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Horsethief Canyon Trail

EASY 183 reviews
#16 of 152 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

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

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
bugs
3 months ago

The trail was a little buggy (horse flies and fire ants), but it wasn’t bad enough to ruin our day. The water hole at the bottom of the trail was like paradise for my kids who had a blast swimming in it and scrambling over the rocks near it. The return hike was all uphill and just enough of a challenge for the kids. We’ll definitely take this hike again soon.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail for a family hike. We did this with my 10, 7, and 2 year old. The hill back up isn’t too bad as I carried my 2 year old quite a bit, even on my shoulders. The pool at the end was beautiful and fun for cooling off. Definitely doing this one again.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

Tons of cute little frogs near the creek so be careful not to step in any. There was some poison oak up near the top of the creek and some along the trail but it’s completely avoidable if you are paying attention. We did see ticks so make sure to check yourself and your dogs. The incline at the beginnings and the end is relatively exposed and we saw ppl having trouble. Please make sure if you bring dogs to do this section early in the morning or in evening. Dogs will overheat on this section much faster than humans. Also be weary of foxtails on your four legged friend - we were pulling out a number of them from our dogs along the trail. Over great trail with with cool pools at the end!

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome trail! Pretty easy on the way down, shade to cool down is spotty but not hard to find. The pools at the end are amazing, great way to cool off and rest before the return journey. The way back is definitely a grind, all uphill once you leave the canyon.

hiking
bugs
no shade
3 months ago

I recommend that if you don't like red ants crawling on you.. don't stop along the trail. They're everywhere. My friends and I started early, around 8 and were the only few out at the water for most of the morning. Good hike!!! The walk down is fairly easy but getting back can be hard from the sun and the steep walk uphill.

hiking
4 months ago

The way down was pretty easy and the pond at the end was perfect to swim in in the 90° of early June. The hike back up was much more brutal but that could have been because of the heat later in the day. Either way, I would recommend taking breaks at each shady spot because they seem far apart (especially on the way back).

hiking
4 months ago

Going down is easy. Coming up is not so easy. Especially when there is a shit ton of horse flys. They were all over me and my dog. The entire trail going back up. Coming down they weren’t as bad, but still annoying. Later in the day it is, the worse they are. That was at 10am. Swimming hole is perfect. 3 people when I got there and a handful showed up while I was there. As we were leaving, several people started showing up. Even more coming down as I was going up. All friendly. I’m just not a fan of over populated hikes. I gave it a 3 because the horse flys made the hike back up miserable. I don’t think it’s worth doing again with the flys and the people. Go early. It was also getting hot AF as the sun just blades down on you. Dog loved it.

hiking
over grown
rocky
4 months ago

3.5 miles in and out. You hike a fire road for less than a 1/4 mile, and trailhead is to the right. First 400 feet down, is steep and rocky so take care. After that it’s smooth sailing down to the waterhole. The waterhole was beautiful! The trek back is easy peasy until you hit the 400 feet going back up. Take your time if your a novice hiker like me and had to stop a few times back up. Overall a wonderful experience!

5 months ago

lots of ticks so make sure dogs stay on leash and don't brush against high grass, bring lots of water. Reaching the water pool at the bottom of the canyon was absolutely beautiful, went during the week in late afternoon, few people. Took a dip, refreshing.

hiking
6 months ago

Down there, uphill back. Enjoyed lunch at the water. Got our feet wet. A few jumped in and we met a group of horses there

hiking
bugs
rocky
6 months ago

We turned this into a loop hike, tried to find the fire road but wasn't able to. Instead found a well established no name trail that lead all the way back to the parking area.

pretty flowers, water in creek (3/29/19). met a few other group but not busy.

hiking
7 months ago

Some eroded downhill Lots of water and small falls at pine creek Returned via fire road which is easier uphill and adds more distance

hiking
7 months ago

Due all the rain we had this year there is water in the streams and falls. It was lush and green. a great way to spend the morning.

hiking
7 months ago

Short hike, steep downhill beginning. Levels out to an easy hike to the pool of water. Feb. 24th.

hiking
9 months ago

oh yeah we found small pools of water knee high. but it's up river through a rough climb. and a 1/2 inch layer of ice on top of the water. freeeezing cooooold....

hiking
9 months ago

it's the second time I hike on this trail. it's beautiful and a great place to find peace. just pace yourself especially if you have little ones, my kid struggles on the last climb getting back to the car. I'll be honest, I don't look forward to it, but it's always in the back of my head when I plan to go. but I love a good challenge, if you do too, enjoy....

hiking
9 months ago

Great little hike with the dogs- unfortunately, there is still no water as of 12.30.18

10 months ago

Fun hike, no water as of 12/09/18 even with the rain earlier in the week.

11 months ago

It would be better if you allowed bikes.

Monday, August 27, 2018

This was a great short hike.

hiking
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The water at the end of the trail was all dried up which as big bummer. Also- while the trail is easy down along the river, I would say it is more moderate to difficult, especially with young children, because it’s straight down and straight back up out of the valley.

hiking
Monday, June 18, 2018

We were very disappointed that there wasn’t any water in the canyon. The hike, albeit short, was very steep for about half a mile and our older Labrador had a tough time getting back up. Only ran into a couple other people all afternoon. If there were water, this hike would be great!

hiking
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I’d definitely come back, but after some rain. There was almost no water at the end but the rocks were cool. It was a pretty hike and you really feel away from it all. There was no one else on the trail that day which was cool-so quiet, just me and some birds and a snake

hiking
Saturday, May 19, 2018

This trail was okay. Not "must do again," but nice enough. I did this trail alone with my dog on a Friday afternoon and there was NOT A SINGLE OTHER SOUL AROUND. Normally I'm happy to find less trafficked trails, but this was creepy since I was by myself!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Awesome! Just beware...where there is water, there be a-holes

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