Gila Lower Box Canyon Recreation Area


Gila Lower Box Canyon Recreation Area
Gila Lower Box Canyon Recreation Area
Gila Lower Box Canyon Recreation Area

Since cattle were banned from the Gila Lower Box Canyon, the place has grown into a veritable oasis in the desert. The river now supports a lush riparian zone of cottonwoods, willows and other vegetation. With all that vegetation, the areas also now sees more birds and other wildlife. Spring run-off from the Gila Mountains brings out the whitewater canoe and rafting enthusiasts but that season is usually over by mid-May. Fishing has gotten much better along the river with more food for the smallmouth bass and catfish that like these warm waters.

To get there: West of Lordsburg on US Highway 70, get on New Mexico Highway 464 and go north for about 14 miles. You'll find a bladed county road there, turn west on it. Watch your odometer. There are access roads going north off that county road at 3.5, 6 and 8 miles in. The first road goes 3.5 miles to Nichol's Canyon where you'll find camping spots under the cottonwoods beside the river. The other access roads take you to Fisherman's Point and Spring-on-the-Bluff where you can park and hike fishing access trails to the river.

A view beside the Gila River
Down beside the Gila River
Photos courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management