Gila Wilderness Expedition

New Mexico USA: (RTNM04)

New Mexico USA Experience the true Gila Wilderness and Gila National Forest on horse back!

Ride through the vast canyons and mountains of the exciting and beautiful Gila region. Discover ancient Native American Indian culture, flora, and wildlife. The Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness of Southwestern New Mexico, USA is one of the most spectacular and remote regions in Southwest America. Step back in time...take a journey your heart and mind will not soon forget ... join us for a customized eco-tour, a gently guided horseback nature vacation adventure, a trip into pristine wilderness to explore the plants, animals and geological wonders of the amazing New Mexico region. Your trails are made -- not followed! From the comfort of your rustic cabin accommodation, you will be presented with an exclusive opportunity to experience a virtual ecological paradise for those seeking absolute solitude and escape from modern society's busy, stress-filled lifestyle. Imagine yourself standing on top of a high, remote peak in the Pinos Altos Mountain Range, spectacular New Mexico vistas surrounding you, all the way into Arizona. You can feel Nature in all her complete perfection! Intensely blue skies, crisp clean air and the only sound is an eagle's wings, the wind gently caressing the trees and silence. As late as 1924, trails were practically non-existent in this area and the grizzly bear still ruled. Not much has changed in this incredible wilderness setting! Refresh and revitalize your spirit simply by feeling its grandeur, purity and remoteness. No one knows exactly when the first human settlers came to the Gila Region. However, the presence of man and machine has been extremely limited, even through today. You can begin a unique journey back through thousands of years, experiencing wild lands on the back of a gentle, safe horse.

Each guest house is equipped with comfortable queen sized beds, thick down comforters, full baths, plush towels, microwave, coffee maker, refrigerator. Some riding experience is recommended; however, you need not be experienced.

Hang yer hat on a set of horns! Comfortable and cozy, this little two-bedroom Bunkhouse has it's own private deck. One queen bed and one full sized bed, full bath with extra large tub, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, coffee, tea, milk, fresh bed linens and plush, thick towels. The Longhorn is comfortably air conditioned during warmer months.

This renovated ranch house is nearly 100 years old! Nestled in the trees, this 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house can sleep up to 6 comfortably. Amenities include a screened veranda with rocking chairs, refrigerator, coffee maker, coffee, tea, milk, fresh bed linens, comforters and plush, thick towels. All meals, unlimited horseback riding, all cattle/ranch activities are included in your rate.

(May to September)
Western and rustic, with bunk beds that sleep 4 comfortably. Amenities include a private deck, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, coffee, tea, milk, fresh bed linens and plush, thick towels.

Hang yer hat on a set of horns!  Comfortable and secluded,  this cozy little two-bedroom has its own  private deck complete with hitch rail for your horse!  One queen bed and one full sized bed, full bath, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, coffee, tea, milk, fresh bed linens and plush, thick towels.

Billy spent many years in and around Silver City. Who knows...he may have spent a few nights here himself! (Ask to see the bed with the bullet holes!). This cozy little log cabin has all the rustic comforts. After a full day of riding, good grub and great company, hunker down in your own ‘hideout’. At sun-up, treat yourself to coffee on your private deck, experiencing the incredible quite, magical colors, waiting for the stir of early morning wildlife. Perfect for a single -- or a familiar two! Amenities include queen sized bed, full shower and deep bath tub, thick towels, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker.


All participants should be in good physical condition and capable of coping with a combination of horseback riding and hiking for a minimum of 6 hours each day.

Riding Level: It is strongly recommended that you are at least a strong beginner. (A "strong beginner" is someone who is comfortable controlling the horse at a walk or trot, is not particularly nervous around the animals and is ambitious to learn more). We are unable to accommodate complete beginners unfortunately!  So if you wish to visit us and have never ridden before, please take some riding lesson at home locally to get a small foundation to work with before you arrive to the ranch! If you have a husband or wife who has never ridden but would like to join you, have them do the same or else they are also able to book as a non-rider at a discounted rate!

Please Note: The maximum weight is 240 lbs. Children under 12 can ride at the ranch only, not out on the trails. For you own protection we recommend to wear protective helmets, but it is not mandatory. Five unlimited riding days total!

The Horses: During your visit they will provide you with the opportunity to ride some of the finest western trail horses available.  Depending on your individual riding skill level, horses will be selected for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders.  Many of the horses can easily accommodate all levels of riders. They "know" what your skill level is and will adjust accordingly. At they ranch, they prefer quarter horse and quarter horse type horses, agile with quiet confidence. You'll find all horses in excellent condition, athletic, tough and willing, each one having their own distinct personality. Regardless of how well you ride, they believe they have a horse for YOU and the staff will make every effort to create the perfect "fit".  And speaking of "fit", if your saddle is uncomfortable or you don't like your assigned horse, please - tell them!  They are happy to make changes.  If you happen to be shopping for a new horse, this is the perfect opportunity to try several of our horses that may be for sale.  Many of their horses are now living in England, Germany, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, California, Texas, Illinois, Vermont, Colorado, Arkansas, Texas and New Hampshire!

If only 1 rider signs up... there is an extra surcharge for the trip!


Led by Mark Rinsler or Alan Eggleston (or another qualified guide), you'll travel by horseback from ranch headquarters to the base of the Pinos Altos Mountain Range. Avid horsemen, our guides are as passionate about their animals as the day is long. When not in the saddle exploring new trails, they hike the canyons and valleys of the Gila Region to find hidden Native American sites. With a degree in cultural anthropology and a Masters in Journalism, Mark is relentless in his desire to learn about the history of the Old West, the world of Nature in the Southwest and Native American Culture in the Gila Wilderness region. Alan is an expert horseman and riding instructor, and has been the owner of the ranch since 1997. Living happily with his wife Debbie, they are living out their dream of sharing the Best of the West with like-minded horse lovers and curious international travelers.

They will show you some of the most stunning wilderness vistas imaginable! Or, share his exploration of ancient Native American village sites located along Bear Creek. Your horse will be steady and sure-footed, willing to carry you there and beyond.

Gila Wilderness Expeditions uses horses which are seasoned and safe in the mountains and rocky, rugged terrain of southwestern New Mexico and the Gila National Forest Region. Covering several diverse ecological zones, the wildlife and vegetation are abundant. Because of the isolation and the lack of human presence, including roads and motorized vehicles, the terrain traversed during the Gila Nature Expedition truly is a wilderness. As a result, almost all of the animals of the Upland Desert and Southern Rocky Mountains can be found here and can be seen most any time. Included are Javelina, Mule Deer, Black Bear, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Bighorn Sheep, and Coyote. Close-up sightings of the elusive and rare Coati are not uncommon.

Environmentally aware of the importance of this natural resource and in our own efforts to preserve the pristine beauty of this land, Gila Wilderness Nature Rides specialize in "leave no trace" exploration and insist all adventurers responsibly bring out what they pack in. For those desiring to surround themselves with the beauty of this rugged landscape, the Gila Wilderness Nature Ride will take you on gentle, seasoned horses through rugged, pristine canyons and mountains lying within the magnificent Bear Creek and Greenwood Canyon drainage systems, and along the western edge of the legendary Gila Wilderness in southwest New Mexico. Consisting of several relaxing loop journeys, travel back in time through 30 million years on land that eventually became one of the early pioneer ranches established near the end of the Apache Wars in 1886. You will have an exclusive opportunity to explore areas accessible by invitation only, isolated and remote. This area is now known as the Double E Ranch. You will begin your journey each morning from Ranch Headquarters and return each evening to the comfort of your cozy, rustic cabin and a hearty home cooked meal..

**Subject to change

Rates and Dates for Gila Wilderness Expedition

Rates include:

6 nights accommodations, three home-cooked meals daily (with water, coffee, tea, juice, milk), 5 riding days (unlimited hours of exciting horseback trails with nature guide), complimentary laundry room, taxes.

Packages and Options

Transfer and Other Options:

2012 Transfer from Silver City at 6:30 PM, Drop off 6:30 PM $75
2012 Transfer El Paso - Silver City pp (min of 2) - each way
- to be paid locally
2012 Transfer El Paso - Silver City 1 only - each way
- to be paid locally

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Airport transfers, private riding lessons, mounted shooting instruction, alcohol is BYOB

Other Info
Meeting: Ranch in Gila NM
Airport: Silver City
Transfer: Silver City


Four gentle seasons best describe the climatic conditions in the Gila National Forest, Gila Wilderness areas. The latitude, as well as the 5,000 - 7,000 foot elevation permits maximum enjoyment of the region during any season. Whether winter or summer, daytime temperatures are generally pleasant for hiking or horseback riding, and range from the high 80's in summer to mid-40's in winter. The area enjoys an average of 345 days of glorious sunshine and clear blue skies annually.

During this customized Gila Nature Expedition, you will have the opportunity to explore three primary plant communities and habitats:
The Riparian zone of Bear Creek, is characterized by magnificent, lush old growth cottonwoods and sycamores, ash, walnut, willow, gray oak and hackberry.
The Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts reach into the Gila, contributing to the dominant upland desert plant zone found over the plateaus, hills and lower mountains, and is characterized by juniper, pinion, scrub oak, yucca, agaves, mesquite, and prickly pear and cholla cactus. The majestic Rocky Mountains terminate in the Gila Forest, as do the Sierra Madre Mountains which stretch north from Old Mexico. The lower Greenwood Canyon drainage is an isolated high mountain valley and upper slope transitional zone characterized by ponderosa pine, Douglas Fir, giant manzanita and Gamble's Oak.
Bird, animal and insect life is abundant and varied and presents a constantly changing cast of characters and activities depending on the time of year. The area is truly a Birder's Paradise, providing sanctuary for Golden Eagles, Rufous Hummingbirds, Great Blue Herons, Greater Roadrunners, Summer Tanagers, Cardinals to name but a few. 

Because of the isolation and the lack of human presence, including roads and motorized vehicles, the terrain traversed during the Nature Expedition truly is a wilderness. As a result, almost all of the animals of the Upland Desert and Southern Rocky Mountains can be found here and can be seen most any time. Included are Javelina, Mule Deer, Black Bear, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Bighorn Sheep, and Coyote. Close-up sightings of the elusive and rare Coatimundi are not uncommon. As you might expect, most of the reptiles typical of the Upland Desert are here, too — lizards of all sizes, rattlesnakes, bull snakes, and horned toads. For those interested in insects, the insects of the Gila region are remarkable! Butterflies, beetles, scorpions and the primal-looking vinagaroon are all present.

The geology of the Gila consists primarily of a complex and diverse assemblage of Tertiary volcanic tuffs, flows and intruesives which date between 20 and 35 million years old. One New Mexico geologist once observed that it is "complex to the point of perplexity". Agate, crystalline quartz, obsidian, fluorite, zeolites, geodes and other collectible rock and mineral specimens occur in abundance over the land surface and along the river bottoms. During the time of volcanism, vast quantities of igneous material were deposited in the Gila Wilderness area. The extent and magnitude of these eruptions is difficult to comprehend, but nearly 2,500 square miles were subject to these cataclysmic events.


What To Bring:  


This list is only a guideline for you


Travel documents and Voucher

Flight tickets


Visa (check with your consulate)



Jeans (we recommend "Wranglers" because they don't have the double sewn, inside leg seam, reducing skin chafing).

Bicycle Shorts - yep! they are great for preventing chaffing and you can even get them with a "bum pad"!

Chinks or Chaps (if you have them)

Riding Boots (if you have them already - don't bring NEW ones!)

Long Sleeved Shirts and  short sleeved T-Shirts

Riding helmet  (recommended for all trips)

Riding gloves and Neck Scarf

Hat with Stampede Strings - very important!

Rain Slicker (July/August, November/December)

Medium Weight Jacket (Fall/Winter Only)

Heavy Riding Coat  or Oilskin Coat (Winter Only)



Jacket or sweater for cool evenings

Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts



Underwear and socks


Bag for dirty clothes

Tennis Shoes or Hiking Boots/Shoes



Personal Toiletries

Insect protection

Personal medications

Sore cream (for the emergency)

Sewing kit


Camera; Binoculars

Sun glasses with strap

Sun block

Canteen (if you have one) - we provide you with water bottles

Small Flashlight - for the walk back to your cabin after dinner


  • Personal Items:  tooth paste and tooth brush, face soap, shaving items, skin lotion, and shampoo/conditioner - alarm clock, if you need one.  We provide hair dryers, towels and other bedding.  There are no TV's or radios in the bunk houses.  Books; board games.