Upcoming Field Trips

Future field trips will be announced here and on our events page. Stay tuned!

Past Field Trips

Three Hikes to Celebrate the Gila Wilderness Centennial

Spring Canyon Botany Hike, Sunday, June 2

Date and times: Sunday, June 2, 9:00 am (at trailhead) to 12:30 pm

Carpooling from Silver City: Be at WNMU Fine Arts Center parking lot in time to depart at 7:45 am. Parking at the trailhead is limited and carpooling is encouraged, although ride-sharing is not guaranteed.

Location: Trailhead is approximately 1,500 feet southwest of the intersection of NM 15 and NM 35, west of Lake Roberts. Coordinates are 33°02’21.2″N 108°13’13.8″W in Google Maps. There is space for about five cars near the trailhead, and ample parking for additional cars in the pull-out at the intersection of NM 15 and NM 35.

What to wear/bring: Participants are asked to wear closed-toed shoes and a hat. Bring ample water and snacks or a lunch. No pets.

Hike highlights: Hike leaders Don Graves and Elroy Limmer will focus on the theme of “Pollinators, Larval Host Plants, and Their Interactions.” The group will be walking along Sapillo Creek in a wonderful riparian area. Expect to see Fremont Cottonwood, Rocky Mountain Juniper, Coyote Willow and numerous wildflowers, depending on spring rain amounts. We will explore the area to view and discuss pollinator/native plant interactions.

Trail Details and Accessibility Info: The hike will be about two miles round-trip to the Wilderness boundary. The trail is flat, but there are seven creek crossings – although there are rocks to step on at each crossing, please be prepared to get your feet slightly wet! Trail is dirt with a good tread throughout, with a couple of uphill sections climbing no more than 15 feet. Open and shaded sections throughout. No drinking water available. 

Registration and group size: The group will be limited to 15 people. Registration will begin on May 1st by sending an email (with the names of anyone who will be participating) to gilanative@gmail.com. You will receive a confirmation email that you are registered. There is likely to be a waiting list, so please send us an email if you have to cancel so that we can offer your spot(s) to other people.

West Fork Gila River Botany Hike, Wednesday, May 29
Date and times: Wednesday, May 29, 10:00 am (at trailhead) to 1:30 pm

Carpooling from Silver City: Be at WNMU Fine Arts Center parking lot in time to depart at 8:00 am. Ride-sharing is not guaranteed.

Location: The West Fork Gila River trailhead starts from the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument parking lot. Coordinates are 33.229569, -108.264893 in Google Maps. There is ample parking and pit toilets at the trailhead.

What to wear/bring: Participants are asked to wear closed-toed shoes and a hat. If you are interested in birds, please bring a pair of binoculars. Bring ample water and snacks or a lunch. No pets.

Hike highlights: Professors Bill Norris and Russ Kleinman will lead the hike along the West Fork of the Gila River into the Wilderness, pointing out native plants and birds. Typical plants that we might see during our hike include several horsetail, sedge, rush, and grass species; Rocky Mountain Juniper, Goodding’s Willow, Blue-Stemmed Willow, Narrow-leaved Cottonwood, New Mexico Olive, and New Mexico Alder; Yellow-Flowered Monkeyflower, Water Speedwell, White-Flowered Crowfoot, and many other forb species depending on water levels.

Trail Details and Accessibility Info: The hike will be about four miles round-trip into the Wilderness along West Fork Trail #151. The trail climbs 130 feet in the first mile, then descends about 70 feet in the second mile. Trail is dirt with a good tread, and was cleared of logs and brushed in 2023. There are four or five river crossings each way—bring water shoes and dry socks or good waterproof boots and prepare to get a little wet! Open and shaded sections throughout. No drinking water available.

Registration and group size: The group will be limited to 25 people. Registration will begin on May 1st by sending an email (with the names of anyone who will be participating) to gilanative@gmail.com. You will receive a confirmation email that you are registered. There is likely to be a waiting list, so please send us an email if you have to cancel so that we can offer your spot(s) to other people.

Willow Creek/Iron Creek Botany Hike, Saturday, May 25

Date and times: Saturday, May 25, 11:00 am (at trailhead) to 2:30 pm

Carpooling from Silver City: Be at WNMU Fine Arts Center parking lot in time to depart at 7:00 am (for low-clearance and 2-WD vehicles going via Reserve); or 8:00 am (for high-clearance, 4-WD vehicles going via Mogollon). Ride-sharing is not guaranteed.

Location: The Willow Creek Trailhead (https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/gila/recarea/?recid=82299) is about 1,000 feet west of Willow Creek Campground, 17 miles east of Mogollon. Coordinates are 33°23’59.6″N 108°35’00.6″W in Google Maps. There is parking along the road and on a spur road just east of the trailhead. Note: NM 159 through Mogollon has extremely difficult driving conditions from milepost 12, just past Mogollon to mile marker 17. High-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles are strongly recommended. An alternate route for low-clearance, 2-wheel drive is south from Reserve, via FR 141 and south on FR 28. This is an unpaved, improved two-track road. The drive from Silver City to the trailhead via Mogollon is 90 miles one-way (allow three hours) and the drive via Reserve is 137 miles one-way (allow four hours). Camping is available near the trailhead.

What to wear/bring: Participants are asked to wear closed-toed shoes and a hat. Bring ample water and snacks or a lunch. No pets.

Hike highlights: Biologist John Gorey will lead the hike to an area where he identified the rare Graham’s Thistle (Cirsium grahamii) in 2021 after it had not been collected for nearly 20 years. John will point out several native habitats along the trail as well as birds, butterflies, and bees. Possible plants and habitat we will see include: Graham’s Thistle and other native thistles; wildflowers such as cinquefoils, Golden Columbine, Monkey Flower, Canadian Violet, and lupines; and high elevation riparian/meadow habitat including moist Ponderosa pine meadows.

Trail Details and Accessibility Info: The hike will be about four miles round-trip into the Wilderness along West Fork Trail #151. The trail climbs 400 feet in the first mile, then descends about 400 feet in the second mile. Trail is dirt with a good tread, and was cleared of logs and brushed in 2023. Open and shaded sections throughout. No drinking water available.

Registration and group size: The group will be limited to 25 people. Registration will begin on May 1st by sending an email (with the names of anyone who will be participating) to gilanative@gmail.com. You will receive a confirmation email that you are registered. There is likely to be a waiting list, so please send us an email if you have to cancel so that we can offer your spot(s) to other people.

Hidalgo County Chihuahuan Desert Wildflowers Field Trip Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Participants on a desert hillside.

Some of the participants

Andrew Tree led our first field trip of the year to see some of the Chihuahuan desert spring wildflowers that have popped out at lower elevations.

Sphaeralcea sp.

Participants gathered at the Visitor’s Center to carpool and drive to Virden in Hidalgo County. Observers were able to get up close and personal with more than fifty-two species of wildflowers. The afternoon clouds only added to the beauty of the high desert landscape.

Malacothrix coulteri

Click here to view the revised plant list

Pop-Up Field Trip: Poppy Promenade in the Floridas Tuesday, March 21st, 2023, 9:00 am to noon

Poppy’s, east side of the floridas

If you’re willing to drive a little to see a spectacular bloom, join us on this Poppy Promenade in the Floridas this coming Tuesday. Our Field Trip Committee scouts discovered an amazing abundance of poppies and other early spring wildflowers down a gravel road in the Florida Mts. This doesn’t happen every year, and they want to share this experience before the bloom fades.

The plan is to gather before 9 am at the parking space across the side road from the gas pumps at the Valero station on route 180 just north of Deming. If you’re coming down 180 from the north, the Valero is on the left just a short distance past the turnoff to State Highway  26. Those with low-clearance vehicles can then carpool in vehicles with a little higher clearance for the gravel road. The caravan will leave from there at 9 am for about a 30 minute drive to the flowering site.