About the Area

Wild ... Beautiful ... Undiscovered

Straddling the border, Greenlee County, Arizona, and Hidalgo County, New Mexico, are blessed with some of the wildest and most ruggedly beautiful land in the Southwest. The twin counties are traversed by the Gila River, the Southwest’s longest river and the reason why this area was the site of extensive settlement by the Hohokam and Mogollon peoples.

In the mid-1540s Francisco Vasquez de Coronado may have crossed the area in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola. The Butterfield stage line passed through in the mid-1800s, touching off a quarter century of conflict with the Apache Indians.

Lordsburg (population 2500) was founded in 1880 when the Southern Pacific reached the area on its way east in a quest to complete the second transcontinental railroad. Duncan (population 600) dodged certain death at least twice: in the 1970s, when Interstate 10 was opened about 30 miles to the south, and in 1978, when the Gila River burst its dikes and hit the town with a nine-foot wave of water.

Today Duncan and Lordsburg remain true Western towns, primarily dependent on ranching and mining and remarkably free of the runaway development that plagues so much of the Southwest. Here real adventure is still possible, following lightly-traveled mountain roads and trails to important natural, cultural and historic sites unknown to all but a handful of visitors.

Greenlee County Supervisor Richard Lunt: "It's what small-town America is all about, and that's why I love this place!"
Gila River cliffs
Dramatic canyon cut by the Gila River

What to Do in Duncan and Lordsburg

For the Birds

Explore one of the most biologically diverse "underbirded" areas in the Southwest.

Duncan birding trail MORE

Get Out of Town

Hike, bike or bushwhack your way to an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

San Francisco River MORE

Rock Out

Rockhound in an area famous for fire agates. Guided trips available.

Rockhound Area MORE

Where to Stay in Duncan

Where to Eat in Duncan