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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lightfeather Hot Springs at Gila Cliff Dwellings NM

We took a family vacation to Southwest New Mexico around Labor Day.  Gila Cliff Dwellings was one of our destinations.  We got there too late to see the dwellings the first day, but we did have a nice little hike to the Lightfeather Hot Springs.  The springs are located 1/2 mile or so above the visitor center, along the Gila River.  You have to wade across the river twice on the way to the springs.
The hot water comes out of the ground, then flows to some pools right in the river itself where it mixes with the river water to cool down to a suitable temperature.  The pools were pretty filled up with junk and detritus from the fires of 2012 when we got there.  I spent a while cleaning out the pools and redirecting the river water to help flush them out.   The water was nice and the kids sure liked it too!
Here's where the water comes out of the ground.  It is extremely hot- don't jump in here!  I found it interesting that there's a wilderness boundary about 50 feet past where the hot springs are, leaving the springs NOT in the wilderness.
There's a small rock overhang nearby with a roof blackened from countless fires.  Geronimo was born near the headwaters of the Gila, perhaps nearby.  He undoubtedly soaked here a time or two himself. 
This was one of the three hikes in the park that are shorter.  We had the place to ourselves and as dusk began to fall, we hiked back to the car and drove down the road to our campsite. 

Nearest City:
Location: N° W°
Time Needed:
Difficulty: Moderate (river crossings)
Kid Friendly:
Additional Info:

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