A Snowy Hike to Horsethief Falls

Horsethief Falls in the snow. I gather in the spring and early summer there is more water going over the falls. Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

Horsethief Falls in the snow. I gather in the spring and early summer there is more water going over the falls.

While we’re on the topic of waterfalls, I thought I’d post about another little waterfall, this one in central Colorado.  Although Horsethief Falls isn’t the most spectacular falls in the country, it’s a great little hike (2.6 miles RT) if you’re in the area visiting Florissant Fossil Beds, Raspberry Mountain, or the Manitau Railroad Grade.

 


 

The stream below Horsethief Falls, Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

The stream below the falls

I got to hike the trail in the snow after a September storm debilitated Rocky Mountain National Park, and forced me further south.  I don’t necessarily recommend it in the snow (y’know, slipping and slidingin sneakers and hanging on to saplings and all that).  But with the less-than-a-foot of snow surrounding the waterfall, it really was cool!

Snow around the stream near Horsethief Falls, Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

Snow around the stream

The parking area is next to the (closed) Little Ike Railroad Tunnel.  Three trails begin from the same trailhead, so make sure you get the one for Horsethief Falls.

Horsethief Falls in the snow, Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

Horsethief Falls

For the first 0.8 miles, the trail ascends fairly steeply (a problem with snow; normally it wouldn’t be that bad).  The trail then flattens out a bit; stay straight rather than turning left to cross the creek.  At a second trail junction, there should be a sign for the falls or Pancake Rocks.  Continue left another half mile to Horsethief Falls.

 

Gotta love all those icicles! Near Horsethief Falls, Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

Gotta love all those icicles!

Overall: Not worth driving a good ways out of your way for, but certainly a pleasant hike if you’re in the area.

Horsethief Falls, Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

Horsethief Falls

Round Trip Length: 2.6 miles

Highest Elevation: 11,080 ft.

Lowest Elevation: 10,425 ft.

Net Elevation Gain: 655 ft.

Fees: None

Looking downstream from Horsethief Falls, Pike National Forest, near Divide, Colorado

Looking downstream from Horsethief Falls

Trail ★★☆☆☆

Road ★★☆☆☆

Signs ★☆☆☆☆

Scenery ★★★★★

Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this? ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Snowy stream near Horsethief Falls, Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

Snowy stream

 

Getting to Horsethief Falls

From Divide, CO, turn south on Highway 67.  After 9 miles, a parking area will appear just after the closed railroad tunnel.

 

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Flash Flood Warning

Issued:
6:50 PM MDT on July 22, 2017
Expires:
8:45 PM MDT on July 22, 2017

Areal Flood Advisory

Issued:
6:05 PM MDT on July 22, 2017
Expires:
8:00 PM MDT on July 22, 2017
Partly Cloudy

Saturday

Sat Jul 22

20%

Partly Cloudy
Clouds early, some clearing late. Lows overnight in the low 50s.

Partly Cloudy

Sunday

Sun Jul 23

20%

Partly Cloudy
Sunny early then increasing cloudiness later in the day. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 69F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.

Mostly Cloudy

Monday

Mon Jul 24

20%

Mostly Cloudy
A mix of clouds and sun early, then becoming cloudy later in the day. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 74F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.

Chance of a Thunderstorm

Tuesday

Tue Jul 25

50%

Chance of a Thunderstorm
Partial cloudiness early, with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 73F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

Chance of a Thunderstorm

Wednesday

Wed Jul 26

60%

Chance of a Thunderstorm
Variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms. High 68F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

 


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