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Adventures with Alan chases waterfalls in Teller County

Horsethief Falls
Horsethief Falls Trail
Posted at 8:43 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 22:50:26-04

In our exclusive series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.

Hiking is a year-round activity for Coloradans, but the summers can be a magical time to get out and explore, for locals and tourists alike.

For our latest adventure, we find ourselves on the hunt for waterfalls in Teller County.

"Don't go chasing waterfalls"...or maybe you should

About 10 miles south of Divide on Highway 67, you can easily find the Horsethief Trailhead.

Named from the thieves who lived here during the early mining days, it's a popular out-and-back trail that provides access to nearby Horsethief Falls.

At nearly 3 miles long, be warned that this hike starts out with a pretty quick ascent into the woods, so expect a climb right out of the gate.

This includes a few switchbacks that will cover about 350 to 400 feet of elevation gain in slightly more than half a mile.

Challenging, especially with the altitude, but very doable.

Natural shade from the many aspen trees in the area will help to block out the sun and keep hikers cool.

I've been told that snow can linger here well into June because of the shade, but that's not a problem in the middle of summer.

After the initial steep part, the forest becomes less dense, which provides some amazing views of the surrounding mountain landscape.

Thanks to plenty of rain late this summer, wildflowers can still be found in some spots, along with moss on the trees and some hillsides.

Less than an hour after starting our hike, and keep in mind that we're slow because we're shooting a story, we arrive.

At nearly 10,300 feet above sea level, Horsethief Falls still has some water cascading down its rocks.

Hot tip #1

For easier access to the waterfall, you should stay to the left and cross the small wooden bridge.

If you're comfortable, you can climb up the rocks like I did to get a closer view, but I recommend wearing hiking shoes with good traction.

The rocks are steep, and they were slippery during our visit.

I had to do the crab walk to get back down them safely.

Hot tip #2

My last tip applies mostly to those not used to being at higher elevations. For a high altitude hike, you should plan on bringing plenty of water and listen to your body when it tells you to rest.

Horsethief Falls Trail rating

Not it's time to rate our latest adventure.

Horsethief Falls Trail
Horsethief Falls Trail rating guide

Overall for my first visit to Horsethief Falls, I found this to be a nice experience. While the actual waterfall wasn't that exciting, the hike was wonderful, and family-friendly.

For difficultly, I found the high elevation and the steep intro the hike to be the most challenging parts. Total vertical gain is near 550 feet. 3 out of 5.

When it comes to scenery, it's heavily forested, close to Colorado Springs and provides some nice views of the surrounding mountains. 4 out of 5.

Regarding fun level, what's not to love about being outside in nature!? 4 out of 5.

Now for my final score...let's give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

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