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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Horsethief Lake Loop, SD

Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
  2.5 of 5 
no permit
22 2 0
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 4.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,981 feet
Elevation Gain 458 feet
Accumulated Gain 702 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.81
Interest Perennial Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2019-07-26 trekkin_gecko
16  2018-07-06 AZLOT69
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 175
Routes 247
Photos 7,884
Trips 1,914 map ( 16,193 miles )
Age 70 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Jul, Aug → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:11am - 8:39pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Hang Em High
by AZLOT69

Likely In-Season!
The name speaks for itself. Horsethief trail is named after a gang from the late 1800's who used it as an escape route. The lake came much later. As the work on Mt Rushmore progressed in the 1930's, the vision was to make the area a destination for families. One such idea was to build lakes in the area. Horsethief was constructed by the CCC in the 1930's by placing a dam on Pine Creek. The lake and adjoining campground is the closest facility to Mt Rushmore, less tan two miles away.

The hike starts in the day use area of Horsethief Lake. The trail head is easy to pass by. When pulling in the gravel drive just as the gravel turns to asphalt there is room for 4-5 cars in the gravel on your left. There is a kiosk here and a no cost wilderness permit must be completed. Take a photo of the map for reference and start up the Horse Thief Trail #14. You won't see the lake again for 5.25 miles. The trail climbs for the first mile thru thick mature forest with granite monoliths all around. Soon you enter the Black Elk Wilderness. Pine Creek flows alongside the trail, a babbling brook with an occasional waterfall. The hike involves multiple creek crossings but absent a slip you shouldn't get wet. You will come to a T in the trail. Horsethief continues straight but you want to turn right on Centennial Trail #89. The trail continues with a series of switchbacks to the high point of this adventure. The trail is overgrown thru this section but easy to follow. Centennial #89 comes to a T with trail #5 going to the left, you want to go right here staying with # 89 headed to the Big Pine trail head. The trail breaks free of the thick forest at this point. Soon you will hear the sound of traffic and arrive at highway 244. A short hike of a quarter mile to the right alongside the highway will bring you back to Horsethief Lake. Take the trail alongside the lake back to your vehicle. You may want to take a dip in the lake while there.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-06 AZLOT69
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Highway 244 from Keystone, South Dakota west. Two miles west of Mt Rushmore to signed Horsethief Lake. Turn left. Trail head is at end of gravel road. If you hit pavement you went too far.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Jul 06 2018 8:52 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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