Gila Wilderness Trail

5.0 (4)
5 days 4 nights
Weight limit
102 kg / 225 lb

Experience the natural beauty of the Gila Wilderness on a horseback pack trip, where you can journey back in time and explore ancient Indian dwellings and learn about the late 1800s settler history. This trip will reconnect you with the natural world and leave a lasting impact, renewing and refreshing your spirit.

The Gila Wilderness is the initial backcountry pack trip location in the world, established in 1924, can only be reached on foot or horseback. You can journey for weeks without encountering another individual or any human-built edifices. It represents the pinnacle of natural beauty, grandeur and seclusion.

US$ 1 446
per tourist for 5 days
Departing from
New Mexico, Catron County, Glenwood
Available dates
Date of travel
Number of individuals
Only in the Horse Tours Club
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Photo James M.
James M. is the provider of this trip
The provider speaks: English, German
My expertise in horsemanship training and leading wilderness pack adventures enables me to share the knowledge I've acquired from spending the majority of my life on horseback in remote, wild conditions. Navigating challenging terrain influences the structure of my workshops to ensure a safe, stable and sustainable experience for both horses and riders. Discover the advantages of a strong bond between horse and rider through practical, real-life lessons that can enhance your overall well-being.

Tour highlights

Canyon Riding
There is no better wilderness experience anywhere, than a horseback ride along the Middle Fork
Explore Ancient Indian Cliff Dwellings
Dating back over 1000 years
Camping in the Wilderness
A comfortable camp offers wall tents, cots - everything to make your stay comfortable and warm

Route details

Day 1
To the Campsite

We go to the starting point of the trail and prepare the horses and pack mules. Then, we make our way to our cozy campsite in the Gila Wilderness, complete with spacious tents and comfortable cots, where we'll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals from a Dutch oven. There are great opportunities to spot elk and deer both on the trail and at our campsite.

Meals included: lunch and dinner

Day 2
Middle Fork Canyon
Day 3
Settler Cabin Adventure
Day 4
Ancient Indian Cliff Dwellings
Day 5
Going Back
Tour provider's comments

Horseback riding in mountain terrain, river crossings, some switchbacks, narrow canyons. 

Tack: Western.
Horses: Quarter horses, Mustangs and Appaloosas.
Pace: Slow.

4-6 hours in the saddle per riding day.

You should be in good health and in good shape as the ride take place in mountain terrain. 



4 nights
4 nights
Tent Camping

Large tents with cots. Comfortable tent camping, cots, kitchen, toilets, showers, and chairs around a campfire. Always staying warm and dry. 

Tickets to group meeting place

Group meeting place
New Mexico, Catron County, Glenwood
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Weather during the tour

Weather conditions along the route
You will get a weather forecast for this tour’s route based on
  • the forecasts for this season
  • the statistics from previous years’ trips

Tour conditions


  • accommodation;
  • meals;
  • riding;
  • taxes;
  • transfers from/to Glenwood;
  • guide.


  • sleeping bags and some camping gear (check the packing list);
  • flights;
  • Glenwood or Reserve NM motel accommodation Day 0;
  • dinner Day 0;
  • breakfast Day 1;
  • tips and personal expenses.

Group size

up to 10 tourists


5 days
4 nights

It's important to know

Personal equipment you need for the tour

Maximum Duffel Weight Including Sleeping Bag - 35 lbs.
Fast access items can be stored in saddle bags. Please pack light!

• duffel bag - multi-small, soft duffel preferred;
• sleeping bag;
• sleeping bag liner or blanket;
• ground pad;
• rain gear or slicker;
• jeans/long sleeve shirt;
• comfortable camp shoes;
• gloves;
• hat with a brim;
• flashlight;
• jacket;
• sweater;
• sunglasses;
• personal medical items;
• personal first aid kit;
• wash kit;
• chapstick, sunblock;
• camera and film;

What languages does your team speak?
Tell me about your horses
Cancellation of booking

Tour reviews

Based on 4 reviews
  • L
    21 Feb, 2024
    about provider
    Gosh, what an incredible experience venturing into the wild on muleback! Sally, my trusty mule, was amazing and totally steady on her feet. I loved being fully present, soaking in the changing light of the day and admiring those rare wildflowers in the Gila Wilderness. Sleeping like a log after our long rides and waking up fresh at dawn was bliss. And let me tell you, after living on bland backpacking grub I had to lug around, having real milk in my coffee and butter on toast was a game changer! What made it even better was how flexible the trip was. The crew knew the area and weather so well that plans evolved naturally. This wasn't your run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter tourist trip. It was a genuine, dynamic adventure. Sure, there are places tailored for comfort, but this was the real deal! And the care for the horses blew me away. Some were even allowed to roam around camp! That speaks volumes about Jim, the leader, and his bond with his animals. I bombarded him with questions about managing such a large herd, but he took it all in stride. Can't wait to come back and explore more!
    21 Feb, 2024
  • F
    26 Sep, 2022
    about provider
    Sorry there aren't higher ratings to choose from ... because this experience easily deserves a perfect score. The Gila Wilderness alone is absolutely mind-blowing ... especially the journeys up & down the middle fork. Jim's team not only provided hearty meals but also spun campfire "tales", taller than the canyon walls we crossed over a 100 times! The horses & mules deserve another perfect score for their incredible sure-footedness and strength carrying our gear! A special shoutout to Cisco, the massive mule who chased bears and craved bread ... and Bombs Away for record-breaking stubbornness ... Charley, my personal "superstar" ... honestly, all of them were a non-stop show. The cliff dwellings were truly inspiring! and Jim M.'s 30+ years of guiding pack trips showcased his top-notch skills, making this adventure one of the most fulfilling escapes you could ever hope for in this crazy world! HCA
    26 Sep, 2022
  • E
    9 Sep, 2022
    about provider
    A sudden rush of joy in your heart... just imagine the sheer beauty, the amazing things you see & hear... Mother Nature showing off her best, respected and honored by our guide & crew. It's like Yosemite, but without the crowds and totally untouched. Families looking for the ultimate nature experience absolutely NEED to check this out!
    9 Sep, 2022

Dates and Prices

  • US$ 1 446
    21 – 25 Jul 5 days 4 nights
  • US$ 1 446
    4 – 8 Aug 5 days 4 nights
  • US$ 1 446
    18 – 22 Aug 5 days 4 nights
  • US$ 1 446
    25 – 29 Aug 5 days 4 nights
  • US$ 1 446
    8 – 12 Sep 5 days 4 nights

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