by Kyle Meredith - President, Grant County Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Society
There are numerous camping opportunities on public lands within an hour or so of Silver City, but I can’t predict the availability of sites at any particular location. You may find you’re sharing the campground with other rock hounds!
There are two Forest Service campgrounds on Highway 15 about ten or fifteen miles north of Silver City (on the way to the Cliff Dwellings)—Cherry Creek and McMillan Campgrounds. These would be your best bet, in my opinion. They’re just off the paved road and have standard FS pit toilets. There are no other facilities, and I believe there are no fees. These would be the closest to town, although they are on a slow, winding road. If you are looking for something more isolated, you can choose one of many Forest Service roads in the vicinity and find unofficial campgrounds and broad turnouts. Please observe campfire bans, as we are in an extreme drought, and it is likely that there will be a high fire danger!
Farther up the road you will come to the intersection of Highway 35 that loops toward Mimbres to Highway 152. At Lake Roberts you will find camping for a fee, but I suspect these sites may be quite full. There is a huge free campground with pit toilets near the Continental Divide called Sapillo—also usually quite popular.
Beyond the intersection, on the way to the Cliff Dwellings, you will find Forks and Grapevine campgrounds on the Gila River. At the Cliff Dwellings are Upper and Lower Scorpion Campgrounds, but all these sites will probably fill up and are a couple of hours out of town.
About an hour east of town on Highway 152 (past Mimbres, up Emory Pass) there are several named campgrounds just off the highway, including Lower Gallinas, Upper Gallinas, Railroad Canyon, and Iron Creek—all free with toilets. You are likely to find available sites at some or all of these.
For more detailed information, you could do a search on the Forest Service website. I don’t have any information regarding commercial campsites. Thanks for your interest in our show. We hope to see you there.