The slight dip in temperature makes Silver City the perfect option for a quick getaway. From nature and art to good eats and rowdy nightlife, local Jennifer C. Olson shows us how to spend an ideal day in this funky and fun village.
Written by Jennifer C. Olson Photos by Mitchell Clinton
Perk Up, Slow Down
Leave Las Cruces before daybreak and arrive in Silver City just as it wakes up. Embrace the slower pace of life in this remote and peaceful community with a leisurely breakfast. If you’ve brought the whole family or are day-tripping with several friends, make Adobe Springs Café (1617 Silver Heights Blvd.) your first stop. This is the locals’ go-to breakfast spot, serving up classic American breakfasts and a hearty breakfast burrito smothered in red or green.
For lighter fare, hit The Jumping Cactus coffee shop and bakery (503 N. Bullard St., 575-654-7367). Pair an Americano with a homemade, seasonal scone or a gluten-free muffin and relax with the friendly regulars—or even with owners Brooke and Ray Cressler—on the front porch of this downtown gem.
Fresh Air and Foot Trails
Silver City is typically a few degrees cooler than Las Cruces this time of year, and temps are lower still in the mountains where shade and higher altitudes combine for an extra-refreshing jolt of fresh air.
Of the endless hiking options in the 3.3 million acres of the Gila National Forest (fs.usda.gov/gila), one of the most rewarding day hikes is found just at the edge of Silver City. The Gomez Peak summit hike utilizes the Little Walnut Trail System, which boasts loads of well-marked and well-groomed singletrack. From town, drive six miles north on Little Walnut Road, following signs for Little Walnut Picnic and Day-Use Areas. Start your hike at the large trailhead parking lot on the road’s left-hand side. Walk through the green gate south of the parking lot and follow Piñon Loop Trail #711 to the junction with Angel Loop Trail #717, which you’ll trace around the mountain’s eastern side. Next, go left on the steep and rugged 1-mile offshoot to the summit (Gomez Peak Trail #71). Use the 360-degree views at the top to get your bearings; you’ll see the expansive wilderness to the north and Silver City to the south.
If you prefer exploring on two wheels, start at the same trailhead and bike an almost-entirely singletrack route to nearby Bear Mountain. The Silver City Ranger District (575-388-8201) can assist with questions.
After getting your nature fix, head back downtown and spend the rest of the day exploring the colorful streets and shops, beginning with the growing Silver City Arts and Cultural District (silvercitytourism.org/acd)
Stop in at the refined Seedboat Center For The Arts (214 W. Yankie St.) and the funky Blue Dome Gallery (307 N. Texas St). Browse one-of-a-kind weavings at the fascinating Wild West Weaving (211 N. Texas St. Suite D,) and, if you have the time and interest, take a workshop with owner Hosana Eilert, a hand weaver and natural dye expert.
Lunch Like a Local
When all your breakfast fuel has burned off, grab a sandwich (on freshly baked bread) and cookie (also freshly baked) from Diane’s Bakery & Deli (510
N. Bullard St., Suite A) in The Hub Plaza. Continue down 6th Street to Big Ditch Park, a creek-side oasis tucked behind downtown’s main drag, to split your sub at a picnic table.
You could also indulge in an alfresco lunch and cold drinks at the Curious Kumquat (111 East College Ave.). Shaded by a large elm tree, the laid-back courtyard patio is an ideal summertime setting—not to mention a prime people-watching spot.
Continue your exploration at Leyba & Ingalls Arts (315 Bullard St.), which exhibits larger-than-life paintings by Diana Ingalls Leyba, provocative clay pieces by Zoe Wolfe, and intricate wood-cut prints by Phillip Parotti, among other Southwest-inspired works from Silver City’s creative types.
Stop by Soul River Studio & Gallery (400 N. Bullard St., 707-490-4367) in one of Silver City’s most pristine historic buildings. Best described as a combination gallery and gift shop, this eclectic emporium has been open for less than a year, but is already a favorite because of its carefully curated inventory. Owner Carole Czujko sources from local and regional artists, striving for a direct connection with each.
Steak and Suds
If you’re still up for a drive, head up to Pinos Altos—a historic mining town seven miles north of Silver City on NM Highway 15—for dinner and drinks at the Buckhorn Saloon (32 Main St. in Pinos Altos). The Old West atmosphere is unbeatable. Most nights, you can catch live music in the bar, so bumper out some time to tip one back before or after a steak in the dining room (reservations recommended). Don’t leave without asking the staff for a tour of the Opera House next door.
Hop back downtown to dance and drink at Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery (200 N. Bullard St.,), which hosts a band every Friday and Saturday night. Locals like to get down, especially at this bar, so be ready to groove with the music. Just leave behind your self-consciousness—anything goes on the Toad’s dance floor.
Once Silver City has captured your heart, you won’t want to leave. Get a room at Bear Mountain Lodge (2251 Cottage San Rd.), an art gallery and bed and breakfast in one. Just a ten-minute drive from town, it sits on 178 acres bordering the Gila National Forest. The historic lodge includes 11 guest rooms, comfortable common areas, a bountiful library, and a dining room open for breakfast and dinner. Artwork and sculpture are displayed indoors and on the grounds. Before heading back to the heat, start your morning off by taking advantage of the property’s 3.7 miles of marked trails.
For more info on these and other fun ways to while away a day in Silver City visit silvercitytourism.org