Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeGila Airstrips

Gila Airstrips

The "Gila" is a vast expanse of over 3.3 million acres of forested hills, mountains and range land in central western New Mexico.  The terrain rises from 6500 desert lowlands to 10,895 ft Whitewater Baldy. Flora encompasses desert grasslands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, one of world's the largest and healthiest stands of ponderosa pine, and aspen and spruce-fir forest above 9000 ft.  The Gila is the home of predators such as bobcat, cougars and the reintroduced Mexican Wolf. Deer, pronghorn, and elk  flourish here.  The dreaded Gila Monster is rarely encountered.

Cool summers and moderate winters give rise to an extended recreational flying season.  Access to a collection of maintained USFS backcountry and paved airstrips with comfortably long and level runways create a flying paradise.

NMPA volunteers who love the backcountry and aren't afraid of hard work are helping to preserve historic airstrips in the region including Beaverhead, Jewett Mesa, MeOwn,Negrito, Rainy Mesa and Sacaton.  The paved Reserve airport serves as a base for NMPA's annual Gila Regional Fly In. Participants typically camp at either Reserve or Negrito while others take advantage of Catron County motels, restaurants, mogas, supplies, and ice cream.

Best described by the USFS Reserve District Ranger, John Pierson, "the Gila is a treasure".  John welcomes aviation access to enjoy this remote and beautiful region of the state.  He notes the unique ability for aviation volunteers to help support these remote airstrips and facilities.

Installing windsocks, clearing rocks, repairing and installing fence, and blocking old roads are some of the projects completed to date.  A vault toilet was installed at Negrito in 2019, thanks to many years of increasing airstrip utilization, establishing credibility, and NMPA member donations. 

NMPA in partnership with the USFS and the Recreational Aviation Foundation maintains a list of priority projects for expanding recreational opportunities in the Gila.  
Rainy Mesa
 was returned to operational status in 2020 and Sacaton in 2023.

For a map, photos, and details of the Gila airstrips, download this excerpt from our annual presentation at Oshkosh.  Gila Airstrips Overview

For individual airstrip info:  
Beaverhead (13NM)  Double Circle (Z66) Glenwood (E94)  Me-Own (1NM0)  Negrito (0NM7)  Jewett Mesa (13Q)   Reserve (T16)   Rainy Mesa(NM54)  Sacaton (NM16)            

Safety Briefings for these and others:       Airstrip Safety Briefings     

For detailed maps, runway data, relative hazard indices, approach and landing patterns, contact information, weather, photos and videos see also:  Airfield.Guide

Gila Airstrips Slideshow

"need permission" above means call the USFS dispatcher first  at 800-538-1644.  Unless the airstrip is threatened by a fire or is currently an active fire-base, you will likely be given permission.


Google Maps Page
Click the icon in the upper left on the map below for a list of airstrips.

Click the icon in the upper right to go full screen on the map.

Click on the airstrip markers on the map to generate a popup window with links to the airstrip's safety briefing and the RAF page.
If you want to change the background to satellite view, click the upper right icon, then select a new background below the list of airstrips.