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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