Sunset on the Rio Grande
Southwestern New Mexico is a sparsely populated, rugged part of the American West that isn't often visited by tourists. Yet it has some of the best preserved ancient cliff dwellings, impressive mountain vistas, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and opportunities galore to view wildlife and get away from it all.
Bear Mountain Lodge
In southwestern New Mexico you'll find a charming eco-bed and breakfast, Bear Mountain Lodge. Near the historic mining town of Silver City, the cozy desert lodge has eleven comfortable rooms, private baths, balcony views, handcrafted Southwestern-style furniture and tasty home-cooked meals.
Bear Mountain Lodge sits on 178 acres of desert, with mountain views, adjacent to the spectacular (and lightly visited) Gila National Forest. The building is a renovated 1920s hacienda, and it is owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy. Guests can enjoy the area's nature preserves and four miles of trails, take advantage of naturalist-guided hikes and classes, view some of the 300 bird species that call the region home and make excursions to colorful Silver City and surrounding natural places.
The staff at Bear Mountain Lodge are committed to going green. The charming furniture is made locally, out of pine produced from forest-thinning projects. In the winter the fireplaces are heated with the same local wood. The lodge is serious about recycling and composting. Used linens are donated to charity, while laundry is line dried as much as possible. The lodge uses biodegradable cleaning products and paper products made from recycled materials. The lights are fluorescents.
After a long day of exploring, visitors to Bear Mountain clean up with natural honey oatmeal soap and Aveda shampoo. The lodge also sells natural, locally made sunscreen and lip balm. The showerheads are low-flow to save water. And travelers enjoy the kitchen's hearty local organic foods and fair trade coffee.
Bear Mountain Lodge is a great place to enjoy New Mexico's beautiful mountain scenery. The b&b cultivates a friendly atmosphere among staff and visitors, and is permeated with peace and quiet. There's even chances to observe deer and other wildlife from the outdoor porches. If you're lucky you might see some burrowing owls, which are showing a comeback in the region thanks to protections.
Gila Cliff Dwellings
In the vicinity are the Gila Cliff Dwellings, maintained by the National Park Service. The 700-year-old lodgings are surprisingly well preserved, and offer a fascinating look into the mysterious lives of the Mogollon people. Were they forced to abandon their elaborate structures because of climate change?
There are still ghost towns, abandoned mines and other remnants of our past in much of the American Southwest.
Wind power has been used to pump water in the desert for generations...
Wind Turbines in West Texas
...and now wind can be used to power our homes and cities. Wind farms like this one now stretch across much of western Texas.