We stayed at Rose Valley RV Ranch in Silver City. We really liked this very rustic park at 5900′ elevation as well as the surrounding area near Silver City. We were located near the back in site #61 so we had wide open views of the surrounding mountains and trails behind us. There was a historic cemetery next door where Billy the Kid’s mother is buried.
The historic downtown area of Silver City has a lot of history and was a bit more upscale than what we found in Elephant Butte or Truth or Consequences. Western New Mexico University has a big campus here and no doubt contributes to helping the town thrive. The town has a artistic and eclectic vibe with lots of art workshops with over 20 galleries, boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, etc. We really enjoyed strolling these historic streets, seeing the sites, and sampling all the espresso shops!
Silver City is known as the Gateway to the Continental Divide Trail and has many different trail heads right thru the heart of the town. Just off the main street was the Silver City Museum which is in a beautifully restored 1881 3-story home of town pioneers. As with most of the small and ghost towns in NM, many Apache tribes roamed freely in the area until the silver boom in 1800’s saw a huge amount of miners arriving. The Apache would attack and kill the miners. The army sent soldiers and set up forts to help protect the miners and settlers. Billy The Kid, as a boy along with his family, were among the settlers trying to find their fortune. Butch Cassidy and his ‘Wild Bunch’ also visited the area saloons often. Fort Bayard was built close by in 1866 near the Apache Trail and equipped the famous Army “Buffalo Soldiers”. Later the fort was converted into a tuberculosis hospital. Also, it has one of NM national cemeteries with headstones so old they had only name and infantry division.
In Silver City they have the Mimbres River flowing in a large cavern running thru the heart of town. Apparently, as the town was thriving with the silver boom the surrounding mountains were stripped of lumber to build all the saloons, stores, bank, courthouse, homes, churches, etc. When the rainy season came in 1895 there was no vegetation left to hold back the flood waters. A great wall of water rushed thru the middle of town, down Main Street, leaving a lot of destruction and a 55 foot ditch. The town still has the original high sidewalks created from the frequent flooding, the ditch grew bigger over time with more floods, and the loss of Main Street became known as ‘The Big Ditch’. It is now a revitalized trail with parks and picnic areas.
When driving into the area there is no missing a massive working mine, the Chino Copper Mine east of Silver City. Spanish arrived in early 1800 and created the oldest active mine in the southwest today, the Chino Mine. The Spanish had to abandon the mines because of Apache attacks but it was later reopened in the late 1800’s. When we were trying to get a glimpse of the mine from the road, the mine is so massive that the giant sized earth movers and transport trucks looked like ants in the distance! Another landmark above the mine is a rock formation called the ‘Kneeling Nun’. It is said that the rock was actually once a nun in love with a Spanish soldier and turned to stone as she knelt to pray.
A day trip along the ‘Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway’ was so beautiful and historic. The Catwalk National Recreation Trail is by far one of the coolest hiking trails we have experienced. It is deep into the Gila National Forest and in the very remote Whitewater Canyon. This is a fascinating and beautiful old mining canyon and mill site. Today, it is a metal catwalk clinging to the side of the narrow canyon 20′ above the roaring creek. It replaces the original wooden bridges and metal pipes used to supply water to the nearby towns and its electric generators. Some of the original 18″ pipes help support some of the current catwalk. We could even see some of the original spikes, etc. used to hold the pipes and mining equipment. Even though the rangers posted notices of bear and cougars in the area we still had to explore it. The Whitewater Creek was roaring so loud below us on the catwalk we had to yell to talk. From there we drove over 1000′ above the canyon thru the Mogollon mountains. This was another exciting adventure because of the narrow, barely one lane, and very steep twisting road with a sheer drop off on one side! The views were amazing! We saw the remains of the Old Fannie Mine with the tailings dropping over the cliff. As we cleared the peak of the mountain we dropped into the ghost town of Mogollon. This was supposed to have been one of the wildest mining towns because of its location and Butch Cassidy’s gang was hold up here to avoid the law. It is mostly privately owned homes and businesses now with entrances onto old mines and remnants of the mining days scattered everywhere. So fascinating! The town opens to tourism May – October with a lodge, restaurant, shops, etc. so we missed being able to walk thru and explore. Maybe next time!
Because of cold weather with rain and snow, we only were able to explore a small portion of the area. We really enjoyed Silver City and are anxious to go back and explore a lot more and hopefully hike some of the Continental Divide Trail!
Location: Rose Valley RV Ranch, Silver City, NM
Site Quality: Gravel roads and pads with a combination of pull through and back in sites. We were in site #61, one of the back in spots at the back of the park which left us with good views of open land as well as the sunsets in the evening..
Access: From NM-180 on the east side of Silver City go south on Memory lane to the park entrance. There is a sign above the driveway but it is at least 14′ clearance.
Staff: The check-in staff member was very helpful and friendly. I got the impression she may have been the property owner.
Amenities: Full hookups, dump station, exercise room, dog run, a shower and restroom facility, laundry room.
Cellular/WiFi: AT&T and Verizon 3-4 bars without amplification. Data rates were decent on both Verizon and AT&T at about 5 Mbps using MiFi devices. Verizon phone speeds were much higher. WiFi was available but we did not use it.
What we liked: More rustic than a resort setting, better views of the surrounding area. Backed up to rolling hills. Good southern view from our site. Privacy offered between sites with wood fences.
What we didn’t like: Rainy (and snowy) weather along with the previously mentioned privacy limited the ability to meet our neighbors.