New Mexico 152 – Into Silver City, NM

Our route joins NM Rte. 152 in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. Sure, there’s the (very) small town of Hillsboro, but beyond that, there’s almost nothing else for miles. From here, Rte. 152 cuts west, through the southern end of the Gila National Forest. Dozens of curves await you.

NM Rte. 27 ends at the town of Hillsboro, and Rte. 152. Make a left and head west on 152, towards Silver City.

Percha Creek Bridge, New Mexico

One place worth stopping, if for no other reason than to stretch your legs, is the Percha Creek Bridge, another old structure preserved by the historically-conscious state road department.

End of the road at Percha Creek Bridge

The old bridge is beside, and just below, the new one. You can walk across and take in the impressive walls of the surrounding canyon.

View from Emory Pass, Gila Mountains, Route 152

A few miles beyond the Percha Creek Bridge, the road finally top out at 8,166-foot Emory Pass. There’s an official viewpoint here, and a couple of unofficial turn-outs, that allow you to take in the vast wilderness of the Gila Range. (Yes, that’s the road you just drove up.)

Gila Mountains Viewpoint at Emory Pass

At this elevation, you’re high enough to see over the nearest mountain, and the mountain behind that, and so on, until the haze simply won’t allow you to see any further.

Curvy road along Route 152, New Mexico

On the way downhill, the road curves through another impressive canyon.  By this time, though, it was too dark to get a good picture.

As you continue west, NM Rte. 152 eventually straightens out, then runs into US Rte. 180.  Shortly before you reach the intersection, there’s a sight at the side of the road you simply can’t miss:

Chino Mine, Phelps Dodge open pit copper mine, near Silver City New Mexico

This huge open-pit copper mine is known as the Chino Mine, and is operated by the Phelps Dodge company.  Because the sun had already set, I couldn’t get a great picture of the operation.  It’s also difficult, since the pit is so huge, one photo can’t capture it all–unless of course you look at it from space.  There’s another Phelps Dodge mine of similar proportions, about 15 miles south of Silver City.

Sunset outside Silver City New Mexico

Once again, I was witnessing a great sunset, but could find no appropriate place to take a picture of it.  So, I took this shot, only to prove the sky was indeed spectacular.

Note: This trip was first published in 2006.

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