ride or hike at the Picnic Ground where you'll find picnic sites, seasonal water and toilet facilities. The picnic ground closes year round at dusk.
Moving north through the network towards the CDT you'll find fun cross country style riding of medium difficulty, often times in some welcome shade. In the drier seasons, expect rocky, loose sandy conditions. Be warned that in the winter and monsoon seasons, trails can be muddy and riders are encouraged to ride in other trail networks.
If gravity/all mountain riding takes your bait, check out both the 'mountain loop' or the 'angel loop' around Eighty Mountain and Gomez Peak respectively. Should you attempt these loops at speed, long travel, full face helmets and protective pads are advisable.
Stage 2 Tour of the Gila - Local riders consider Stage 2 of the Tour of the Gila to be a reverse lap of the 'Inner Loop.' From Silver City, riders head up to Pinos Altos on Hwy 15 and continue along The Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway. As you near the intersection of Hwy 15 and Hwy 35 be warned, the descent down the Sapillo is incredibly steep! Shortly after the descent, turn right onto Hwy 35 and enjoy a steadily rolling descent down the Mimbres Valley.
Once you meet Hwy 152 again, take a right and tackle the challenging rollers back into Silver City. At this point, riders often realize why locals ride the 'loop' in the other direction. A prevailing headwind combined with a series of challenging 'popping' climbs after an already sustained effort in the saddle make for a tough return to town. Getting Hwy 180 out of the way early and having a tail wind out of town make for a more enjoyable loop on the Day 5 course - 'The Way God Intended.'
Signal Peak - As the second highest mountain in the Pinos Altos range North of Silver City, you can expect any riding or hiking you do in this area to include some altitude gain and loss. Home of the 'Signal Peak Challenge' up until the Signal Fire in May 2014, the area is currently undergoing strict damage control. Severe burning on the Northern and Eastern slopes heading deeper into the Gila mean that while trails are still open for through-access at your own risk, Signal Peak Road remains closed until further notice.
Fortunately, the descent down Little Cherry Creek Trail is still in tact, and excellent access remains via either Cross Mountain Road, or along the CDT at the Arrastra Site Trail Head. If you're interested in hiking or riding this area, please contact the Forrest Service for accurate, up-to-date trail information.
Stage 3 Tour of the Gila - Stage 3 of the Tour of the Gila is a Time Trial, starting five miles out of Silver City along Hwy 90 in Tyrone. The course heads up behind 'Little Burro Pass' and continues down a mile or so past the Tyrone Mine. At that point, riders flip a U turn and head back up and over the pass, down into Tyrone.
Riding from Silver City, Hwy 90 offers something for everyone. On Thursday nights, the 'Stir and Simmer' group ride from the Gila Hike and Bike rides from Silver City out to the top of Little Burro Pass. Twenty miles door to door, (ten out and ten back) riders of all levels have an opportunity to climb, descend and enjoy group riding dynamics.
Fort Bayard - Established by the United States Army as an installation offering protection for miners and settlers in 1866, the now deserted Fort Bayard is truly a sight worth seeing. While many of the original buildings have been demolished, the some houses and barracks remain intact. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 2004, the trail networks heading north from the fort offer some of the most enjoyable mountain biking in Grant County.
Riders are encouraged to ride to the Big Tree from either the Dragonfly Trailhead (sign posted from Hwy 180) or from the Cemetery Trailhead within Fort Bayard. Be warned however, that while the Dragonfly Loop and the Big Tree Trail offer excellent riding, both trails are regularly hiked. Riders please be ready to dismount and make way for hikers along any Fort Bayard trails.
In drier months, trail conditions are often sandy and loose, making riding difficult and often causing excess trail damage. Trails are ideal after light moisture. Riding in this system is often exposed, so expect to need plenty of water and sun protection.
Stage 5 Tour of the Gila - A truly epic day awaits if you choose to tackle the mighty Gila Monster in any form. Heading out of town East on Hwy 180, substantial rolling hills continue as you turn left onto Hwy 152 and pass the Chino mine. The full Gila Monster continues on this road and flips a U-turn at the top of emory pass. Those looking to do less riding can turn left onto Hwy 35 and ride up the mimbres valley sooner.
After riding up the valley, full Gila Monster riders will then turn right and ride out and back to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Again, if 80 + miles and 6000 feet of climbing will be enough for you, riders are encouraged to turn left onto Hwy 15 and ride back into town.
The full Gila Monster ride is an incredibly difficult day of riding. It is not advised to tackle it without excellent fitness, adequate food and water and a decent amount of hours logged on the bike.