Spring Cave

Round Trip Distance: 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 7588 - 7903 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: South Fork
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike, cave

The Spring Cave trail is located in the White River National Forest east of Meeker, Colorado. Beginning near the South Fork Campground the trail crosses the South Fork of the White River where it climbs the mountain on the west side of the canyon, gaining a little over 300 in elevation with the aid of several switchbacks, until it reaches the mouth of the cave.

To get to the trailhead from Meeker drive east on Highway 13 for 1 mile and turn right onto County Road 8. Continue for another 18 miles and turn right onto County Road 10.

Follow CR #10 for a couple of miles paying attention to the signs for the South Fork Campground as it makes a sharp right hand turn before coming to the sign in this photo where it is another 10 miles to the campground. The road is well maintained and suitable for all types of vehicles. If you enter the South Fork Campground into your driving app have it save the directions for offline use as you will not have a cellphone signal for much of the drive.

The campground has 18 non-reservable sites that are mostly suited for tents and small RVs. Most of the land leading to the campground along CR #10 is private property so if you don't find a site available at the campground you might have to drive all the way back out to CR #8 and search else where. We actually parked our trailer off of CR #8 on the hill east of Lake Avery (Big Beaver Reservoir), where there are quite a few sites that can accommodate RVs of all sizes, and drove to the South Fork trailhead from there.

Start out by following the South Fork trail for a couple hundred feet to a kiosk and the beginning of the Spring Cave trail.

Spring Cave is only open from April 16 to August 14 although the trail leading up to the cave is always open. To enter the cave you must register online and follow decontamination procedures. Besides for educational purposes the idea of preregistering appears to be to allow only group per day into the cave.

From the kiosk the trail crosses a nice bridge to the west side of the river.

If you haven't had a good work out for the day you will be able to get a good start on it while hiking up to the cave.

Another kiosk comes up a little before the cave at the point where the Cliff Lakes trail branches off on the right.The 2.5 mile long Cliff Lakes trail continues climbing all the way up on the Flat Tops to the Cliff Lakes area and the trailhead by the same name.

We hadn't preregistered so we never entered the cave. From what we have read the cave was carved by an underground river. Inside the route passes through several large rooms before it reaches the river. The river has been known to reach all the up to the mouth of the cave.

There are nice views from the mouth of the cave looking up the South Fork Valley. From this photo you can get an idea of how much climbing the trail did from the trailhead way down there in the bottom.

We haven't done any caving that requires technical gear and have mostly stuck to touristy places like Carlsbad in New Mexico, Colossal Cave in Tucson, Arizona and Glenwood Caverns in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
We got the impression that the first few hundred meters of Spring Cave doesn't require any special gear other than lighting and maybe a helmet. Whether you go inside the cave or not we can recommend the hike up to the entrance, at least for the view, and if you do get to go inside is sounds like it should be pretty interesting. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.