On Google Maps, the hours for Gila National Forest are posted as 08:00-16:00, M-F. However this doesn't seem right, for a few different reasons. It's a pretty big area to keep closed on the weekends, is a tourist area, includes at least one village, includes a Purple Onion that's supposed to be open on the weekends, etc. So this is probably just the business / welcome center hours.

I tried calling, after looking them up at USDA Forest Service and there was a prerecorded message saying the same for their business hours. Again there was no information about general entry/exit hours though. I tried another number, and somebody picked up, but I couldn't get a good answer to this. That Purple Onion mentioned above closes at 17:00 (according to Google Maps), so that makes me a little more hesitant to believe all parts of the park are always fully open. (She did say roads in the forest get closed in colder months.)

What are the real hours for Gila?

In particular, I'm interested in seeing Mogollon.

  • 5
    I think the reason you can't find opening hours is that there aren't any. As far as I'm aware, the land is open 24/7 and it's only closed when conditions are dangerous (winter storms or when there's extreme fire risk in summer). Not posting this as an answer as I can't provide more than weak circumstantial evidence that it's actually true (e.g., the fact that National Forests are huge and have public roads passing through them). Nov 26, 2016 at 16:38
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    And the hours on the recording are for the Forest Service offices.
    – Giorgio
    Nov 26, 2016 at 16:40
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    @pnuts Exactly. I was concerned about them using a few gates or so to start closing off roads at night. Nov 26, 2016 at 16:50
  • 4
    The Gila National Forest ist not merely a park, but one of the largest national forests in the US, covering an area of about 11,000 km². How do you expect to close such a thing with 'a few gates'? Nov 26, 2016 at 20:29
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    A couple of years ago I encountered one of the national parks outside it's "open" hours. The stations that collect fees were closed but I could drive through anyway. AFIAK this is perfectly legal if you weren't required to pay a fee on entry (already paid, or you have an annual/senior/disabled pass) but you're not supposed to do it if you would have to pay. Nov 27, 2016 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


According to Google (sidebar):


Saturday    Closed  
Sunday      Closed  
Monday     8am–4pm  
Tuesday    8am–4pm  
Wednesday  8am–4pm  
Thursday   8am–4pm  
Friday     8am–4pm  

But you might want to email: [email protected] as at least for The Little Walnut-Gomez Peak picnic grounds hours vary according to weather conditions in winter and also daylight at times: generally open from 8:00 a.m. until sunset during spring, summer and fall.

On the other hand, Lonely Planet shows The Purple Onion's opening hours as: 9am-5pm Fri-Sun May-Oct so the above 'office hours' cannot apply to the park as a whole:

Mogollon, a semi-ghost town, lies 4 miles north of Glenwood and then 9 miles east on steep and narrow Hwy 159 (inaccessible during the winter). Once an important mining town, it’s now rather deserted and empty, inhabited by only a few antique-like shops and, as is typical for middle-of-nowhere New Mexico, one proud little restaurant. This one is called the Purple Onion and it claims to serve the best burger in New Mexico. We’re not sure if it’s the best, but it’s pretty darn good, as are most of the homemade dishes at this friendly, weekend-only place.

Hence by deduction from the absence of any other 'opening times', apart from weather, it is open all hours. The Purple Onion's customers must access it somehow.

Note: If you go into Mogollon, it would be wise to try to come or go at at a time when the weather/roads are dry and it is broad daylight. The road back down the mountain is one lane at times, sharing the same lane between both directions of traffic, and it will be like that around sharp 180 degree curves around the mountain with almost no visibility ahead.

  • 1
    I went up there a few months ago, after asking this question, and stayed in Mogollon until dusk before trying to hurry up and leave, but in general, I would recommend people trying to leave that town and get back down the mountain while it's broad daylight. That's a dangerous road, a lot worse than a lot of the roads on Ski Mountain over by Gatlinburg. Feb 6, 2017 at 13:45

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