casitas de gila guesthouses bed and breakfast new mexico 575-535-4455

Southwestern Guesthouses on 265 Acres
near Silver City, New Mexico
overlooking Bear Creek and the Gila Wilderness

astronomy southwest new mexico



The webpage does not do justice to this place: you are on the edge of the Gila Wilderness, the largest wilderness area in the country. At night the stars come out and my husband and I sat outside beside the blazing chimenea (earthenware portable fireplace) and just looked up ... for three hours. Then we sat in the jacuzzi for another two, just looking up. If the skies had not clouded we never would have gone to sleep. There is a photograph on the Casita's web page of the Milky Way behind the gate ... it is not an artist's rendering, this is just what it looks like-only it fills your vision. The daytime views are almost as stunning, and if you are a hiker then you will never want to leave. The casitas are well appointed, with full kitchens and all the comforts you would want in your own cabin.
— Trip Advisor Review by Guests from Albuquerque

Casitas de Gila captures New Mexico’s beauty – the desert, bright yellow Cottonwoods in Bear Creek (where I’ve watched Javelinas and Bighorn Sheep), and the rugged mountains of the Gila Wilderness. When the sun sets, the mountains turn purple – but my favorite is Turtle Rock on the hills behind the Casitas which glows a brilliant orange. Every sundown I relax and enjoy this beauty to the aroma of Juniper wood burning in chimeneas. The accommodations are great, and Michael and Becky (the hosts) take the time to explain the surrounding nature and local lore, and make their guests 100% comfortable. We’ve become friends – as with their horses Yaqui and Saino (though bringing them carrots might have something to do with that). Later this month will be my 10th visit since 2006, and with each visit I relax and ease the stress from corporate life (as the sign says, “Entering Stress-Free Zone”). Oh, and if you ever thought you’ve seen the stars – come here and look again! Highly recommended!
— Review by Guests from Massachusetts

Excellent! Saw 7 wild Big Horn Sheep. 10" scope enabled seeing "Saturn". Panned for gold in Bear Creek on premises. No luck! First class accommodations.
— Review

Phenomenal! My family had a great vacation here. The casitas are beautiful. The property is outstanding. The hiking trails are great. The stars at night are spectacular. Michael gave an astronomy lesson just to my family. I have never seen the rings of Saturn before. I cannot say enough about the Casitas. We would recommend the Casitas to anyone who needs a getaway from city (and suburbia) life.
— Review by Guests from New Jersey

Fabulous New Mexico Retreat! ... In the evening, watch the sunset and the stars rise, as you have never seen before. Each Casita comes with a [spotting scope] so you can stargaze … and believe me if the sky is clear you simply will do this as stars are visible here as you have never seen them before. Thank you Becky and Michael for creating such a wonderful place to escape to. We loved our stay and look forward to coming back again.
— Review by Guests from Canada

Check out Michael's
Gila Nature Blog!
Dark Sky Astronomy and Stargazing …

At Casitas de Gila Guesthouses, night sky and astronomy enthusiasts will find:

Secluded, dark, light-pollution-free, clear skies.

dark skies new mexicoSituated 30 miles from Silver City, on the edge of the Gila Wilderness, Casitas de Gila Guesthouses are able to offer some of the darkest skies remaining in the continental United States. (Have a look at the Light Pollution Map for our location and see for yourself!) As a guest at the Casitas you will be awed by the Milky Way, mesmerized by the Moon, thrilled by the Planets, and humbled by the unbelievable number of Stars which soar above your Casita almost every night of the year.

Have you ever seen the Andromeda Galaxy or the Great Nebula in Orion or the Beehive Star Cluster with your naked eye? At the Casitas you can see these and more. Without question the darkness and clarity of the Casita nighttime sky is a special treat that, unfortunately, is all too rare today. For some of our older guests, it’s a view of the heavens that hasn’t been seen since childhood. For our younger guests, it’s a view they may be seeing for the first time and will remember forever.

new mexico dark skiesStar charts and spotting scope.

Each Casita has a tripod-mounted 18-36 power spotting scope which can be used at night to get a closer look at the heavens. Star clusters, the moons of Jupiter, and the craters of the Old Man in the Moon himself are easily viewable and readily enjoyed from right in front of your Casita.

Forgotten your constellations? The easy-to-use the star charts in your Casita will quickly refresh your memory. Should you have questions about the skies, Michael will be pleased to try and answer them.

Set-up sites and power available for guests who wish to bring their own equipment.

stargazing new mexicoGuests who have their own astronomy equipment and are looking for dark skies with comfortable lodging in interesting surroundings will enjoy a stay at Casitas de Gila Guesthouses. We have found, too, that non-astronomy-oriented partners are particularly happy at Casitas de Gila because of the variety of relaxing activities and interesting places to visit nearby.

We have a dedicated astronomy area, a bit away from the Casitas so that there's no light interference. There are 5 concrete pads available for the use of our guests, with electric power running to each of them. Our astronomy site is also equipped with Wifi. Many of our guests who bring their own equipment and are interested in astrophotography have been very pleased, both with the set up as well as with the quality of astronomical photography that can be done here.

new mexico dark skiesThe best and most dependable months for good viewing are late September thru May. Winter months are excellent, with some spectacular celestial objects available. Temperatures will drop well below freezing after midnight in the winter, so come prepared with warm clothing. There's Wifi at our astronomy site, allowing you to monitor your equipment from your casita if you are set up that way.

The monsoon rains that occur between June and early September make for often cloudy Summer skies with less dependable viewing.

We have a 12" diameter x 42" high concrete pier available.
Here are the particulars:

    astronomy pier available new mexicodarkest skies in the USPier adapters for your Astro-Physics 1200 or Losmandy (G8 or G11) EQmounts.

    AC outlets on pier and at 2 adjacent locations.

    DC outlets on pier: 2 separate sets of jacks; each set has a cigarette style jack and four 2.1mm x 5.0mm DC jacks.

    Cables are provided to remotely connect your power supply(s) to the pier's DC outlets.

    Flattened and leveled 12' x 15' area for stargazing adjacent to pier.

    Please note that this pier was built by two of our guests who visit the Casitas three or four times a year. It is available for others to use when they are not here and using it themselves. We have 5 concrete pads available for the use of our guests who bring their own equipment. There is power available to each pad, and there's Wifi available at our dedicated astronomy site.

    We recommend that during the day you use a reflective cover over your equipment, to protect against dust and the heat of the sun.

astronomy sites in new mexico

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Here's how the skies over Casitas de Gila are looking for the next three days:

The Clear Dark Sky website will tell you how to read this chart.

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New Mexico Tourism link

Deneen Pottery link

Guesthouses • Art Gallery • Nature Preserve


Michael & Becky O'Connor, Owners
50 Casita Flats Rd • PO Box 325
Gila, New Mexico 88038

©2023 Casitas de Gila, Inc. • Updated JANUARY 2023

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