Horsethief Trail - Ouray, CO - Amazing views but the hike may cause altitude sickness


The Horsethief Trail begins approximately 3.5 miles along the Dexter Creek Road from US Highway 550; which is one mile past the Dexter Creek trailhead. The trail is very steep and reaches an altitude of 12,700. Due to this height altitude sickness can be a problem for hikers. There are special precautions that should be taken for hikers attempting Horsethief Trail. The trail requires a crossing of Dexter Creek and upon return the crossing must be monitored because the trail becomes extremely risky when a heavy downpour of rain occurs. The heavy rain upstream can cause a rapid rise in the creek level. Weather changes are a large concern when planning a trip along Horsethief Trail.

Some of the special attractions and features that keep hikers coming back to the trail year after year include the 8.4 mile hike (round trip) to the Bridge of Heaven. The attitude gain at this site is roughly 3,100 feet and presents a climb along a scenic forested mountainside to the Amphitheatre and alpine area. Views of Whitehouse Mountain can be found along this path.

Throughout the climb there are many wide open spaces which during poor weather conditions can cause hypothermia. The risk of blinding hail and snowstorms is always a possibility.

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