Hike to Horsethief Canyon near Alpine, California

Horsethief Canyon Trail

Horsethief Canyon is a 2 hours (5.3 km or 3.3 miles) round trip hike with an elevation gain of 500 feet or 152 meters. The maximum altitude that you can reach in this hike is 2467 feet or 752 meters. This trail is filled with awe-inspiring and lush green scenery, beautiful valley views, and the ultimate beauty of the nature. This is a easy difficulty hike in Alpine, California. This is a loop trail which starts and ends at Horsethief Canyon Trailhead.


500 ft


5.3 km


1.0 Day








trailhead (32.747783, -116.666660)



Terrain Information & Trail Conditions

This can be termed as low difficulty in terms of the inclination of the route. This trail is great for a cardio workout. The best time to visit the Horsethief Canyon is between September to May. The sun exposure along the trail is extreme owing to the little to no shade throughout the route. The weather conditions are usually dry, hot, and extremely windy.

Always carry a physical map and a compass, or a digital route in your phone, in order to be careful to not miss any directions along the way. The traffic on this trail is moderate and there are no restrictions on the number of people allowed on a given day. Hiking trails can be rough, broken, rocky, and uneven surface, as they can not maintained regularly as walking paths in cities. Make sure you have proper shoes in order to avoid injuries and provide comfort to your feet.

Who Can Visit This Trail?

A little Girl Hiking in Jungle with leashed Dog

Horsethief Canyon Trail is suitable to bring dogs along. However, please ensure that they are fit enough to embark on this hike. Your dogs cannot communicate this but when they are hiking alongside you, they require frequent hydration just like you do. Keep them hydrated and well-fed. Additionally, it’s always safer to keep them on the leash.

This is a kid-friendly hike which means it is easy/moderate grade, short, and comes with a lot of rewards. That said, always take into consideration you kid’s ability to walk and carry lots and lots of food and water.

If you want to do some trail running or nature walking, this can be a trail that’s suitable for you.

If you love watching birds then you’re going to love this place. You can find varieties of birds like Cooper’s hawk and Barn Owl.

Entry Information & Parking Details

The entry fees for this is $5 which can be paid at the entrance of the park. Parking facilities are available for free. Camping is permitted along the trail. You can communicate with the park authorities for the details on this number: 800-862-2543.

Route Description

Horsethief Canyon Trail Elevation Profile

How to Reach the Trail-head?

You can drive your car up until this point. Use GPS to get to this point. If you follow the directions correctly, you can get here easily.

Resources and Facilities Available

Drinking water is not available along this trail so please carry atleast 2-3 litres of water with you.

Safety Guidelines

Pay attention to road and trail closure signage. Sightings of snakes such as Rattle snakes have been done in this area so keep an eye out for these reptiles. Never try to intimidate the snakes. Wild animals found in this region are Coyote, Mountain Lion. Stay safe and have a word with the local authorities to take precautionary measures for dealing with the wild animals.
As long as you are aware about the route and are carrying either a physical map or a digital map, you can do this hike pretty much on your own without hiring any guide.

There are no specific technical requirements for this hike.

Things to carry

In addition to the usual hiking gear, we recommend you pack a mosquito repellent, and sun protection.

Here is the list of typical hiking gear that you must carry for all the hikes:

  1. 2-3 Liters of water
  2. Sun hat or cap
  3. Good Hiking boots
  4. Light snacks to munch on during breaks, Trail Mix, Fresh fruits / Dried fruits such as dates, figs / Nuts mix, etc. for eating along on the trail
  5. Personal medications and a first-aid kit
  6. Sun goggles
  7. Wet tissues
  8. Cameras (optional)
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