BACKCOUNTRY TRAVELERS CAN PICK any spot and set up camp, although some of the more scenic sites are popular for a reason. When the water starts to feel warm as you walk along the Middle Fork of the Gila River a couple miles upstream from the junction of Little Bear Canyon, look uphill toward the east for steam rising from Jordan Hot Springs. An existing tent site is mere steps from the undeveloped pool, and other possible camps are dispersed throughout the valley.

Of the developed U.S. Forest Service campgrounds on the edges of the Gila Wilderness, Dipping Vat Campground features alpine views (along with potable water and pit toilets) just above Snow Lake in the Mogollon Mountains. If you bring your small RV, be sure to drive the route via the community of Reserve, as four-wheel drive is necessary for the climb from Mogollon. Find solitude at Wolf Hollow Campground on the north side of a 4x4 route encircling the wilderness via NM 59. The free Lower and Upper Scorpion Campgrounds provide the most convenient access to the Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

Try the chicken and waffles at Bear Mountain Lodge.

The privately owned Gila Hot Springs Campground offers tent and small RV campers 24-hour access to its three pebble-bottomed pools, adjusted to the temperature of your choice by friendly camp hosts. If you are brave enough to tow a larger RV over the mountains, Becky’s Gila Hot Springs Ranch offers 30 and 50 amp or 110 electrical, sewer, and water hookups. Some of the comforts of home are available at the ranch’s apartments, while guests coming for more extended stays can rent the Campbell family’s 1942 log cabin.

The Lake Roberts Motel & Country Store is situated near where NM 35 joins with North Star Road, which cuts through the Gila and Aldo Leopold wildernesses.

Bunk up in a cabin at Glenwood’s Los Olmos Lodge, which can accommodate groups and has two fishing ponds on site.

To base out of Silver City, book a room at the Murray Hotel within walking distance of downtown restaurants, galleries, and shops. Bear Mountain Lodge is set back on a property previously managed by the Nature Conservancy and bordering the Gila National Forest.

Read more: Don’t miss these nearby spots to eat, shop, and visit.