Panchuela campground is nestled at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness with Panchuela Creek running along the eastern side of the campground. At a little over 8,300 feet in the Santa Fe National Forest, visitors to the campground escape from the warmer temperatures of the city and enjoy the moderate temperatures of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. There are 6 units on the campground and are within walking distance of the parking lot. Panchuela campground usually opens in mid-May through mid-November. With the nearby wilderness, the sites make the perfect base camp for those looking to take day hikes into the wilderness.
With the nearby Panchuela Trailhead, there is easy access to the Pecos Wilderness where visitors can hike the expansive trail system of the wilderness. Panchuela is also a few minutes drive from the Winsor Creek and Winsor Ridge Trailhead, all providing scenic views of the surrounding mountains. Fishing is popular with nearby Cowles Fishing Pond and the wild and scenic Pecos River. There are excellent fishing spots all along Panchuela Creek and the Pecos River, within minutes of the campground.
There are a total of six campsites at Panchuela. Three units have three-sided shelters with a fire place and picnic table. All sites have fire rings or fire ring grill combos with bare ground for tent camping. Bathrooms and trash bins are located at the parking lot and there is a host on site. Hand pumped water spigots are also located in the parking area and are a two minute walk from the farthest campsite. All of the sites have ample shade and visitors often enjoy relaxing in their hammock with plenty of trees to choose from. Four sites are situated on the banks of Panchuela Creek, close enough to hear the soothing sounds of the water.
The campsites are surrounded by views of the mountains and the gorgeous shades of green from the mixed conifer and aspen. In the fall, the mountains gleam a glorious gold as the aspen leaves begin to change color. A variety of wildlife are seen in the surrounding forests including deer, elk, various species of songbirds and raptors, and the occasional black bear. Not far from the campground in an open meadow, campers can see the charming rustic cabins that forest service volunteers and employees stay in when working in the wilderness.
There are numerous State Park fishing areas along the Pecos River. Pecos National Historic Park is 50 minutes away and is the home of prehistoric archeological ruins, 19th century ranches and a battlefield from the American Civil War. There are other nearby campsites with similar scenery to Panchuela available on a first come first serve basis. They are Cowles campground, and Holy Ghost campground.