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On Walkabout At: Mogollon, New Mexico

Any trip to hike the Catwalk Trail should be accompanied with a drive to the old mining ghost town of Mogollon located in a steep valley in New Mexico’s Gila Mountains:


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Visiting the ghost town was interesting, but what ended up being the most impressive part of the visit my wife and I took to Mogollon was actually the drive.  New Mexico Highway 159 twists and turns into the higher elevations of the Gila Mountains which provides plenty of ample views of the surrounding country side:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

At one point the highway crosses over this mesa before once again climbing higher up into the mountains again:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Up in these higher elevations these rugged mountains are thickly forested:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here is view of the mesa we drove across earlier in the drive on the lower left:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

On the higher peaks some snow could be seen:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Eventually the remains of the Little Fannie Mine that led to the birth of Mogollon comes into view on the far side of Silver Creek Canyon:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here is a brief history of the Mogollon Mine from Ghosttowns.com:

Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mogollon, 1914

The mining camp at Mogollon was started during the 1890s in the bottom of Silver Creek Canyon. Several mines of some note were started with the one named Little Fanny gaining the reputation that is the history of the town itself. The presence of miner’s consumption was so severe it was not uncommon for miners working the Little Fanny to last only three years or less. The ghastly toll of men working in the mine forced the owners to develop the method of spraying water under pressure from the jack-hammers in breaking the quartz for removal from the mine. As the dust was reduced, so was the patient load for the town’s three doctors. The population of the town at the time Little Fanny was being developed was about 2,000 and that was in 1909. By 1915, the mine’s payroll each month was between $50,000 and $75,000 with the mine’s gold and silver bullion being shipped to Silver City by mule team. During World War I, trucks took over hauling the ore to Silver City but the end was in sight. As time progressed, the assay value of the ore began to drop to the point it was no longer profitable to continue operations. When the Little Fanny closed down, so did Mogollon. Submitted by Henry Chenoweth. [Ghosttown.com]

From this viewpoint the road then snakes down to the bottom of Silver Creek Canyon where Mogollon is located.  Along the way a number of restored buildings such as this cabin can be seen:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Eventually the road reaches the bottom of the canyon and makes a sharp turn into Mogollon.  We parked in the center of town and began to walk around:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Mogollon has a number of original old structures but there are also a number of newer structures over the years that have been constructed as homes for the few locals who live here year round:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Some of the structures have been fixed up to be used as businesses while a number of other structures have not been restored but are still in pretty decent shape:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Besides historic buildings there are also the rusted out remains of a few historic cars as well:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here was a shaft in a solid rock cliff that I think may have been an ammunition magazine to store explosives used in the mine:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here is the Mogollon Theater that appeared to no longer be in use:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here is a nice fixed up building used as a home:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here is a few more homes that shows that Mogollon is not exactly the ghost town it is marketed as being considering the number of people who still live here:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here is a few fixed up buildings that are being used as businesses:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here is the view looking towards the main business district of Mogollon where the steep road first enters into the village:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

I walked down to this area of town and saw that these buildings had also been refurbished into a museum and local businesses:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

However, none of these businesses were open and I am assuming they are likely only summer time businesses since the colder months wouldn’t attract many tourists to make their businesses worth while:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Regardless it was nice to wander through this area of town and imagine what this place must have been like over a 100 years ago:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

Here is the view looking straight up the street up towards the center of town where we parked:

Picture from Mogollon, New Mexico

All in all my wife and I were able to hike the Catwalk in the morning, have lunch, and then visit Mogollon in the afternoon.  It ended up being a pretty long day, but we had a lot of fun exploring this little corner of New Mexico and learning about its historic mining past.  Mogollon probably would have been more interesting to visit in the summer months when its various shops and museum was open, but even in the colder months it is still interesting to walk around town and appreciate the old architecture and imagine what life must have been like here all those years ago.  However, as far as New Mexico ghost towns go I still have to say that Shakespeare outside of Lordsburg is still my favorite, but Mogollon is definitely worth a visit in conjunction with a hike up the Catwalk.

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