Cave Creek

Pecos, New Mexico 87552

Cave Creek

Cave Creek Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The Santa Fe National Forest, the second-oldest national forest in the United States, was created by President Harrison in 1892 as the Pecos River Forest Reserve. Part of the forest was protected as the 223,000-acre Pecos Wilderness in 1933. The wilderness contains over 150 miles of streams, many alpine lakes, and several glacier- sculpted peaks over 13,000 feet high.

Start the hike by walking from the wilderness parking area into Panchuela Campground. The trail (288) leads out of the center of the camping area by crossing Panchuela Creek to the north, or right, bank. The trail follows rushing Panchuela Creek upstream for about 1.5 miles. At times the trail lies next to the creek; at others it climbs 50 or 100 feet above. A short distance upstream from the picnic area, Trail 259 forks off to the right and climbs out of Panchuela Creek."

More Cave Creek Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Linda Regnier and Hope Di Paulo
"This hike takes you to an intersection with Trail 251. A set of caves along picturesque Cave Creek is its unique feature. It is appropriate as a family hike, especially if the caves are the turn-around point. This trail receives heavy use by hikers and horses. The large, old Douglas-firs along the trail are impressive, as are the wildflowers such as wild iris, bluebell, wild geranium, and shooting star, seen in early summer."

Cave Creek Trip Reports

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This was an easy hike. We only went to the first set of caves at 2.3 miles in. The trailhead was not really marked to say Cave Creek, but no biggie. There were plenty of trail markers along the way. The trail was very developed and free of debris. It took us almost 3 hours for the out and back to the first set of caves with plenty of break and a slow pace. The first cave is where the water runs through it.
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This trail is very easy and follows a very pretty creek most of the way. The scenery is gorgeous and lush with a wide variety of wildflowers along the trail to look at.
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A great trail along a stream. You have to cross this stream to get to the caves. Once there, you can go inside the cave.

Cave Creek Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
600 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3 hours
Late May into early November
8,350 feet
Trailhead Elevation
8,950 feet
Top Elevation
Additional Use
Santa Fe National Forest, PO Drawer 429, Pecos, NM 87552; (505) 757-6121;
Local Contacts
Pecos Wilderness; Santa Fe National Forest; Cowles 7.5-minute USGS quad
Local Maps

Trail Log