Horsethief Trail

Distance: 5.4m round trip | Climb: 708ft | Surface: dirt, rock

Star Rating

Trail Addict Rating: 4 19 ratings

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Experience

Horsethief Trail is in the Black Elk Wilderness area. It is 2.7 miles one-way and runs into the Grizzly Bear Creek trail. If 5.4 miles round trip isn’t far enough for you, you can always add on! This trail is perfect for a hot day. Most of the trail is shaded and follows a small creek. There are some creek crossings (most people can probably easily jump these without getting wet). The trail starts at Horsethief Lake, so bring your swimming suits to cool off after your hike! Little ones will love this hike for all the water and rocks. They may not be able to make it the entire length, but it’s easy enough to turn around at any point.

Directions

  • From Keystone: Get on Hwy 244 heading toward Mt Rushmore.
  • 2.3 miles past Mt Rushmore you will see a sign for Horsethief Trailhead parking lot.
  • Make a left, you will see the trailhead on the left, but will need to drive past to find parking.
  • There are a few places to park right there, but you may have to go a little farther to park in the big parking lot.

Reminder: To use this map on your route, make sure to download this gpx file into your favorite mapping app. in case you lose cellular connection.

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20 Comments

  1. 4

    This is a fun hike and appropriate for just about anyone. It’s nice and shaded, so save it for a hot, sunny day!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  2. 3

    Beautiful hike, good for all ages

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  3. 4

    beautiful

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 10
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  4. 4

    very pretty

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  5. 4

    Cool day out on the 24th, in the 60s, perfect day to hike. Wild roses and other wildflowers were blooming, shade loving ferns were everywhere covering the forest floor. The trail was clearly marked at trail crossings, took a right and headed west on the Grizzly Bear Creek trail for some addition hiking time. Great trail to do, plan to do it again in the fall, when the aspens are changing colors.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  6. 4

    Nice hike, alot of scenic spots and shaded most of the hike.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Horsethief

  7. 4

    The end of the trail was very over grown and tough going.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  8. 5

    Beautiful hike on a gorgeous day

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  9. 5

    We took the Horsethief trail to Harney Peak and then looped back down trail 9. Was a full day but a great day of Hiking. A ton of great scenery!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 12.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Horsethief

  10. 5

    We did the Horsethief lake trail to the Grizzly Bear Creek trail to the Harney trail system, trail 9 and then followed trail 9 all the way back to Horsethief Lake. Great loop did it in one big day great views!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 12
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Horsethief

  11. 3

    Perfect for a hot day. Plenty of shade and creeks.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Horsethief

  12. 4

    Nice, wooded trail.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Horsethief

  13. 4

    Great hike beautiful scenery. Only downfall I never did find the loop that is shown on trail maps.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  14. 5

    So beautiful. Love all the water

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  15. 4

    Skeeterville

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  16. 4

    Great in and out trail.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Horsethief

  17. 5

    A bit of a challenge in some spots, but not too difficult. The terrain and scenery varies throughout the trail which keeps in interesting.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.64
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  18. 5

    Beautiful hike with some boulder scrambling.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.9
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

  19. 3

    This was a pretty little hike – not especially challenging, but pretty with some spots to splash in the river along the way. I’d been hoping to find some wild raspberries, but this trail is heavily-trafficked enough that all the bushes were picked clean by the time we got there. It’s easy to find and easy to follow.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Horsethief

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