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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Snow

Sunday

Sun Sep 24

50%

Snow
Mix of rain and snow showers. Lows overnight in the mid 30s.

Snow

Monday

Mon Sep 25

90%

Snow
Rain and snow in the morning with thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 44F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%.

Partly Cloudy

Tuesday

Tue Sep 26

20%

Partly Cloudy
Partly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 52F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.

Mostly Cloudy

Wednesday

Wed Sep 27

20%

Mostly Cloudy
A mix of clouds and sun in the morning followed by cloudy skies during the afternoon. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 51F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.

Chance of Rain

Thursday

Thu Sep 28

60%

Chance of Rain
Cloudy with showers. Thunder possible. High near 50F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

 


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