East Horsethief Trail is a 9.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Elsinore, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Great trail steep start
I have done this hike / trail run several times. Once even in a heavy rain downpour. It is VERY steep and tricky in numerous spots. This trail is accessible but you have to be adventurous. Trust me, single track all the way up with some runoff ruts but once you peak the top at North Main Divide it is well worth it. Make sure you pack out all your trash if you bring bottles. No maintenance on this trail at all except us enthusiasts. Enjoy.
I tried to do the East Horsethief trail and found it by way of Elsinore by going down Nichols Rd. You go through a track development which dead ends to a dirt road. Took the dirt road to the gate and it was locked. We parked by the houses and walked the road to the gate. The trail is clear for about .3 miles. You will see a bunch of little camp fires that teenagers have and empty beer cans and liquor bottles. The trees also have graffiti on them. The trail went down some crazy rocks and terrain so we turned around and found another trail. It started winding up the mountain but there were so many bushes and trees we couldn't make it. This trail isn't maintained at all. I would guess those gates have been locked for at least a year. I might try the West Entrance but don't even bother with this one.
Did this trail in 2011 started from West Horse thief on the orange county side. West horse thief was well maintained and had great views. East horse thief had some great views but is not maintained at all and it became a very difficult hike. Most of the trail was washed out and had little shade. If it was maintained it would be a great hike.