Nancy and Tom went on this hike. I could not due to being under the weather. Following are their impressions…
Tom and I hiked with Tom’s dog Daisy on the Cave Creek trail (288) to the Skyline trail (251) which is 3.8 miles according to the map. I walked a little ways up 251 and saw many downed trees and it was extremely difficult to find and follow the trail. The wildflowers on the Cave Creek trail were abundant. Tom has the stats on how long it took us and what our elevation was.
It was a busy Saturday at the 288 trail head at Panchuela Campground, almost every parking spot was taken but Nancy and I were able to find one of the last spots. It turned out that the majority of the cars belonged to campers. Be aware that it costs $2.00 to park unless you have a geezer pass which we did.Trail 288 starts out by meandering through the campground before you encounter a nice bridge over Panchuela Creek. The creek was running full and we were thankful that we did not have to ford the creek. The trail keeps an easy grade as it runs along the creek. We saw a number of blue iris which are starting to show signs of age. Red columbine and dark purple Shooting Stars were my favorites. The forest was a mix of aspen, firs and pine. There are a few meadows but you are in the trees for the most part. The first trail intersection is at mile 0.8 where the Dockweler trail takes off to the right. The intersection is well marked with a sign. In about 20 minutes the trail crosses Panchela Creek. Logs made the crossing easy. From here the trail follows Cave Creek. There are several steep sections but the trail overall has a comfortable grade. Cave Creek has a number of deep pools. Cave Creek is named for a large cave where part of the stream flows into the cave into the depths of the mountain. I visited the cave many years ago but we were not able to locate it on this Saturday. A backpacker coming down the trail metioned that he was not able to find it. Caltopo and my garmin map didn’t show it but I’m pretty sure the USGS topo does. Should have had the coordinates, next time. We reached the skyline trail 251 intersection and decided to have lunch. Nancy ventured up the trail to Horsethief Meadow for a little ways before confirming reports of excessive downfall. We decided to turn around and head back to the trail head. Our starting elevation was about 8600 feet while we are at about 9800 feet at our lunch site. Our hike lasted 5 1/2 hours and we hiked about 7.6 miles, a leisurely walk in the woods on a beautiful day. Pecos Canyon receives a lot of attention on the weekends during the summer months. Consider visiting the area during the week to avoid the crowds.
This report compiled by SK Lund