If you’re in the Glenwood, NM area, you’d be barking mad not to visit the Catwalk Trail, an amazing feat of human engineering that showcases the stunning natural beauty of the Gila National Forest. The metal catwalk is set into the boulder walls of Whitewater Canyon, and replaces the original wooden plank walkway that was historically used to bring water to mining operations in the area. A word of caution, though -- the holes in the surface of the catwalk might be a little too big for truly tiny paws!
The hike can easily be done in under an hour, but if you want to explore more of this fabulous desert forest, you and your buddy can camp at the Cosmic Campground 25 minutes up Hwy 180, or check out the pup-friendly lodgings that nearby Silver City has to offer. There are also plenty of opportunities for dispersed camping! The Catwalk Trail is moderately trafficked -- you and your pooch won’t have the place to yourselves, but you’re unlikely to have to deal with crowds.
Walking the Catwalk Trail can feel like you’re intruding on a secret wonderland. The walkway runs above the beautiful Whitewater Creek, and the miniature falls and calm pools can seem wonderous when compared to the desert environment that otherwise completely surrounds you. When you arrive at the steps at the end of the catwalk, you can descend and check out some more hidden ponds and swimming holes, many of which your pup is free to have a splash about in! If you two are interested in exploring further, you can continue from the catwalk on to more rugged, difficult trails that run into the Gila Wilderness. Be sure to look up a map if you’re planning to investigate them!
Apart from the paw issue, the Catwalk Trail is highly accessible. Aside from the steps and side trails, the route is almost completely flat, so this hike is doable for everyone from the fittest furry friends to the most committed couch pup-tatoes! Keep an eye on the weather -- the Gila National Forest is very prone to flash flooding in July and August, and parts of the catwalk have actually been washed away by seasonal deluges, so be sure of the forecast before you go! In terms of amenities, you’ll find restrooms at the trailhead, but remember to bring waste bags and water with you.