This gateway trail into the Gila high country snakes 4.9 miles through fir, pine, and aspen groves climbing 1,280 feet over a moderate grade and a couple of steep pitches. Located about half-way between Albuquerque and Phoenix, the Gila Crest Trail traces the highest part of the Gila National Forest and is extremely popular in the fall when the aspens turn golden yellow. This trail preview stops at Hummingbird Saddle but this spot is also a good jump off point to to climb 10,110-foot Mogollon Baldy or to explore nearby Redstone Park.
Most backpackers overnight at Hummingbird Saddle below 10,896-foot Whitewater Baldy. But, for a more secluded campsite, choose the other inviting saddle located about 3.2 miles from the trailhead. If you choose this alternative campsite, plan accordingly: the closest reliable water sources are at Bead Spring, 1.6 miles to the north, or south of Hummingbird Saddle, nearly 2 miles away.
- Mapped by Bill Velasquez