Horsetooth Rock Trail

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
5.8 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
295 m
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Directions to Trailhead

Located within the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, the Horsetooth Rock Trail offers a unique experience. Enjoy various views of the surrounding terrain as you make your way around the nature loop. This trail will not guide you up Horsetooth Summit, instead it will deliver you to its base and will reward you with striking views of the distinctive rock feature.

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Route Description for Horsetooth Rock Trail

The Horsetooth Rock Trail is a wonderful family-friendly trail in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Rewarded with a unique perspective of Horsetooth Rock from the top of the trail, this path will guide you through quintessential Colorado meadows and through pine forests. This trail does pack a lot of incline into a short excursion, so your legs are guaranteed to feel it. Note this path can get muddy in the summer and spring seasons, so maybe don’t wear your new fancy white sneakers. In the winter, expect the trail to be icy, consider wearing microspikes to more easily navigate the icy sections.

The Horsetooth Rock Trail begins from the parking lot and trailhead. Track northwest on the South Ridge Trail. The meadowed path will curve you north before crossing Spring Creek. After the creek you will meet a junction. You can complete the trail from either direction, but we went clockwise. Veer left and continue along the South Ridge Trail. Hike up the exposed trail as you gain elevation nearing the base of Horsetooth Mountain. Stay right at the next intersection and you will shortly arrive at the overlook. Admire the obscure rock formation atop the summit in the northwest and bask in the expansive vistas of the Colorado plains below.

Take a break and enjoy the sights before diverting right down another branch of the South Ridge Trail. Hike down the steep path and you will once again meet with Spring Creek. Follow the path along the creek's edge as you weave between tree coverage and meadowed fields. You will soon meet the intersection that will guide you back to the trailhead. Retrace your steps down the initial section of the South Ridge Trail back to the parking lot.

Getting to the Horsetooth Rock Trail Trailhead

The Horsetooth Rock Trail is situated off W County Road 38E in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Yes, only at designated backcountry campsites. See rules and regulations.

  • When to do


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


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Horsetooth Rock Trail Elevation Graph

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