Monday, April 1, 2013

Signal Peak in the Gila Wilderness

Signal Peak lies about 15 miles North of Silver City on the road to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. It was only a five mile hike, but with a 1,700 foot elevation gain to about 9,000 feet it ended up being a heck of a workout, with views! We'd spent the morning waxing the rig, so we'd already had a bit of a workout...but with the temperature hovering at 60 and cloudy skies, the conditions were excellent for hiking uphill.

It's a  beautiful drive up New Mexico Hwy 15. You can drive through the little mountain town of Pinos Altos, home of the unique Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House. The saloon was originally built in 1860 and has recently undergone extensive renovations. We stopped in to see some live music recently and really enjoyed the place. They've done a great job of maintaining a comfy old west vibe. The food looks good too!

The Buckhorn Saloon, built circa 1860.
The Opera House is next door to the Saloon, and was built in 1969, even though it looks just as old.
We haven't been inside yet...

Soon we were in the Ponderosa Pine forests of the Gila Wilderness.

The start of Signal Peak trail.

The trail was 2.5 miles to the top and was nonstop climbing through open ponderosa pine forest. Occasionally there were giant boulder outcroppings in the middle of the forest.

Love the curved trunk!

We stopped at a rock outcropping just shy of the summit for some lovely views to the West.

This rock outcropping is just a few hundred feet from the summit, an excellent spot for lunch.
You can see for many miles, range after range of mountains.
We continued on to the summit and the fire lookout tower.

You can see Hans taking in the view just below the tower room.
View to the North West into the Gila Wilderness.

This was a pretty hike and excellent workout. We both agree though, that 1700 feet of elevation gain in 2.5 miles was a little more vertical than we really like to do unless we are feeling 100%! I think this hike would  also be very pretty in the fall due to the number of deciduous trees we saw along the way.


  1. Great looking hike -- I bet it would be gorgeous in the fall, as you say. Thanks for the post!

  2. Gotta love those climbs!! Sounds like Observation Point...3 1/2 miles up for over 2,000 foot change. But it does feel good to accomplish the feat, right!!???

    Glad you are having such a wonderful time!

  3. Love reading your posts about the Silver City area as we were unable to do any hiking while there, it was under so much snow.

  4. We did this hike last May. It was a tough climb. Luckily the fire watcher let us up in the tower, so we got the really great views!

    1. Thanks for sharing your post! You sure got lucky with the ranger being there! Yes, it was a heck of a climb!