Arco Pass to Horsethief Canyon

Total Miles


2,053.86 ft


1 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

Horsethief Canyon is roughly 20 miles out of Arco, Idaho, and if you follow Arco Pass, including all of the side spurs, this is a full-day trip round-trip track. You go deep into the Challis National Forest, up to an elevation of 7000 feet, and drop down the other side into this canyon. The possibilities for seeing elk and other wildlife are abundant. Until late May, you will encounter snow in the trees and on the north slopes. Mud is likely until late May as well.

Photos of Arco Pass to Horsethief Canyon

Arco Pass to Horsethief Canyon
Arco Pass to Horsethief Canyon
Arco Pass to Horsethief Canyon


Easy riding unless it's early spring or after a heavy rain. Snow may be present, and erosion happens in places with run-off.


The Shoshone Indians first called this area home, as did the Blackfoot Indians. Fur trappers working for the North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company led trappers and explorers here in the early 1800s. Hudson Bay Company's last expedition between 1830 and 1832 found the beaver population so eradicated by earlier trappers that they abandoned trapping in this area. The Lost River Valley from Arco to Mackay is rich in mining history, and there is a wonderful museum in Mackay.

Technical Rating


Status Reports

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Access Description

From South Front Street (Highway 20) in Arco, take Highway Drive to where the Arco Pass to Hurst Canyon track begins. You can stage in Arco, or you can stage at the beginning of the Arco Pass to Hurst Canyon track. Follow the Hurst Canyon track to the Horsethief Spur #3 track. Instead of turning left into Spur #3, go straight up Horsethief Canyon, go past the Iron Creek Spur, past the Horsethief Spur #5, and past the Horsethief Spur #6 to where this track starts.

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