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Horse Thief Basin Trail #856 Info

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Horse Thief Basin Trail #856 Info

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Wed May 22, 2013 7:48 am

Could not find much information on this trail. Mainly saw this statement, "The trail is brushy and infrequently maintained" and not much else. Am looking to take the trail from the Cotton Creek Trail #749 up to the saddle between De Anza and Electric.

Anyone been on this section in the summer?
Is it hard to follow? (possibly in the dark)
If one loses the trail, what is the terrain like?

Thank you - Valerie
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

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Re: Horse Thief Basin Trail #856 Info

Postby sjv » Wed May 22, 2013 11:55 am

I hiked up the Horsethief Basin trail in June 2004, to Three Step Pass (which I assume is the saddle you mention). The trail leaves the Cotton Creek trail at about mile 4.5. The junction is marked (or was 9 years ago) with an unmarked post. The trail is pretty clear until you get into Horsethief Basin. In the basin it was overgrown in spots, but marked irregularly with cairns. During the day, losing the trail wasn't a concern because the switchbacks to the saddle were obvious higher in the basin. I expect it might be easy to lose the trail in the dark (I know I could do it #-o ).
"Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain-passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action."
-- John Muir, The Mountains of California, 1894

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Re: Horse Thief Basin Trail #856 Info

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Wed May 22, 2013 12:20 pm

Thank you.

Does it really have all the wild switchbacks that my gps program shows? Or is it more direct as I see on acme mapper topo map? If I follow the trail with the extreme SBs, it comes out to 5 mi just to get to the pass. Is that right? If I follow what the topo shows, it's ~1.5 mi....
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

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Re: Horse Thief Basin Trail #856 Info

Postby sjv » Wed May 22, 2013 1:31 pm

There are a lot of switchbacks. Because I wanted accurate trail mileage, I suffered through all of them on the way up. My mileage from Cotton Creek th to the saddle was 8.8 miles. I got lazy and took a more direct route down, though.
"Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain-passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action."
-- John Muir, The Mountains of California, 1894

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Re: Horse Thief Basin Trail #856 Info

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Wed May 22, 2013 2:53 pm

sjv wrote:There are a lot of switchbacks. Because I wanted accurate trail mileage, I suffered through all of them on the way up. My mileage from Cotton Creek th to the saddle was 8.8 miles. I got lazy and took a more direct route down, though.

:-D
Thanks again!
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

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Don't take the switchbacks!

Postby Bethie » Wed May 22, 2013 3:23 pm

We took the horrendous time wasting switchbacks last year only to find a straight line way quicker easier more direct trail in the gully directly to the saddle.The gully is to the right of all the switchbacks. Save yourself time & energy, take the direct route!
Beth
"Wherever you go, there you are..."

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Re: Don't take the switchbacks!

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Fri May 24, 2013 1:47 pm

Bethie wrote:We took the horrendous time wasting switchbacks last year only to find a straight line way quicker easier more direct trail in the gully directly to the saddle.The gully is to the right of all the switchbacks. Save yourself time & energy, take the direct route!

Thanks! Those switchbacks added ~3 mi!

That must be the trail that I see on acme mapper. What was the gully like to ascend/descend? Any tricky sections? I'd probably be ascending it completely in the dark.
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

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