The landscape on this trail is great. You pass beaver ponds down low, then you hike near a very long, steep stream that cascades down the mountain. After that, you hop/scramble across a large boulder field and eventually get above treeline. Above treeline mostly alpine tundra, but the trail gets very faint if visible at all. The summit offers spectacular views of Pikes Peak's backside and the mountains to the west.
The whole route tends to be very secluded most of the way. I've seen other people on this trail but it is by no means high traffic.
Features: River/Creek — Views — Waterfall
There is a minor creek crossing (only about 3 feet across) when you fork off the starting path. If you camp by the beaver ponds you might want to have bug spray because there can be a lot of mosquitoes. Bring an extra layer, it could be a little windy and chilly at the top.
There are some large boulders that may be able to tilt on one section of the trail.
The hike starts on Horsethief Falls
trail. It's a large dirt path with lots of traffic. After about 3/4 of a mile you'll see a sign for "Ring the Peak Trail" pointing to the left, go that way. You'll immediately cross a little creek (about 3-4 feet across) then follow the nice secluded trail past beaver ponds and aspen trees.
Eventually you'll come to a Y in the trail. This time don't go on "Ring the Peak Trail."
Veer right and this is the trail that takes you the rest of the way to the summit. Along the way up the steeper parts there is a pretty cool creek that flows quickly down the mountain. It's not a huge waterfall but it cascades consistently for quite a way.
The entire thing is marked with rock cairns, and are generally easy to spot. If you do happen to get off the trail or simply lose sight of the cairns in the boulder sections, just continue upwards. Once you get close to the tree line the trail gets pretty faint and you just have to follow the cairns. Above tree line, just be careful on the delicate tundra, walking on durable surfaces when able. The point is crested with giant boulders and might could be challenging to climb for some, dogs won't be able to make it to the top.
At the top the views are quite nice.
Another thing to note is that there are several good campsites along the way. A couple spots even had fire rings already built, just be sure to check the current fire regulations before having a fire.