Easiest is to take the nature trail right out the back of our park...no driving at all!
|There is an arroyo along the East border of the property loaded with animal tracks.|
Immediately South of downtown Silver City is the Boston Hill Open Space trail system. From these trails you get expansive views of downtown and the surrounding foothills. Scattered over the hillsides you're walking are the remains of several pit mines from the early days of the town.
|The terrain on Boston Hill includes oak, alligator juniper, pinion pine and bear grass.|
|The view looking North over downtown and towards the Gila Wilderness.|
In the foreground is one of the mine pits.
|A surprise find along the trail.|
|Even the water towers have a fun flair to them in Silver City.|
These are near the Market St trail head.
Fort Bayard is a National Historic Landmark located about five miles East of town, just off of Hwy 180. The fort was built in 1866 to protect settlers and prospectors from the Apache. Once the Apache were no longer considered a threat, the fort became a tuberculosis hospital and research center. In 1922 it became a Veterans Hospital. Its final days of active duty found it a long-term care facility administered by the New Mexico Department of Health. The site is no longer in use and is falling into disrepair and battles are being fought over whether it should be razed or not.
|One of the dilapidated buildings at historical Fort Bayard.|
You can drive around and read interpretive signs or take a guided tour on two Saturdays a month.
Out a dirt road beyond the historical site are a number of US Forest Service trails. We hiked a loop that included the Big Juniper Tree. I couldn't find anything that told me how old the tree is, but it surely is impressive compared to all those we saw along the trail!
|The Big Juniper Tree.|
|A close up of the core of this giant.|
|We hiked along meadows and saw small stands of cottonwood just beginning to green up.|
|In at least six miles of trail I saw this one patch of gorgeous agave.|
Some of the Fort Bayard trails look excellent for mountain biking so we will return here before we leave the area.
Just six miles North of town is the Little Walnut - Gomez Peak Day Use Area. There are several miles of hiking and biking trails here as well. Though, wimpy mountain biker that I am, the hills are a bit too steep and rocky in sections for me to want to ride there.
We did a nice four mile loop hike one sunny afternoon and found ourselves in oak/juniper/pinion forest plus a section of ponderosa pine forest.
|Though there were a lot of the same trees that we saw on our Boston Hill hike,|
here they were quite a bit taller, providing some very nice shade.
|We were somewhat surprised to come to this stand of Ponderosa Pines, it didn't|
seem as though we had gained enough elevation when we drove out of town.