Catwalk Trail In New Mexico

Here is everything you need to know about the Catwalk Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: New Mexico
  • Length: 1.35 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Gila National Forest
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Catwalk Trail, located in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico, holds a rich historical significance that dates back to the early 20th century. Originally constructed in the 1890s as a pipeline to deliver water to a nearby mining operation, the trail was later repurposed as a walkway for miners to access the Whitewater Canyon. This canyon was known for its abundant silver and gold deposits, attracting prospectors from all over the region.

In the early 1920s, the mining operation ceased, and the pipeline was abandoned. However, the Catwalk Trail remained, and its unique construction caught the attention of locals and visitors alike. The trail was built along the steep canyon walls, utilizing wooden planks and metal supports to create a suspended walkway that allowed hikers to traverse the rugged terrain safely.

Over the years, the Catwalk Trail underwent several renovations and improvements to ensure its stability and accessibility. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) contributed to the trail’s development, reinforcing the wooden walkway and adding handrails for increased safety. The CCC’s efforts transformed the Catwalk Trail into a popular recreational destination, attracting nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

Today, the Catwalk Trail stands as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of early miners and trailblazers. Its historical significance and breathtaking natural beauty continue to draw visitors who wish to experience the thrill of walking along the suspended walkway and immerse themselves in the rich history of this remarkable trail.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Whitewater Picnic Area: This is the main access point for the Catwalk Trail. It is located at the end of NM Highway 174, about 5 miles east of Glenwood, New Mexico.

2. Catwalk Recreation Area: This is the starting point of the Catwalk Trail. It is located within the Gila National Forest and offers parking, restrooms, and picnic areas.

3. Catwalk Upper Trailhead: This is the upper access point for the Catwalk Trail. It is located about 1.5 miles upstream from the Catwalk Recreation Area and can be reached via a short hike from the lower trailhead.

4. Mogollon Creek Trailhead: This is an alternative access point to the Catwalk Trail. It is located about 2 miles upstream from the Catwalk Recreation Area and can be reached via the Mogollon Creek Trail.

5. Mogollon Baldy Trailhead: This is another alternative access point to the Catwalk Trail. It is located about 6 miles upstream from the Catwalk Recreation Area and can be reached via the Mogollon Baldy Trail.

6. Glenwood Fish Hatchery: This is a nearby attraction located about 5 miles west of the Catwalk Recreation Area. While not a direct access point to the Catwalk Trail, it can serve as a starting point for exploring the area.

Please note that these access points may vary in terms of parking availability, facilities, and trail conditions. It is always recommended to check with local authorities or the Gila National Forest for the most up-to-date information before planning a visit.

Transportation Available

1. Catwalk Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Catwalk Trail.
2. Local Taxi – Taxi service available for transportation in the area.
3. Ride Share – Ride-sharing service offering convenient transportation options.
4. Bus Service – Local bus service connecting various destinations, including the Catwalk Trail.
5. Car Rental – Rental service providing vehicles for independent transportation.
6. Bicycle Rental – Rental service offering bicycles for exploring the area.
7. Motorcycle Rental – Rental service providing motorcycles for convenient transportation.
8. ATV Rental – Rental service offering all-terrain vehicles for off-road exploration.
9. Horseback Riding – Horseback riding service for a unique transportation experience.
10. Hiking Tours – Guided hiking tours providing transportation and exploration of the Catwalk Trail.


The amenities available at the Catwalk Trail may vary, but typically include:

1. Restrooms: There are usually restroom facilities available at or near the trailhead or visitor center.

2. Parking: There is usually designated parking available for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the location, there may be designated camping sites nearby or within the trail area. These sites may have facilities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the trail or near the trailhead, providing visitors with a place to relax and enjoy a meal or snack.

5. Visitor Center: Some trails may have a visitor center where you can obtain information, maps, and learn more about the trail and its surroundings.

6. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, there may be interpretive signs or panels providing information about the natural or historical features of the area.

7. Benches or Seating: There may be benches or seating areas along the trail, allowing visitors to rest and take in the scenery.

8. Drinking Water: Some trails may have drinking water stations or fountains available for visitors to stay hydrated.

9. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, there are usually trash receptacles provided along the trail for visitors to dispose of their waste.

It is always recommended to check with the local authorities or visitor center for the most up-to-date information on the specific amenities available at the Catwalk Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Glenwood Ranger District Office – Provides information and assistance for the Catwalk Trail.
2. Glenwood Motel – Nearby lodging option with comfortable rooms.
3. Glenwood General Store – Offers food services and supplies for hikers.
4. Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department – Emergency services available in case of any incidents.
5. Gila National Forest – Provides camping options near the Catwalk Trail.
6. Doc Campbell’s Post – Offers lodging, food, and emergency services for hikers.
7. Gila Hot Springs Campground – Campground with hot springs nearby for relaxation.
8. Gila Hike and Bike – Provides bike rentals and repair services for trail enthusiasts.
9. Gila Regional Medical Center – Emergency medical services available in Silver City, a short drive from the Catwalk Trail.
10. Silver City KOA Journey – Campground with RV sites and amenities for travelers.

Catwalk Trail Difficulty Notes

The Catwalk Trail is known for its moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail offers a unique and thrilling experience as it winds through narrow canyons and along the edge of steep cliffs. While the trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, hikers should be prepared for some challenging sections that require careful footing and balance. The trail also includes several steep ascents and descents, adding to the overall difficulty. However, the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the rushing Whitewater Creek make the effort well worth it for those seeking an adventurous and rewarding hiking experience.

Features And Attractions

The Catwalk Trail, also known as the Catwalk National Recreation Trail, is located in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, USA. It offers stunning scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks. Here are some notable attractions along the Catwalk Trail:

1. Whitewater Canyon: The trail follows the Whitewater Creek, offering beautiful views of the canyon with its towering cliffs and lush vegetation.

2. Catwalk: The highlight of the trail is the catwalk itself, a suspended walkway that clings to the canyon walls. Originally built in the 1890s to support a pipeline, it now provides a unique and thrilling experience for hikers.

3. Waterfalls: Along the trail, you’ll encounter several small waterfalls cascading down the canyon walls, creating a picturesque setting.

4. Historic Mining Sites: The area around the Catwalk Trail was once a bustling mining district. You can still see remnants of old mining structures and equipment, providing a glimpse into the region’s rich mining history.

5. Native American Petroglyphs: Keep an eye out for ancient petroglyphs etched into the rocks along the trail. These carvings offer a glimpse into the cultural heritage of the Native American tribes that once inhabited the area.

6. Wildlife: The Gila National Forest is home to a diverse range of wildlife. While hiking the Catwalk Trail, you may spot various bird species, deer, elk, and even the occasional black bear.

7. Fall Colors: If you visit during the autumn season, you’ll be treated to a vibrant display of fall foliage. The trail is surrounded by trees that turn shades of red, orange, and gold, creating a stunning backdrop.

8. Rock Formations: The canyon walls along the Catwalk Trail feature unique rock formations, including towering cliffs, narrow gorges, and interesting geological features.

9. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where you can take a break, enjoy a meal, and soak in the natural beauty surrounding you.

10. Hiking Opportunities: The Catwalk Trail is part of a larger network of trails in the Gila National Forest. You can extend your hike by exploring other nearby trails, such as the Mogollon Box Trail or the Gold Dust Trail.

These are just a few of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can experience while hiking the Catwalk Trail. It’s a truly unique and breathtaking destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs are allowed on the Catwalk Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Horses are not permitted on the trail.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail but must yield to pedestrians.
– Camping is not allowed along the Catwalk Trail.
– Fires and smoking are strictly prohibited.
– Littering is not allowed; please carry out all trash.
– Hunting and fishing are not permitted on the trail.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– The trail is open year-round, but during winter months, it may be subject to closures or restrictions due to weather conditions.

Seasonal Information

The Catwalk Trail, located in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The best times of the year to visit the Catwalk Trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In spring, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, and the weather is pleasant with mild temperatures. Fall brings stunning foliage colors, creating a picturesque backdrop for hikers. During these seasons, the trail offers a comfortable hiking experience with moderate temperatures and less crowded conditions.

However, it is important to note that the Catwalk Trail is subject to seasonal closures due to weather conditions. The trail is located in a narrow canyon, and during the monsoon season (typically from July to September), flash floods and heavy rains can occur, making the trail unsafe for visitors. Therefore, it is advisable to check with the Gila National Forest Service or the Catwalk Recreation Area before planning your visit to ensure that the trail is open and accessible.

During the winter months, the Catwalk Trail may also experience closures or limited access due to snowfall and icy conditions. The trail can become slippery and dangerous, making it unsuitable for hiking. It is recommended to check the weather forecast and road conditions before heading out to the trail during the winter season.

Overall, the best times to visit the Catwalk Trail are in the spring and fall when the weather is pleasant, and the trail showcases its natural beauty. However, it is crucial to stay informed about any seasonal closures or restrictions to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Catwalk Trail offers wheelchair accessibility with a paved path that allows individuals with mobility challenges to navigate the trail easily.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trailhead, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms equipped with grab bars and ample space are provided at the trailhead, ensuring comfort and convenience for all visitors.
4. Handrails: Sturdy handrails are installed along certain sections of the trail, providing additional support and stability for individuals with mobility impairments.
5. Rest Areas: The trail features designated rest areas with benches and seating, allowing visitors to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings at their own pace.
6. Braille Signage: Braille signage is available at various points along the trail, providing information and directions for individuals with visual impairments.
7. Assistance Animals: Service animals are welcome on the Catwalk Trail, ensuring individuals with disabilities have the necessary support and companionship during their visit.
8. Accessible Viewing Platforms: The trail offers accessible viewing platforms at specific points, allowing individuals using wheelchairs or mobility aids to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area.
9. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays along the trail are designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities, providing information through various formats such as large print or audio.
10. Accessible Shuttle Service: A shuttle service is available for individuals with mobility challenges, providing transportation to and from the trailhead for a more convenient and accessible experience.

Safety Information

1. Wear appropriate footwear: Sturdy hiking boots with good traction are recommended to navigate the rocky terrain safely.
2. Stay on the designated trail: Straying off the marked path can be dangerous due to steep cliffs and unstable ground.
3. Carry plenty of water: The trail can be strenuous, so it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the hike.
4. Check weather conditions: Be aware of potential flash floods or thunderstorms in the area before embarking on the trail.
5. Use sunscreen and wear a hat: Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, as shade is limited along the trail.
6. Bring a map and compass: Familiarize yourself with the trail route and carry navigation tools in case of getting lost.
7. Hike with a buddy: It’s always safer to hike with a companion, especially in remote areas.
8. Be cautious of wildlife: Respect the natural habitat and keep a safe distance from any animals encountered.
9. Pack a first aid kit: Carry essential medical supplies to address minor injuries or emergencies.
10. Inform someone of your plans: Let a trusted person know about your hiking plans, including expected return time.
11. Stay alert and watch your step: Pay attention to the trail conditions and watch out for loose rocks or slippery surfaces.
12. Respect trail closures: If the trail is closed due to maintenance or unsafe conditions, adhere to the closure for your own safety.
13. Be prepared for changing weather: Dress in layers and bring rain gear, as weather conditions can change rapidly in mountainous areas.
14. Avoid hiking during extreme heat: Plan your hike for cooler times of the day to prevent heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
15. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and respect the environment by leaving it as you found it.

Conservation Notes

The Catwalk Trail, located in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, holds a conservation status of utmost importance. The trail is situated within the Gila Wilderness, which is the first designated wilderness area in the United States. As a result, the Catwalk Trail is subject to strict conservation regulations to preserve its natural beauty and ecological integrity.

The conservation status of the Catwalk Trail primarily focuses on protecting the unique riparian ecosystem it traverses. The trail follows the path of Whitewater Creek, which is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. The creek supports a healthy population of native fish, including the endangered Gila trout, which is a species of great conservation concern. Efforts are made to maintain the water quality and flow of the creek, ensuring the survival and reproduction of these sensitive aquatic species.

Furthermore, the Catwalk Trail is subject to conservation measures to prevent the spread of invasive species. Invasive plants, such as tamarisk and Russian olive, pose a significant threat to the native vegetation along the trail. Conservation efforts involve regular monitoring and removal of these invasive species to protect the integrity of the ecosystem and promote the growth of native plants.

Overall, the conservation status of the Catwalk Trail is of paramount importance to preserve the unique riparian ecosystem and protect the endangered species that call it home. Through ongoing efforts, the trail continues to be managed and maintained to ensure its ecological sustainability for future generations to enjoy.

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