The Gila Lower Box Canyon is a true oasis in the desert, 20 miles north of Lordsburg, New Mexico. Since livestock were removed from the river canyon in 1990, a lush thicket of cottonwood, willows, and other riparian vegetation have taken over. The area provides some of the best birding in New Mexico. Home to approximately 200 species, it has one of the highest bird diversities in the state. The area provides habitat to many rare and unusual birds including Bell's vireo, peregrine, bald eagle (in winter), golden eagle, black hawk, zone-tail hawk, Grey hawk, yellow-billed cuckoo, Gila wood pecker, and Abert's towhee. The river provides opportunities for canoeing or rafting during spring runoff, hunting, and year-round fishing and camping. The river contains smallmouth bass and several species of catfish.
Camping, boating, wildlife watching, fishing, hunting, hiking.
Location / Access
To access the Gila Lower Box Canyon, take U.S. 70 West from Lordsburg 1.5 miles to New Mexico 464. Go North on NM 464 for 14 miles, and turn West on the bladed County Road. Access to the Gila Lower Box Canyon from the County Road requires a 4-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle and staying on the existing routes. There are three access points to the river -- by turning North off the County Road at 3.5, 6, and 8 miles. The first road (3.5 miles off NM 464) goes North 3.5 miles to the river at Nichol's Canyon, where you can park and camp under majestic cottonwood trees. Motor vehicles are limited to three access routes to the river in Nichol's Canyon, and off-road use is prohibited. The other access roads (at 6 and 8 miles off NM 464) take you to the canyon rim at Fisherman's Point and Spring-on-the-Bluff, where you will need to take fishing access trails down to the river.