Horsethief Canyon Trail

EASY 101 reviews
#17 of 104 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.

DISTANCE
3.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
498 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

This is a short hike down to a small swimming hole surrounded by rocks. There is some shade on the trail, but not much. The hike starts 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. 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.

hiking
12 days ago

Easy to moderate overall with a decent incline to finish the hike. Not much tree cover, but trail is pretty well maintained and easy to follow. Just stick to the signs directing you towards “Espinosa Trail” or “The Secret Trail” (may have been an old name for this trail).

3 months ago

There are two trails. Both go through the biggest gate from the parking lot then take your first right after a quarter mile where the sign says "trail". After the descent into the canyon there is a T bone intersection. Left is overgrown and will create a 3 mile loop that meets up with the fire road. Right is a 5 mile out and back to some point and better groomed. Poison oak is abundant.

I personally prefer just driving Lyons valley road than this trail but glad to experience it.

For easiest day just do the fire road.

hiking
5 months ago

It was tough with a 10month old strapped to my back on the way back up but the stroll down was easy and enjoyable. Take plenty of water.

hiking
5 months ago

Went today. There's no water at the end which is understandable. The entire way out was completely full of bees and ticks. Dog had two on her and we had some as well. Not a fun hike back up either

Fun little trail with swimming at the end.

hiking
6 months ago

Fantasic pool at the end of the trail. Well worth the trip

trail running
6 months ago

It wasn't easy but lots of fun. Bring water if you hit it up during the summer it gets hot

hiking
7 months ago

Fun hike. Went With my 1 year old and we have a nice little swim. Good water level and water was not cold.

hiking
7 months ago

Fun hike! Started out on a fire trail then onto the real trail. Easy path defending into the valley. LOTS of poison oak, watch out! Rattle snakes were seen too. Once we were at the creek to cross it was about 10 min to the pool. Pool was fun and a perfect temperature. Early morning or afternoon are best times to hike as it does get brutally hot (June).

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely a great hike!

8 months ago

Nice easy hike with a beautiful reward at the end.

8 months ago

Nice easy hike with a beautiful reward at the end.

8 months ago

Nice easy hike with a beautiful reward at the end.

8 months ago

A fantastic hike and the end is so relaxing. Great day!

hiking
8 months ago

The water hole at the end is a beautiful oasis!!! Cant wait to go back.

nature trips
8 months ago

Beautiful hike! Easy enough for beginners and smaller children. We brought our two year old in a carrier with minimal difficulty. The end of the trail is a gorgeous little waterfall and a lazy river. Kids brought an inner tube and had fun for hours!

hiking
8 months ago

Horsethief Canyon >> Esparanza trail. Beautiful hike and great trail! Signage is minimal, but sufficient. Read the map at the car park. Two concerns: Border patrol agents clash with border crashers in this area & the 547ish foot elevation change is a drop. About 85% is within the first 3/4 mile making it a short, challenging hike out, rough and dry in the heat. May consider stashing water along the climb next time. Or a rock.

Thanks to the recent record-breaking wet season (2016/17), the creek was flowing and the watering hole was quite full. I had the entire place to myself for hours. Brilliant. Animals kept themselves scarce save birds, dragonflies, waterskeeters, frogs & lizards. The water was fantastic, clean and cool.

(A third concern, biting flies on the steep part of the trail ;-)~

hiking
8 months ago

First thing we hear when we get out of the car is a rattlesnake. Had to be cautious the whole hike but overall fun little hike to reach some cool water

hiking
8 months ago

This is NOT an easy hike.

hiking
9 months ago

Fun for kids. Got an early start around 9am today (Saturday), worth getting up early. Only saw one other person on the trail walking in. Then walking out closer to 10:30am passed about 5 groups. Would definitely do again.

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