Packsaddle Cave Trail

HARD 103 reviews
#2 of 66 trails in

Packsaddle Cave Trail is a 5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Springville, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and trail running and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,706 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

trail running

walking

cave

forest

river

views

wildlife

over grown

Hike begins about 16 miles north of Kernville on Mtn. 99. Just north of the Fairview Campground. Trail climbs 3 miles to the cave. Bring a flashlight to explore the cave to see the remaining stalactites and stalagmites . Trail gains elevation fairly constantly with a 900 ft gain to cross the ridge/saddle. Along this incline you can see deer brush. manzanita, live oak, digger pine and sagebrush. Trail dips down to the creek - crossing it about three times. Cave has stalactites and stalagmites - bring flashlight.

7 days ago

Hard trail straight up the first mile or so... when you get by the creek it is gorgeous. You kinda loose the trail a little with down trees and depending on how much water is in the creek. The cave is small but awesome. We were the only group on the trail. Their is a lot of poison ivy along the trail. And the trail is narrow.

21 days ago

15 yrs ago, at the age of 53, hiked to this cave with my son. We came in off a trail from Sherman Pass Rd where we parked on a dirt road near Brush Crk. The July hike was moderately easy with 3 passes to go over, and we had our camel packs to keep us hydrated. Seems to me that the trail shown on your map is more strenuous than the trail we took. Saw tracks from mountain lions and wild turkeys. Of course the cave was awesome and well worth the journey.

hiking
1 month ago

It’s a glute buster to start, but pretty amazing to change through so many biomes. A head lamp will help for cave exploration and definitely fill your camel pack full of ice because it gets warm!!!!

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing trail. We camped across the street the night before. Started at 630 a.m. The hike up to the top of the main ridge was steep but was in shade the whole way up. The trees and creek were a nice change of scenery. There was a camping spot before the final push up to the cave. It was 100 degrees that day and the trek down was hell. Bring something to replace your electrolytes if you're hiking in the heat. We went through a ton of water. The Kern River offers a nice way to cool off when you're done.

hiking
2 months ago

Thus trail is a little strenuous but very impressive. Some steep open hot sections and some creek side shady sections. Scenery very impressive. Easy to get to. .

2 months ago

This cave was awesome! one of the coolest things I have seen on a hike.

hiking
2 months ago

I came across this trail when I saw the cave marked on a map. I definitely had to take this as an opportunity to see the cave! It was worth the trek but be sure to leave early in the morning because it gets hot and there’s not a whole lot of shade. The views are great throughout and when you get by the creek you can really soak up your bandana to keep cool. I took my dog on this trail and he loved it. Be sure to bring lots of water- i drank nearly 3 liters the whole way! Coconut water was a nice thing to carry.

hiking
3 months ago

Bring lots of water. Flashlight is a must. Walking back is way better than walking there!!

hiking
3 months ago

Wowzers! This was extremely difficult for me... the elevation changes really made it even harder, but the constant inclines & declines were killer. Yes, the 1st part is the steepest but it never gets easier... just down to go back up to go back down several times. Absolutely no shade for over half the trail. The creeks were a nice reprieve - we took hand towels & soaked them in the water (likely the only thing that kept us out of medical danger). We had lots of water, but still not enough - we ran out half way back on the return... Don't forget that steep 1st incline is also an incredibly steep decline at the end... this was causing alot of pain on our toes & feet. The cave is definitely neat, but it's a long trek out. There is a geocache there too... If you think you have enough water, get more... double it!

4 months ago

1st bit probably the most challenging. The cave experience was quite rewarding. I would say the trail is a must if you are in the area. Bring a flashlight and water.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this hike back in February. It started to snow a bit once we got to the cave but no snow at all on the path.
As mentioned before, the initial climb is steep on goes on for a while. However, I would still rate this hike as moderate, since I feel like I did harder ones that were rated as moderate in this area. It takes a while to get to the actual caves, the hike itself felt like more than 5 miles to me. The caves are quite big and I'd recommend this trail especially for the winter/early spring and late fall time when everything else around this area is snowed in and you're still looking for a somewhat challenging hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Wonderful hike, went there with my friend today.

The initial climb is challenging, but it plateaus out a bit, crosses a creek three times, and the cave is on the left.

Very cool to see the Native American cave paintings.

A wonderful hike with incredible views. We shared the trail with a mountain lion today, be careful. Also, be prepared for quite the uphill trek.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike, ~1.75 hours there, 1 back

hiking
5 months ago

This was our first hike, and ay yi yi. I wouldn't choose it for your first, but it is definitely doable. It's pretty much a straight climb for the first mile, at least. It was fun, once we got past the initial climb. You cross a creek probably three times, its pretty. I wouldn't suggest doing this once it gets warm, you're super exposed to the elements, with zero shade. I will say, if you dont read all the reviews before you hike, you will more than likely miss the cave (like the hikers that were about 30 min behind us). Signs are knocked down, pointing in the wrong direction, but the best advise, stay to the left, lol. There are piles of rocks on rocks, stay to the left, or go left if there is a fork. Once you reach "the cave" sign, look up to your left, and behind you some...you will see the cave; it's about .25 miles from that left turn around the large rock. Take a flashlight the cave is big, and dark. It's a fun hike, but strenuous if you're not in shape. It took us 2 and a half hours, there and back. Have fun, happy hiking.

hiking
5 months ago

If you reach the Rincon trail head, turn back you’ve gone too far. There’s a sharp left that is marked by white rocks that is easy to go past. The pack saddle 2.25 mike trail head is in the wrong place, so don’t follow it. Other than, very cool hike. Bring good flashlights.

hiking
6 months ago

Views were nice and the trail was well groomed. Tired cave with good examples of formations on the inside. Allot bigger than I thought it would be. As far as a moderate rating, I must need to get in better shape, between moderate and difficult.

hiking
6 months ago

My brother and I hiked this trail to the cave yesterday leaving around 1pm and arriving back to our car around 3:30pm. There is quite a decent incline in the beginning and because of this as well as some of the trail having a few obstacles (mainly downed trees) I'd say this trail is more on the hard side if I were to compare it to other hard-rated trails on AllTrails. The cave was really cool but bring a high powered flashlight to enjoy it fully. All we had were the flashlights on our iPhones which were ok but not great.

8 months ago

First off, please keep in mind that there are TICKS IN THE TREES that will drop on you. I pulled one off my dog during the hike and just found one on my rib. Other than that, the trail itself is absolutely gorgeous, and the cave is a wonder to behold. The stalagmites are still forming and all the formations are truly incredible. My dogs had no problem on the trail, though they are in great shape. Once you reach the end of the trail, you'll notice the sign fell down and someone had dragged it further down the trail, but we put it back where it belongs. You'll want to go to the left to get up to the cave.

hiking
8 months ago

Trailhead is unmarked. You will need to go to what looks like a fire road directly across from the fairview campground parking. Trail is straight up and you will need to keep an eye out for markings when you get to the end showing you to the cave. It is not clearly marked and cairns or rock arrows as indicated in pictures have been changed or moved.

8 months ago

The hike was great and the weather in December was perfect. The cave was more than I expected, I was very surprised to see it was a real cave and not an old mining claim.
It's a busy trail and it was tough on my dog, due to the leash requirement, you probably shouldn't tell your dog where you're going.

hiking
9 months ago

The hike is almost a constant climb in elevation until halfway or so then it goes down just to climb up again to the cave. We didn’t quite make it to the cave due to timing and daylight ending soon. Overall it would have taken approximately 5-6 hours round trip so plan accordingly.

10 months ago

Excellent out and back hike. The first half of the way to the cave is uphill and has no shade. We found it strenuous even on an overcast day in November, so if you're trying it in the summer bring lots of water. The cave is very cool. Make sure to bring a light or download a flashlight app because it goes back far enough to get REALLY dark.

hiking
10 months ago

AMAZING cave. I’m only giving it a 4 due to the multitude of gnats when crossing the creek. We went in mid-October and there wasn’t much shade but the weather was great. Our 2 dogs had a blast. It is steep at first but eventually lets off. The cave is something that you normally pay admission for. Bring a headlamp and a camera/phone that can try to do it justice. Would do again.

hiking
Thursday, September 14, 2017

This trail was difficult especially during the summer months. We ran out of water on the way up to the cave 48 ounces each so make sure you bring plenty of water or a filter. We brought headlamps to explore.

hiking
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My group would rate this hike as strenuous - especially in the 100 degree heat. The trail has virtually no shade and gains elevation quickly. The cave is a welcome respite from the heat, and you can use the creek water to refill your supply if you have a filter. I'd recommend this hike in a cooler season. Watch out for the poison oak!

hiking
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Good trail but your mostly in the sun. Lots of uphill but the cave was amazing and made the hike worth it! Its deep so make sure to bring a flashlight!June 10, 2017

hiking
Saturday, June 17, 2017

This was honestly a hard hike for me but I did just hiking trails so it may just be me. The beginning of the hike was the hardest and the the path was overgrown and full of bugs after the creek. I turned around there. Wish I saw the caves but running into poison ivy was the end of my hike for the day. Good luck

Monday, June 12, 2017

this trail is awesome took my kids and loved it.

hiking
Monday, June 05, 2017

Love this little cave and the great workout getting there gives. Pretty steep incline if you aren't used to hiking, so pack enough water and snacks.

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