Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, the Gila National Forest is home to incredible views of the arid wilderness, desert wildlife, and a unique opportunity to see ancient rock art. The Dragonfly Trail, which is also located in the forest, is also renowned for its breathtaking scenery. However, the area is perhaps most known for the petroglyphs etched into the rocks approximately two miles from the trailhead.
The petroglyphs located in this area are largely credited to the Mimbres, Mogollon people. The primary “Dragonfly” petroglyph is estimated to be around 1,000 years old and is consumed by local lore. The petroglyph depicts a unique feature of Mimbres art which incorporates loops and arcs into many of the animal depictions.
Luckily, the site is well preserved and protected by local archeological societies and has not seen much damage over its lifetime.
Know Before You Go
The site is located in the open Chihuahuan Desert. Traversing the Dragonfly Trail is roughly a three-mile round trip, so proceed with caution. Take plenty of water and protective clothing for the trip. The desert is cold in the mornings and extremely hot during the day.
The site is a short trail hike from highway 180 in Silver City, New Mexico, and is within Gila National Forest. At the trailhead, there is ample parking and amenities accessible to hikers, off-road bikes, and equestrian riders.
The Dragonfly Trailhead is located three miles east of Silver City on the north side of US Highway 180.