Silver City, NM

Adventure Rating

Silver City, New Mexico, beckons van lifers with a tapestry of outdoor adventures. From hiking in the Gila National Forest to fishing in the Gila River, mountain biking rugged trails, and camping in pristine nature, the options are diverse. Additionally, boondocking offers the ultimate freedom. The town of Silver City complements these outdoor pursuits with a vibrant arts and culture scene, making it a well-rounded destination for van life enthusiasts.

Silver City, New Mexico, is a hidden gem for van lifers, offering a wide range of adventures in the rugged landscapes of the Southwest.


The Gila National Forest, which surrounds Silver City, is a hiker’s paradise. Van lifers can explore the iconic Gila Wilderness, home to the famous Gila Cliff Dwellings. Trails vary from easy walks along the West Fork Gila River to challenging backcountry routes through rugged canyons. The Continental Divide Trail also passes through the area, providing endless hiking opportunities.


Silver City is a hub for anglers. The nearby Gila River is renowned for its diverse fish species, including trout, bass, and catfish. The Bill Evans Lake State Park, a short drive away, is a fantastic spot for both bank and boat fishing. Don’t forget to check local regulations and licensing requirements.

Mountain Biking

The rugged terrain surrounding Silver City is perfect for mountain biking. The Gila National Forest features numerous trails suitable for all skill levels, from the beginner-friendly Little Walnut Trail to more advanced options like the Signal Peak Trail. The Big Ditch and Boston Hill trails within Silver City itself offer great riding experiences.


Van lifers will find excellent camping opportunities. The Gila National Forest provides several campgrounds with basic amenities, including Little Walnut Campground. If you prefer a more remote experience, explore primitive camping options deep within the forest. The proximity to nature is truly unique.


For the ultimate sense of freedom, boondocking is an option in the Gila National Forest. You can find dispersed camping areas where you can park your van, surrounded by the wilderness. Be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and check for any specific restrictions.

Town Information

Silver City itself is a charming, historic town with a vibrant arts and culture scene. Van lifers can explore art galleries, enjoy local cuisine, and participate in community events. The town hosts the Silver City Blues Festival and the Tour of the Gila, a renowned bike race. Supplies, amenities, and a friendly community make Silver City an ideal base for your adventures.

In Silver City, New Mexico, van lifers can embark on hiking and biking journeys in the beautiful Gila National Forest, enjoy exceptional fishing, find campgrounds with serene natural surroundings, and experience the unique freedom of boondocking. The town’s artistic flair and community events add an extra layer of charm to this adventure-filled destination in the American Southwest.

It’s a privilege to have Silver City for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.

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Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area

Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area is a good stopover for any van lifer traveling down/up the I-5 FWY. It’s located approximately 25 miles southwest of Bakersfield and 5 miles from the I-5 freeway. The recreational area is comprised of two lakes; Lake Evans and the much larger Lake Webb. The main activity is fishing and camping. There’s also a shooting range right next to the recreational area too.

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River Rafting


Kernville is the capital of adventure in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges. It’s located in Kern County and 42 miles northeast of Bakersfield. If you are interested in kayaking, hiking, camping, mountain biking, photography, and much more, Kernville is the place for you. But the number one activity in the area river rafting.

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