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.
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.