Gila Catwalk Trail Restoration

NV5, as a subcontractor to the design-build team of AUI, Inc. and Bohannan Huston, Inc. (BHI), performed the environmental permitting (EPA 401/404), geotechnical investigation & design, and materials testing for the Gila Catwalk Trail reconstruction project. The design-build project was awarded in August of 2015, design was completed around Christmas 2015, construction began the second week of January 2016 and was complete by Memorial Day 2016.

Located in a remote slot canyon, the Catwalk Trail was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and designated a National Recreation Trail in 1978. In 2012, the Whitewater/Baldy Fire burned over 290,000 acres near the Catwalk Trail. In 2013, record rainfall flooded Whitewater Canyon, destroying the historic Catwalk.

The reconstruction project included design and building of three bridges; 700 feet of cantilevered, rock-bolt-supported, catwalk in the overhanging, narrow, slot canyon; stabilization of an oversteepend slope made up of altered rock and soil; and trail improvements employing gabion baskets. The project also included trail restoration, creek & structures cleanup, erosion control, historical & archeological preservation, and parking lot rehab. Tourism in the area has been rejuvenated dramatically, and the project has received international attention.

NV5 Environmental Geoengineering from NV5 on Vimeo.


Gila National Forest, NM


BHI, Inc. and AUI, Inc.


Key Facts

EPA 401/404


  • Best of Show, Best Buildings Awards, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) – New Mexico, 2017
  • Best Federal & Heavy, Best Buildings Awards, AGC – New Mexico, 2017
  • Best Design-Build Civil, Alliant Build America Awards, AGC, 2017
  • Best Design Build Small Project (under $10M), Best of the Best Awards, Engineering News-Record, 2017
  • Special Projects – Recreational Facilities, Engineering Excellence Awards, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) – New Mexico, 2017