Forks Campground, Gila Hot Springs, NM

Wilderness Ranger District

Gila National Forest

Free Camping Near Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Forks Campground is a free, designated dispersed camping area offered by Gila National Forest. It's actually a combination campground and day-use area, where camping is allowed in the upper portion of the area, while the day-use area is located within the lower portion.


Wilderness Ranger District

Gila National Forest

District Office

Tel: (575) 536-2250


GPS: 33.1837, -108.2061

Reservations: First come, first served

Camping Fee: None

Permit: None

Max Stay: 14 days in a 45-day period

Amenities: Vault toilet, fire rings

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Free Camping at Forks Campground

Forks Campground is the area’s only free designated forest campground close to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

There’s enough room for about seven campsites, many of which can support full-sized RVs. There actually are no designated campsites, it’s purely a dispersed area. There are no picnic tables.

The road leading up the campground, Highway 15, is all paved, while the road heading inside the campground is firm-packed gravel, suitable for any vehicle.

This campground will get crowded on weekends, particularly in the summer, due to folks wanting to float down the West Fork Gila River in their inflatables. But during the week from Monday through Thursday, it remains quiet.

The Forest Service says that camping is not allowed in the lower portion of the campground/day-use area, but it’s not clear as to where this boundary line is. For the most part, as long as you don’t camp on the river bank itself, you seem to be fine. The bank itself is meant for people accessing the water and pursuing water activities.

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