Horsethief to the Crags Trail is a 9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cripple Creek, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length9.0 miElevation gain1,916 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingDog friendlyForestViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (6)
Tips

Hidden Beauty Along "Ring the Peak" Trail This is a beautiful section of the "Ring the Peak" trail system. The distance from Horsethief Falls trailhead to Putney Gulch trailhead is 4 miles. You can begin at either end; both are easily accessible to cars. The Putney Gulch location is also used for camping, and there are several good camping spots along the trail if you want to do more than a four hour (eight mile) day hike. If you want to spend more time, there are several opportunities to explore off the main trail. But this is not the only spot that might capture your heart. You'll find beaver ponds, fields of flowers, mountain meadows, flowing streams, shady aspen groves and velvet floored fir forests. While you can hike out and back in a stress-free half day, you may want to plan for more time, so you can stop and enjoy the spots that capture your heart.

1. You can hike this trail any time of the year. Snow in the winter will make it more difficult; but it can be done. I'd recommend mid-May to mid-September. 2. Mid to late afternoon provides some of the best light for photos; but it's also the time when storms kick up in July & August. 3. This is a good dog hike, especially if your dog likes water.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (67)
Photos (326)
Activities (41)
Completed (153)
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Melinda Snow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 4, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful day, sunny, warm and short sleeve shirts. Trail was still mostly packed snow except for the meadow which was just slush. Crampons were helpful. Further out, you ended up postholing in the woods as fewer hikers had ventured out. Waterfall was still buried in snow and ice. Saw recent moose tracks but no actual sighting. Fun day and worth the effort.

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Dudley yeoman
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Hiking
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Khalid Abo
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Walking
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Robyn Thompson
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HikingGreat!Snow

Jan1, 2021. Snowpack. Spikes needed but snowshoes not necessary. Easy to find. Pretty hike.

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George Cummings
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Hiking
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Shelby Walter
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HikingIcyMuddyOff trailSnow
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Amber DeAnn
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Hiking
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Lacey Matamales
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Hiking
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Casey Harman
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Hiking
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Nellie Viner
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HikingGreat!

Fantastic hike—I started around 8 in the morning on a Monday and didn’t see anyone until the end. Very peaceful. There is an open meadow section in the first few miles that’s lovely, but go early if you bring your pup because on the way back my sheepdog seemed annoyed and hot.

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Emily Adcox
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HikingGreat!

This was a wonderful trail! It is right at 4.5 miles to the end of the trail--which dumps you out at a parking lot just .5 miles past the Crags trailhead. if you want to add the Crags onto this- you're looking at 14.5 miles. This portion is right at 9 miles. At mile 2.5 the trail makes a sharp left in a dense forest-- before continuing on-- go RIGHT just a bit to see Maja Falls-- so pretty! Several easy creek crossings, aspen forests, rolling terrain-- ups and downs-- but nothing that kills you. I would recommend this to anyone!

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Mason Andersen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

This hike is a pleasant, moderately challenging walk through the woods. There are some nice views of sentinel point, and the Maja falls are a nice bonus. I included hiking the crags in this trail to make it a half marathon, and it was a great experience. There's a good amount of ups and downs, and none of them are too difficult. You get to see a great deal of the natural beauty around pikes peak, with some great aspen woods. Overall, this trail is very enjoyable to hike, and has a lot of simple beauty.

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Meghan Kerrigan
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Hiking

I was thrilled about this trail to avoid northern Colorado’s snowy trails and freezing temps, this was the perfect alternative. Day 1 we backpacked from Horsethief trailhead to the falls and then out to halfway to Crags trailhead. There is a beautiful meadow, then you go into the forest, right before the big hill is a great campsite on the left with +5 spots for a tent. Great spot for a hammock as well. We took a day hike to the waterfall/flowing creek where Ring the Peak trail hits 704. If you stay left at the trail split, you’ll stay going towards Crags trailhead but about 50 ft from the junction is a flowing creek and waterfall. You’ll know you’re there when you’re walking over 5-6 fallen trees across the trail. The stars were stunning in this area! We had some flies but no major bug issues. We saw a handful of groups over 3 days so overall moderately traveled—still remote enough to privately camp. No grand destination or overlook but we were more looking for the seclusion.

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Amalie Fellini
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Backpacking

Such a great trail! Beautiful trees, not too hard but enough to make you work for it. Some camp options throughout, I ended up camping at 3ish miles in. I would say it's pretty heavily trafficked, there were 3 other camp groups within a few hundred feet of my spot and people passing by every 30 minutes at least. However it's a lot of fun, the falls and creeks are cute and provide water if needed.

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Bobak Radbin
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Hiking

Beautiful trail with lots of great spots to camp overnight. Went with my dog Aspen and camped 3 miles in. Lots of parking space as well. Will be going back soon.

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Leah Anderson
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Backpacking

Beautiful and varied terrain, a good amount of backcountry camping sites and stunning views all around. Cold at night and buggy near the creeks.

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Diana Yu
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Backpacking

Great backpacking trail, plenty of water along the way. Got some serious hail storms in the evening, pack layers!

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Joy Wang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 10, 2020
HikingSnow

Tiny bit of snow left. No snowshoes needed. Moderately crowded until the second way point and then it’s deserted and perfect.

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Rebecca Austria
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HikingSnow

Nice hike, but I look forward to doing it again once all the snow is melted. Still a lot of post-holing if you don’t bring snowshoes.

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Tracey Elizabeth
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HikingSnow
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Christopher Willis
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Hiking

Great trail, was very easy to navigate, never in any real danger of losing the trail. Uphills are steep and tiring, but all in all, the only difficulty encountered on this trail was the grade on some of the hills-pretty sure it averages out to almost 25% for a couple of several hundred foot stretches. Lots of beautiful nature though, and some unreal views of Sentinel Peak, particularly in the meadow after the initial uphill climb. Definitely worth the effort!

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Cuesta Hoop
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2019
Hiking

Wonderful hike! We started at the Pancake Rock trailhead. Hiked only to Putney Gulch / didn’t want to hike the road to the Crags campground. Beautiful hike with a nice variation in scenery from forest to meadows. Good moderate hike with some decent gain.

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Carrie Sherrod Franklin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2019
Hiking

Absolutely beautiful scenery & good clear trails. Very peaceful and relaxing with water and meadows.

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Brandon Larocque
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Hiking

The initial climb from the TH is tough because it hits you right out of your parking spot, but if you stick it out, the branch onto Horsethief Park Trial opens up into a gorgeous meadow. Only one other climb after that, but you get to see Anna Marie falls, stream crossings, forest, meadows, etc. Wonderful trail.

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Shannon Corpora
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2019
Hiking

The description for this route is spot on - there's just something about this hike. No grand summit views or alpine lakes, but there was something special about it. That meadow once you turn onto the horsethief trail proper is just gorgeous. It was a 10-mile hike for me and was the perfect distance. You'll see from the elevation map that it isn't an "uphill on the way in, downhill on the way back" kind of hike. It fluctuates so be prepared to hike up a series of switchbacks on the way back, but I found it all very pleasant and not too difficult. A solid moderate hike for sure, maybe veering more towards the easy side. All of the creek crossings are small right now and have logs over them, so no issues there. Don't be turned off by the crowded parking lot - I think most people hike up to pancake rocks or the falls (a gorgeous hike in its own right!) but this particular trail wasn't crowded at all. Highly recommend!

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Susie Harrison-Tsosie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 12, 2019
HikingBugs

Strenuous trail. It is all uphill until you get to a certain point. Went a mile and a half and came back down. Good trail though.

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