Gila Lower Box Wilderness Study Area
the Road to
is a desert oasis recognized as one of the best birding areas in New Mexico. Rockhounding is abundant within the Caprock Mining District Area as well, and has been found to be resplendent with small veins of manganese. The Gila River is accessible throughout this five-mile long, up to 600 feet deep river cut canyon. Access these outdoor-enthusiast attractions by heading northeast of Duncan on Old West Highway 70 to Fuller Road. Heading northwest onto White Rock Canyon Road from Fuller Road, gains access to the Gila Lower Box WSA trails and Fisherman’s Point at the gravel roads end.
Sixteen miles east on US 70 from Duncan, head northeast on Fuller Road (near New Mexico US 70 MP 10). Reaching Fisherman’s point requires a high-clearance vehicle and 4WD is recommended as rain causes washes and ruts to deepen. BLM rules, regulations and tips for preparation of a self-guided tour of Fisherman’s Point can be found at https://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/las_cruces/gila_lower_box.html
Steeple Rock Summit Located in the Summit Mountains a few miles east of Duncan, AZ, Steeple Rock is a 6,220’ elevation mountain summit of shear rock near Virden, NM. Traveling north of Duncan on Carlisle Road off the AZ 75 brings you around the back side of Steeple Rock into the many wonders within Carlisle Mining District.
Carlisle Mining District Area
Referenced by many mining district names such as Duncan , Carlisle, Steeple Rock, Goat Camp, etc., this rockhound area is a magnificent set of world-class deposit sites for fluorite. Fluorite ore is a very hard, bluish-white quartz, carrying values in gold and silver. Manganese, calcite, quartz crystals of many colors and a variety of collectable specimens are also found throughout the entire district. Accessible by way of traveling various dirt roads on BLM lands, the more suitable is the Carlisle Road out of North Duncan easily traveled by use of a high-clearance vehicle, though 4WD is always recommended. Please be respectful of private property and cautious when viewing any mining areas.
A River Runs Through
Gila River laces it’s way through the entire Duncan Valley.Gila River dissects the County with many public access points available. Its headwaters are in New Mexico, flowing through Greenlee County and eventually into the Colorado River at Yuma. Fishing and kayaking occur seasonally. Hiking can be enjoyed year-round along with bird watching and wildlife viewing of many species. Check with landowners before entering their private land.
Hike, Bike or Ride
Crown Jewel of Virden
& Carlisle Mining District
Canador Peak, locally known as Caneaster, rests alongside the Gila River. Settlers of Virden, NM, write of their explorations “up the river to Caneaster” and seeing “Indian writings on the solid rock sides of the river” -- surely speaking of the beauty found within canyons of the Gila Lower Box Area located just east of Caneaster. This “Elephant” is a site to behold, surrounded by hills of springtime poppies and wildflowers.
Outdoor recreational activities are abundant in this area. Cyclists looking for a dirt road challenge are seeking the path of Carlisle Road heading northeast (toward Steeple Rock) off AZ 75 in North Duncan. Hikers and explorers alike can experience trails off the well-beaten path along the Peloncillo and Summit Mountain Ranges. Rock climbing the summit of Steeple Rock, with a peak height of 6,259 feet, is one of the many hiking challenges of the area and should only be attempted by experienced climbers. Springs and running creeks are not as easily found as those near river valleys, bring plenty of water for your entire expedition party -- including your four-legged companions.
Valleys of Castles
Cottonwood Canyon is locally well known for its amazing historical Indian petroglyphs, world wonders that have withstood the test of time here in the high desert for centuries. Access Cottonwood Canyon where it joins the Gila River Canyon below Canador Peak for views of these writings present in this area.
Fisherman’s Point and White Rock Canyon are known for castle-like sheer rock walls and pillar rock formations found by way of following the course of the Gila River west of Fisherman’s Point. Access the Gila River Canyon via Fisherman’s Point for an enchanting experience to reach White Rock Canyon and beyond.
Copyright Greenlee Tourism Council. All rights reserved.
Old Virden School was once filled with laughter and
learning -- now sparkling memories. Located on the corner of Gila Avenue and Eagle Street in Virden, New Mexico. The first settlers of Virden joyfully reminisce about the many adventures that came with living alongside the Gila River.