Horse Thief Lake Trail

MODERATE 53 reviews

Horse Thief Lake Trail is a 2.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Keystone, South Dakota that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.4 miles
452 feet

dogs on leash




nature trips

rock climbing







wild flowers




old growth

over grown




off trail

This hike is off the beaten path and then off that beaten path. There are no maintained trails and you have to hop some fences. The view at the top is absolutely worth it. There are some tight holes you have to crawl through and some treacherous cliffs to navigate.

1 month ago

Love hiking in this area

7 months ago

Invigorating and beautiful in the fall. We enjoyed the variety of ecosystems. North end of trail is rustic but this app keeps you on the right trail.

8 months ago

The best part of this trail is the rocks you can climb off trail. That is where the great views are....

9 months ago

Great hike. Moderate grade creeks and some great views when you get to the top. Only do the loop part if you are an experienced hiker and can bushwhack through the wilderness

9 months ago

A relatively easy hike until this loop at the southmost point. There is NO trail there. We persevered trying to make our way using GPS & finally did, but it was nothing less than treacherous and in my opinion DANGEROUS. This loop on this trip should NEVER have been left on the AllTrails site. We are very experienced hikers and never have encountered anything like this. Our worst hike ever (and we hike 72 miles/month)

10 months ago

More of a walk than a hike. Slight incline but mostly flat. Not much to see other than trees.

10 months ago

the end loop isnt marked, but other than that it was a variety of sights and types of trail, bolders, sands, gravel and rivers.

10 months ago

After reading the reviews, we headed straight out expecting no loop at the end. Sure enough, no readily visible loop. Tried following the GPS path for a bit also but turned back and just made it an out and back. Too many branches covering the path you were imagining more than seeing.

But for the path you could rely on it was great and covered overhead for most of the first half with paths that crisscrossed a small stream. Nice, cool and relaxing. The second half you got up high enough to see the rocks around you but not any long distance views. Most of the rocks you were seeing were actually those from the first half of the trip. Good spots to stop and rest around the rocks in the first half of the trip. There were plenty of Aspen and Birch trees along the route which would probably make it a good hike in the Fall as well.

Overall, a great hike for a cool June Day.

11 months ago

Nice easy trail. No loop though. We tried to find it but realized that it was purposefully covered with brush. Needs updating in this app.

11 months ago

Cool out and back trail with several views. It can get a little confusing so use the map on AllTrails. I attempted the loop at the end going counterclockwise. It is overgrown but easy until I got pass the half way point on the loop. It got harder then harder and even harder with deadwood and underbrush where I had to bail and cut back across. I do not recommend doing the loop.

11 months ago

loved the view and the hike was overall super easy

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The first .25 miles were pleasant and easy to follow. After that, however, the growth was pretty dense and the trail was difficult to find. We ended up following the creek for another .25 miles or so, but turned around as we were not familiar with the area.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

The loop at the end of the trail has been reclaimed by the forest.
We really enjoyed the trail.

Monday, November 28, 2016

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!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

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.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

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.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

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.

Friday, January 24, 2014

easy and fun

Thursday, May 16, 2013

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.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Well i sure loved this trail but it is by no means for everyone. Honestly its mostly bushwhacking and scrambling but if your looking for a challenge this is for you. We went early spring and the frozen waterfalls were insane and the view down the valley what beautiful. Take pine creek up through black elk until you hit #5 then walk till you see the giant cliff on your left and start searching your way through till you get to the top.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fun trail. And it's free

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