Horsethief Canyon Trail

EASY 42 reviews
#21 of 84 trails in

Horsethief Canyon Trail is a 3.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Alpine, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

3.3 miles 547 feet Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

This is a great, short hike down to a small swimming hole surrounded by rocks. There is some shade on the trail, but not much. When we were there (early June 2012) the water at the deepest came up to my neck. When you look on google maps Satellite view, the pool is dried out so it doesn't look like there is water year round. The hike started from a parking lot, down a dirt road and then you make a right onto the trail that takes you down about 400 ft to the water. Be sure to bring water for the hike out, as there is little shade and it's all up. However, as soon as you feel like you've had enough, you're already at the top and it's a flat walk back to the car. Pack a picnic and plan to hang out! The water feels great and there are plenty of rocks to sun yourself on. Enjoy!

hiking
13 days ago

18 days ago

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20 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

1/29/17 So green and lots of water after all the rain we've had.

23 days ago

Went on Tuesday January 31st. When we got there we pulled up to the big dirt parking lot and were welcomed by a Golden Eagle!! Wow!!!!! The bird lovers in us jumped for joy! We proceeded down the truck trail and found the marker for the trail. It is easy to miss as it comes up quick. Thanks to info here, I found it easy. Going down the hill was nice. Shade from some trees as the sun was yet high enough. Make a right once you get to the valley floor. Keep going until you run right into the swimming hole. Wow!!!! We spent hours here!!! The water was full to the brim and it was an amazing sight. We jumped off the small cliffs into the water. Lost my beloved sunglasses, ha! A few horseback riders came along but no one else was there! The hike back up the hill sucked. But right as you start giving up you're back to the top. Love this hike!!

hiking
24 days ago

Great hike, very peaceful. The little creek had plenty of water! Was awesome to see!

25 days ago

29 days ago

I was a nice hike!:) the sight at the end was worth it!

1 month ago

1 month ago

Fun hike but the signage for this trail v Espinoza trail was slightly confusing. The only reason we knew we were on the right track is because of other messages left here (thanks)! We parked in the dirt parking lot. There are two trail areas- for this one follow the brown gated road way. A few minutes down there's a small sign on the right for the trail head. It's easy to miss! Easy going down but strenuous on way back (only about .5 mile up hill).

We had a fairly odd experience because as soon as we got down to the water hole, about two dozen gunshots went off. We screamed to notify the shooters that people and dog are nearby but they kept shooting. We promptly left and called to leave message with the ranger office. You never know who you will meet on a trail! It was a bummer to hike down there only to miss the water.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

wonderful family friendly hike!!

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is gorgeous!! Start in the parking lot and walk down the gated dirt road. The trail starts off to the right once you have walked a little ways down. Missed it the first time and walked about a mile too far on accident. The actual road if you keep walking has stunning views and makes for a great walk. Once we made it back to the trail, the first half is all downhill (uphill the way back!) then flattens out a bit. Ends at a relaxing and scenic watering hole and stream! Hiked this after a rainstorm so there was a lot of water. Went in 58 degree weather and it was perfect.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

great hike to get away from everything. was a little disappointed to get to the end of the trail and not see any running water, but still was a great hike.

hiking
3 months ago

6 months ago

Went with my girlfriend and 14 yr old sister. End of July isn't a smart idea. 91 degrees of hot wind and heat. Depending on the position of the sun, you can find a few shady trees. Even with a liter of water per person it was difficult going up the mountain. The bottom trek is nice, beautiful manzanita trees on the slope. We were cautious around rocks in the day, rattlesnakes tend to hide in shade and under rocks to escape the sun. When we made it to Pine Creek, it was a sad sight, the bed is completely dried up. I hope this was just a summer thing, looking forward to the winter, maybe the water will return.

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

This is a great hike to hit after work. It's just a couple miles from my house and If you need to just get out and clear the head then it's a great spot. You not dealing with a bunch of people on the trail which for me is the biggest thing. Go in the rainy season and there's a great watering hole to kick back at! Also climb up the canyon a bit and there's a bunch of great rock formations to climb around on and explore. There's also a geocache hidden! Good luck!!!!!

9 months ago

Perfect afternoon hike. relaxing on the way down, decent hills on the way back up.