Hike to Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rocks

Colorado Horsethief Park Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    7.6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1400 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Waterfall

Shaded forest hike to beaver ponds, a waterfall, and unique rock formations with stunning views of the valley below.

Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rocks can be found on the west side of Pikes Peak, so if you want to get away from the crowds and the city, put this trail on your to do list.

Most of the trail runs through the forest, which makes this an excellent candidate for hiking in July and August when the summer sun is at it's highest and hottest. You'll be treated to ample shade throughout the duration of the hike. Although the parking lot can fill up on the weekends during the summer, I've never encountered large groups on the trail. This could be because the trailhead also connects with the Ring the Peak trail system.

The first 0.8 miles climbs steeply to gain 400 feet along the south edge of the gorge, but it evens out after that with mild grades all the way to Horsethief Falls. At about a mile, you will reach an intersection with Trail #704a to Pancake Rocks on the right.

The trail to Pancake Rocks is about 2.2 miles long, with the first half climbing on steady incline though a series of switchbacks, after which an easy path of level grade will take you to the rock outcroppings and a fantastic vista of the valley below. This spot makes an excellent spot to take a break and have a snack or lunch.

Make your way back down the trail to the original intersection, this time turning right to continue for about 0.5 miles onto Horsethief Falls.

Hiking both Pancake Rocks and Horsethief Falls will get you 7.6 miles total for the day. Opt for completing the spur to Pancake Rocks first as the incline can be challenging and is better suited while your energy reserves are high.

Getting there: From Colorado Springs, take US-24 west to Divide. At the traffic light, turn south onto CO Hwy 67 for about 9 miles. You will go around a large curve on the highway and the trailhead is located on the left side of CO Hwy 67. There are no signs indicating that you've reached the trailhead, so be on the lookout for a large parking area that looks like a turnout next to an abandoned tunnel.

Pack List

  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Daypack
  • Water
  • Snacks
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Reviews

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Great getaway from USAFA. Daughter found this hike on outbound. Easy drive up from CO Springs and easy to find trailhead with all the cars and parking. Trail in great shape and relatively easy hike for 10,000 feet. View is worth it!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

A Beautiful hike that is mildly to somewhat challenging up to the falls. It is definitely worth the time to go up there if you're looking for a decent hike and it would be a great place to picnic as well.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Johnathan ValdezExplorer

I'm a Colorado native that's passionate about photography, exploring nature, live music, and craft beer. On my free days you'll most likely find me on the trail and behind my camera. Life is short, get out there and explore! Follow my adventures here on The Outbound and on Instagram @capulinflicker.

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