This is a beautiful section of the “Ring the Peak” trail system. The distance from Horsethief Falls trailhead to Putney Gulch... more » trailhead is 4 miles. You can begin at either end; both are easily accessible to cars. The Putney Gulch location is also used for camping, and there are several good camping spots along the trail if you want to do more than a four hour (eight mile) day hike. If you want to spend more time, there are several opportunities to explore off the main trail.
The most delightful part of the hike for me was the discovery of Maja (pronounced “mǎzhǎ) Falls. No, I’m not the first to find the falls; there seems to be a well worn path to them. But I have named them, since none of the maps or other trail guides I’ve studied acknowledge the falls, let along designate them. So I’ve name them after my wife.
But this is not the only spot that might capture your heart. You’ll find beaver ponds, fields of flowers, mountain meadows, flowing streams, shady aspen groves and velvet floored fir forests. While you can hike out and back in a stress-free half day, you may want to plan for more time, so you can stop and enjoy the spots that capture your heart.
Drive west from Colorado Springs on US Hwy 24 to Divide. Go south from Divide on CO Hwy 67 about 9 miles to the Horsethief Falls trailhead (just around the corner from a sealed off old tunnel).
If you want to begin at the Putney Gulch trailhead, turn off Hwy 67 at the sign for “Crags Campground.” Follow this road about three miles until you see another sign for the campground. Continue past the sign (not turning onto the campground road) for about a half mile. The road will dead end at the trailhead. Starting at this end will cut off about 1.5 miles from the entire trek, because you could turn around at the trail junction with the Horsethief Falls trail – unless, of course, you want to turn left there and continue on up to the falls (another .7 miles). less «