Horse Thief Lake Trail

MODERATE 12 reviews

Horse Thief Lake Trail is a 3.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Keystone, SD that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.6 miles 763 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash




rock climbing

trail running

horseback riding






wild flowers



old growth

4 days ago

Very nice trail, but I would consider this a walk through the woods instead of a hike. Trail #14 (horsethief) merges with centennial trail #89 shortly into the trail trek, so there is a variety of directions for a person to explore. All in all this trail is still a beautiful place to explore with streams, rock formations and birch trees around every corner!

1 month ago

You hike next a stream so thats pretty cool. Hard to know where the turnaround spot is. The loop is no longer there

3 months ago

A nice short distant trail with some great rock formations and views. This trail had lots of traffic during the summer month of June when I visited. Beautiful area.

4 months ago

For our first moderate trail, it was great. Loved the stream alongside the trail and rock formations. Challenging for both my kids and myself.

4 months ago

Great trail. Took all three of my boys ages 9,4,and 2. Kids had a great time, there were a few spots that were interesting with a 2 year old, but the kids, wife, and I all had a blast. We also took our two dogs. The hike is an easy steady grade with quite a few level spots on the way to the top.

5 months ago

Be prepared to crawl under and climb over a hundred trees while making slow progress.
Bringing plenty of water and bug spray will make sure that you enjoy this trail and the adjoining ones to the fullest.
Be weary of the potential for falling trees, and keep a keen eye on the trail as there are no markers except for at intersections and there are points where the path almost fades away entirely. Combine that with frequently having to maneuver around obstacles in the path makes losing the trail extremely easy.
Otherwise the Black Elk Wilderness is an amazing opportunity to get away from the more frequently accessed areas in the summer. With the exception of the frequent helicopter tours overhead, you really spend a lot of time alone.

6 months ago

8 months ago

There were some nice views, but a lot of downed trees on the trail. Had to do some crawling under and over them. The loop at the end of the trail... FORGET ABOUT IT! Just turn back around. You can't even see were the trail is supposed to be and the there are 100s of downed trees that you can't get through. It looks like a tornado ripped through and no one has busted out the chainsaws yet.

2 years ago

easy and fun

3 years ago

Awesome view if you make your way over some rocks to the west at the highest point of the trail. Seems to be used pretty lightly, and there is a lake right by the trailhead. Excellent.

3 years ago

Can go to alot of places from here and there is some climbing in the canyon, some 5.10's and there is one 5.12b that looks super crazy

4 years ago

Fun trail. And it's free