#hike26 - Santa Fe National Forest

Hike 26.jpg

Date: August 4, 2018

Location: Santa Fe National Forest - Cowles, NM

Distance:  5 miles

Trails: USFS Trail #288 - Cave Creek Trail


We took off Friday night to New Mexico to go hiking and camping for the weekend.  We arrived to the National Forest about 7am local time, found that our original campground was closed and moved on looking for somewhere new to go.  We found an out-of-the-way campsite at Panchuela Campground, set up, and took a nap.  About noon we set off on USFS Trail #288 (Cave Creek Trail) without a destination or any expectations.

The mountain views were amazing, the smell of pine so fresh, and the temperature quite tolerable.  In passing, some people told us about caves and I pulled up All Trails (which had downloaded the trails near me when I had service) and found that at about 2.5 miles there were some caves to explore.  The pictures don't do the caves justice, but here they are.


After feeling accomplished, and basking in the cool cave air and shade, we started the trek back, which didn't seem quite as laborious as the trek in.  My favorite thing about trails is seeing them from the other side.  Everything looked familiar, but different.

This is the second year we've ran away to New Mexico for a quick trip, and I think we'll do it again next year.  A longer trip would be nice, but we'll see.


  • I will always drive 10 hours to hike somewhere without NOISE.  I am thankful for trails in DFW metro, but hot damn this quiet/nature was a treat.
  • Give yourself plenty of time if you're not used to hiking at high altitude...there's no rush.
  • Wear a hat, bring water, apply sunblock, and apply bug repellent. (This stuff is great)
It was so dry and crispy, it felt like fall at some points along the trail.