14 Dec Hiking Trails Horsethief Park Trails
Hiking Trails Horsethief Park Trails
Pike National Forest
From Colorado Springs, take Hwy 24, through Woodland Park, to Divide. Turn south on Hwy 67. Drive 8 Miles near mile marker 61 until you see a closed railroad tunnel on the left hand side of the road. The trail head is on the south side of the tunnel. The trail head is not marked and parking is free.
Attractions and Considerations:
Foot and horse trail. Motorized vehicles are prohibited. In the fall, be careful during hunting season. Wear bright clothing so that you won’t look like deer or elk. Hunters: this area is quite congested by hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders. Although I have seen a llama (with its owners), I have not seen any deer or elk on these trails.
The Horsethief Park Trails first mile is a rigorous uphill hike through a thick and dense fur and spruce forest with a dense carpet of moss on the ground. In the winter, this trail can get iced over since it is on north side of a steep hill. Going up the trail you will hear the creek in the gorge below. A little further you will notice a barbed-wire fence and then two trails that go off to on a left fork.
To take Horsethief Park trail #704, cross the creek and head north. From there the hike is nice and leisurely up the meadow. This is the old Horsethief Park. To the right of this trail, notice dams that have been built by beaver. Also along this trail there are many ruins of old log shacks. In the fall, this trail provides views of spectacular mountain peaks like Sentinel Point and rolling hills covered with turning aspen. The trail continues past the meadow into private land. I have heard from some people that this trail also offers one route to the top of Sentinel Point.
If you continue about a quarter of a mile from the right fork on the main trail heading east past the barbwire fence, you will encounter a sign that points to the Pancake Rocks to the south and the falls to the east. Taking the Pancake Rocks trail to the south leads up a very steep hill with five switchbacks. At the top of the hill, one can see the town of Gilette below with the fork in Hwy 67 as it splits straight to Victor and west to Cripple Creek. To the right, off of the trail a bit, one can see a small rock formation where one rock sits on top of another. This rock formation has been nicknamed the “Silver Dollar Pancake” since many people reach the top of the hill, take a look at breath taking views towards the west and south of the Sangre De Christo Mountains and turn around. The trail goes downhill through an aspen meadow and then back up to the next hill. The trail culminates at an interesting rock formation known as “Pancake Rocks” just about a mile further.
Heading towards the east along the falls trail, the loop trail cuts through the woods and across the creek then north along the steep base of Sentinel Peak. This trail eventually meets up with the Horsethief park #704 trail. However this trail is slowly disappearing from lack of use, so it might be difficult to follow.
If you stay on the south side of the creek, you will reach a beautiful 125 foot cascade of several little water falls (the map does not reflect this). This is a really nice summer time hike since it is covered in trees and nice and cool. We had a little picnic on the north side of the creek on some of the large granite boulders there. We even had two birds come out of the woods and beg for food from us. Reminder: Do not feed the wildlife and take out all of your trash.
Beginning Elevation: Hwy 67 at Railroad Tunnel 9,700 ft.
Peak Elevation: 10,560 ft.
End Elevation: Pancake Rocks 11,000 ft.
Maps: Pike National Forest K-7
Quad Maps: Pikes Peak 16,15
Bring extra water due to the high elevations (Bring at least 64 oz/2liters per person).
Temperatures are about 15 degrees cooler than Colorado Springs. Afternoon thunderstorms are common throughout the summer.
Camping is permitted along the trail. Campfire permits are not required, but please be sure your campfire is dead out before you leave. Pack it in/Pack it out rule applies.
Drinking water is not available. Hikers are advised to carry an adequate supply. Water from streams should be treated before use.