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Trip Advice - Gila Wilderness (NM), southern Utah, Sedona (AZ)
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Aaron Robson

Locale: Texas, California, BC
Trip Advice - Gila Wilderness (NM), southern Utah, Sedona (AZ) on 11/19/2010 18:28:53 MST Print View

I'm looking for some input on a trip I'm planning with my girlfriend in mid-December.

First stop is the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. I know a few posters on here have talked about this area and live around there, so I'm hoping to get some advice and ideas. We will be there for three nights - arriving in Silver City late Friday night, driving to the trail and heading off on Saturday, spending all day Sunday out, then packing up with the goal of being back at the car mid-day on Monday. Our arrival and departure times for this part of the trip are pretty much set.

I have a little bit of experience in the area. I took a solo, 5 day trip around Gila last spring (early March). Due to extensive snow pack, I was forced to abandon my initial plan for a pseudo-circumnavigation of the area, and spent 4 days travelling around Sapillo Creek, the West Fork of the Gila River and the Hot Springs. I was hoping to be able to get up into the higher mountains near Glenwood for this trip. Does anyone know what the conditions are like right now? What typical conditions are? Trail suggestions? Any help would be much appreciated.

The second part of the trip will be in southern Utah. We were planning on visiting Zion National Park, but from what I gather, the only backpacking routes there are pretty much unusable on foot in the winter. We might spend a day or two doing some day hikes or something. I was looking at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument area as a possibility for a 2-3 day backpack. Does anyone have any experience in this area? I'm hoping to stick to the lower elevation areas to avoid the worst of the snow. Pretty much any suggestions for southern Utah or northern Arizona would be helpful. We are pretty flexible here.

The third section of the trip will be in Sedona, AZ. I'm pretty familiar with the area after spending a month there with family last Christmas. I did two backpacks during that time - one on the Hot Loop Trail and the other in Sycamore Canyon - and a bunch of day hikes. Just wondering if anyone had an good multi-day backpacks in the area that would be feasible in the winter.

I greatly appreciate any feedback BPL members might have on my plans. Thanks in advance.

Edited by quintessence on 11/19/2010 18:30:09 MST.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Trip Advice - Gila Wilderness (NM), southern Utah, Sedona (AZ)" on 11/19/2010 21:22:26 MST Print View


I couldn't find any current data on the SNOTEL website, unfortunately there aren't any snow sensors available for the Mogollons. Best I could find regarding weather conditions going into next week was for the mining town of Mogollon, NM (elev. 7,854ft.) and they've been averaging 40's for the highs, and 15-25F for the lows. You should expect lows in the low teens and single digits up high, possibly lower temps in areas >9,000ft. in the W. Gila, especially along/near the Crest Trail in mid-December. Depending on how much precip we receive in the next month, it's going to be very difficult getting up high into the Mogollons without a day or two approach hike as Bursum Road (#159) will be closing on 12/2/2010 as per usual for the winter (ie. snow), this is the shortest vehicular access route up into the Mogollons. Give the Glenwood District a call on Mon., they might have updated reports from hikers on potential snow conditions, water availability, and temperatures. Here's their #: Phone (575) 539-2481.