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Friends of Mount Evans and Lost Creek Wilderness

Lost Creek Wilderness

lost creek trail vista

Lost Creek Wilderness is located approximately 60 miles southwest of Denver. Unlike most of Colorado's jagged alpine wilderness profiles, Lost Creek is a land of fascinating rounded granite domes and knobs, split boulders, rare granite arches, and tree-lined mountain parks. Wilderness elevations range from 8,000 feet to 12,400 feet.

Lost Creek, the wilderness's namesake, got its name from its numerous disappearances into rock piles and underground passages, only to later reappear further downstream. At its final reappearance, it becomes Goose Creek. Black bears, bighorn sheep, deer, elk and bobcats share the region. Vegetation in the area includes ponderosa, bristlecone, lodgepole pine, aspen, spruce, fir, and alpine tundra. About 130 miles of trails serve the Wilderness, including the Colorado Trail, which passes through the area. For more on the Lost Creek Wilderness, visit Wilderness.net.

History of Lost Creek

Although there are remains of logging camps and sawmills on the outskirts of the Wilderness, the heart of Lost Creek was too wild for much commercial use other than grazing. There was a failed attempt between 1891 and 1913 by the Antero and Lost Park Reservoir Company to dam Lost Creek underground at a site just below the confluence of Lost Creek and Reservoir Gulch. All that remains now near the site are a few old buildings and some rusting machinery.

One of a set of three maps of the Pikes Peak, Plum Creek, and South Platte Forest Reserves (most of the current Pike National Forest), drawn in 1898 for the 20th annual report of the USGS, shows most of the southern end of the present day Wilderness as being "Badly Burned." In 2002, the Hayman Fire burned approximately 6,000 acres along the east edge of the Wilderness. Fortunately, very little of the trail system, other than the short sections of the Goose Creek and Hankins Pass trails immediately adjacent to the Goose Creek Trailhead, were affected. Be aware of the possibility of falling snags, particularly on windy days.

In 1963, the 15,120 acre Lost Creek Scenic Area was created under the precursor of the Wilderness Act, the "U-Regulations" of 1939. In 1979, it was also designated a National Natural Landmark. During the first U.S. Forest Service RARE process, Lost Creek received more comments recommending its wilderness designation than any other Colorado area. The Lost Creek Wilderness was created under the Colorado Wilderness Act of 1980. The original 105,000 acres plus the 1993 addition of approximately 14,700 acres brought the total acreage to its current 119,790 acres.

Management

The entire Wilderness lies within Pike National Forest, split between the South Park and South Platte Ranger Districts. In 1994, an agreement was made between the two districts to manage the Wilderness as a single unit, with the South Platte District as the lead district, coordinating with the South Park District in all management decisions.

Weather

Mountain weather, particularly at high altitudes, can go from one extreme to another in a short amount of time. Carry adequate clothing for any type of weather. Snow is not uncommon in the middle of summer and can blow in quickly. Summer days typically begin clear and sunny, but warm air rising from sun-warmed slopes generates increasing clouds and afternoon thunderstorms, often accompanied by intense lightening. At other times, thick fog or a sudden snow may envelop the high country, obscuring all landmarks. If traveling off trail, particularly above treeline, carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. A GPS unit is also a valuable navigation tool, but dead batteries will render it useless.

Available Maps

The following maps cover the Lost Creek Wilderness and can be purchased at many area stores:

National Forest Maps:

  • Pike National Forest

 

National Geographic/Trails Illustrated:

  • #105 Tarryall Mountains

 

USGS 7.5 Minute Quadrangles:

  • Mount Logan
  • Shawnee
  • Bailey
  • Observatory Rock
  • Topaz Mountain
  • Windy Peak
  • Green Mountain
  • Farnum Peak
  • McCurdy Mountain
  • Cheesman Lake
  • Tarryall
  • Hackett Mountain

 

Wilderness Regulations

In the Lost Creek Wilderness, please adhere to these regulations. The following are prohibited:

  1. Possessing or using a motor vehicle or motorized equipment (except on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway).
  2. Possessing or using a hang glider or bicycle.
  3. Landing of aircraft, or dropping or picking up of any supplies, materials or persons by aircraft is prohibited.
  4. Having groups of more than 15 persons and/or 10 saddle, pack, or draft animals.
  5. Possessing dogs, unless under physical restraint of a leash.
  6. Camping within 100 feet of trails, lakes, or streams.
  7. Building or using a campfire within 100 feet of trails, lakes, or streams.
  8. Hitching, hobbling, or tethering saddle, pack, or draft animals within 100 feet of trails, lakes, or streams.
  9. Possessing, storing, or transporting unprocessed feed for horses or other stock.
  10. Possessing or using a cart, wagon, or other vehicle is prohibited. Wheelchairs suitable for indoor use are exempted.
  11. Short-cutting switchbacks on trails. (Exceptions include uses which may be necessary and appropriate in emergencies or for the proper administration of the area, and for access with mechanical wheelchairs for people with disabilities.)

Ben Tyler Trail #606

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,260 Feet (2518 Meters) North Ben Tyler Trailhead
High point: 11,650 Feet (3551 Meters)
End elevation: 9,550 Feet (2911 Meters) Colorado Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate to difficult
Length, one-way: 11.4 Miles (18.3 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Shawnee, Mount Logan, and Observatory Rock
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • North Ben Tyler Trailhead
    Rock Creek Trailhead

Connecting trails:

  • Craig Park Trail
  • Colorado Trail

Description

This popular trail is named for Ben Tyler, who lived with his family in the gulch that bears his name. He operated a lumber mill during gold rush days, hauling the sawed timber over the ridge and into Fairplay. The trail offers spectacular views to the north and south from its high point, and the changing colors in September, particularly in the large aspen groves in Ben Tyler Gulch, are outstanding.

Beginning at the North Ben Tyler Trailhead, the trail climbs steeply in a series of switchbacks. Please do not cut across these switchbacks. After the last switchback, the trail becomes less steep up to a crossing of Ben Tyler Creek. At this point the trail gradient increases and the valley tightens. There are few areas along this section of trail suitable for camping. The final section up to the Craig Park Trail junction is a series of long switchbacks that, when traversing east, offer spectacular views down Ben Tyler Gulch. The Craig Park Trail junction is marked by a sign indicating the Craig Park Trail to the left (east), and the Ben Tyler Trail to the right (west). The trail continues to climb, crossing Ben Tyler Creek again, to a high saddle above treeline, which offers some spectacular views. From here the trail descends to the south into the Rock Creek drainage. As you near the trailhead, you pass the remains of an old lumber camp. Eventually, you reach the Wilderness boundary and the end of a forest road. Continue hiking down the road and, where the road leaves the creek, continue following the trail down along the creek to join the Colorado Trail

Brookside-McCurdy Trail #607

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,040 Feet (2450 Meters) Payne Creek/Brookside Trailhead
High point: 11,880 Feet (3621 Meters)
End elevation: 7,560 Feet (2304 Meters) Twin Eagles Trailhead
Difficulty Moderate to difficult
Length, one-way: 32.6 Miles (52.4 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Shawnee, Topaz Mountain, Farnum Peak, and McCurdy Mountain
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • Payne Creek/Brookside Trailhead
    North Fork Trailhead
    Lost Park Trailhead
    Twin Eagles Trailhead

Connecting trails:

  • Payne Creek Trail
  • Brookside AG Trail
  • Craig Park Trail
  • Colorado Trail
    5) Wigwam Trail
    6) Ute Creek Trail
    7) McCurdy Park Trail
    8) Lake Park Trail
    9) Hankins Pass Trail

Description

The Brookside-McCurdy Trail is the major north-south artery through the middle portion of the Lost Creek Wilderness. Along the way it connects with nine other trails, providing numerous opportunities to create loop trips of various lengths. Throughout its length, this trail presents the hiker with a wide variety of the different landscapes found in the Lost Creek Wilderness, including different forest types, wide-open parks, wild formations of red Pikes Peak granite, and tremendous views. Deer, elk, and bighorn sheep are some of the wildlife that may be seen along the trail.

Starting from the Payne Creek/Brookside Trailhead, the trail rises gently and soon reaches the junction at which the Payne Creek and Brookside-McCurdy trails diverge. The Payne Creek Trail goes left and the Brookside-McCurdy continues south, climbing gradually at first, and then steepening as it climbs the Platte River Range. After crossing the boundary of the Lost Creek Wilderness, the trail eventually meets the Brookside AG Trail, which rises up from the west after leaving MacArthur Gulch. From here, the Brookside trail continues to climb up and over into Craig Park, where it intersects with the Craig Park Trail.

The next segment rises south out of Craig Park over a saddle, and then descends into North Lost Park, where it leaves the Wilderness and joins the Colorado Trail. A couple of miles down valley from this junction, the North Fork Trailhead is reached and the two trails part. The Colorado Trail runs east and north to the Rolling Creek Trailhead and the Brookside-McCurdy veers south following North Lost Creek to the Lost Park Trailhead.

From Lost Park the trail goes south across Lost Creek to a junction with the Wigwam Trail. The Wigwam Trail goes left (east) and the Brookside-McCurdy continues south and soon re-enters the Wilderness, following Indian Creek upstream to a high saddle between the Lost Creek and Tarryall Creek drainages, where it meets the Ute Creek Trail from the south. Here the trail swings southeast, continuing to climb for a short distance to its high point on the southwest shoulder of Bison Peak. From the high point, the trail follows a ridge to the southeast through the remnants of an old burn. This stretch has tremendous views to the south and west, particularly in the Fall, but be aware of your exposure to lightening from summer afternoon storms. Eventually the trail drops down to the pass at the south end of McCurdy Park and meets the McCurdy Park Trail.

The trail then descends a short distance to a junction with the Lake Park Trail. The Brookside-McCurdy continues south, dropping steeply then leaving the Wilderness, to a junction with the Hankins Pass Trail. One last gentle downhill leg brings you out at the Twin Eagles Trailhead.

Craig Park Trail #608

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 11,100 Feet (3383 Meters) Ben Tyler Trail junction
High point: 11,580 Feet (3530 Meters)
End elevation: 10,940 Feet (3335 Meters) Brookside-McCurdy Trail junction
Difficulty Easy (once you get there)
Length, one-way: 6.0 Miles (9.6 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through early Fall
USGS Quads: Mount Logan, Shawnee, and Topaz Mountain
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • This trail has no trailhead. It is reached from either the Ben Tyler Trail or from the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.

Connecting trails:

  • Ben Tyler Trail
  • Brookside-McCurdy Trail

Description

The Craig Park Trail lies in a long, high mountain valley between the Kenosha Mountains and Platte River Mountains. This open east-west valley holds the headwaters of Craig Creek, and the trail parallels the north side of the Creek. The eastern terminus of the trail is the junction with the Brookside-McCurdy Trail and its western terminus is at its junction with the Ben Tyler Trail. The Craig Park Trail itself is a very gradual and easy hike. However, to reach the trail you must hike up either the Brookside-McCurdy Trail or the Ben Tyler Trail. Craig Creek offers very good opportunities for fishing for brook trout.

From the junction with the Brookside-McCurdy Trail, bear right and hike west. The trail begins a gentle ascent from this point, always staying north of the stream. There are numerous sites for camping along the length of the trail to a saddle in the ridge at the head of Craig Park. Upon reaching the saddle, the trail descends westerly to the junction of the Ben Tyler and Craig Park trails.

Wigwam Trail #609

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,160 Feet (2543 Meters) Wigwam Trailhead
High point: 10,170 Feet (3100 Meters)
End elevation: 9,940 Feet (3029 Meters) Brookside-McCurdy Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 11.3 Miles (18.2 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Spring through Fall
USGS Quads: Cheesman Lake, Green Mountain, Windy Peak, and Topaz Mountain
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • Wigwam Trailhead
  • Lost Park Trailhead

Connecting trails:

  • Goose Creek Trail
  • Rolling Creek Trail
  • Brookside-McCurdy Trail

Description

This trail provides a less-crowded alternative to the Goose Creek Trailhead. The trail accesses the east side of the Lost Creek Wilderness by following the Wigwam Creek drainage up to an open meadow called Wigwam Park and onto a saddle at the end of the valley. Beyond the saddle, the trail drops down into East Lost Park, then crosses Lost Creek and continues west up the creek to the Lost Park Trailhead. Granite domes along the trail present many opportunities for rock climbing and the nearby streams provide good fishing.

From the Wigwam Trailhead parking area, follow the signs a short distance on an old logging road to a sign on your right where the trail leaves the road. The trail heads generally northwest along Wigwam Creek. The trail rises with a moderate, gradually steepening grade into Wigwam Park. Wigwam Park has a number of beaver ponds and campsites. In Wigwam Park, the trail intersects the north end of the Goose Creek Trail, which runs up a valley to the south and over a pass into the Lost Creek drainage. Just west of the Goose Creek junction, the trail intersects the south end of the Rolling Creek Trail. From here the Rolling Creek Trail climbs steeply to the north, over a ridge, and down the north side to the Colorado-Rolling Creek trailhead on Forest road 560, west of Wellington Lake.

From Wigwam Park the trail continues its gentle rise to the pass at the end of the valley and then descends into East Lost Park, an open valley surrounded by outcrops and domes of Pikes Peak granite. In the middle of the park, the trail crosses Lost Creek and then follows it upstream to the Lost Park Trailhead and its intersection with the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.

Goose Creek Trail #612

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,220 Feet (2505 Meters) Goose Creek Trailhead
High point: 10,140 Feet (3090 Meters)
End elevation: 9,500 Feet (2895 Meters) Wigwam Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 9.4 Miles (15.2 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Spring through Fall
USGS Quads: McCurdy Mountain, Windy Peak
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate to heavy

Access

  • Goose Creek Trailhead

Connecting trails:

  • Hankins Pass Trail
  • McCurdy Park Trail
  • Wigwam Trail

Description

The popular Goose Creek Trail provides access into the southeast portion of the Lost Creek Wilderness. The trail winds north and eventually ends in Wigwam Park at a junction with the Wigwam Trail. The Goose Creek Trail offers primitive camping, fishing in Goose Creek, and spectacular views of formations of red Pikes Peak granite. A side trail leads to several historic buildings. These old buildings and machinery date back to the late 1800s/early 1900s, when a company attempted, without success, to create a reservoir by sealing the underground channel of the Lost Creek. Above here, the creek is Lost Creek, but when it emerges from underground just south of the shafthouse, it is known as Goose Creek.

There are horse corrals near the trailhead that are available for public use. The lower part of the valley is rather tight and good, legal campsites (at least 100' from water and trail) are scarce, so plan to begin hiking from the trailhead early enough to find a good campsite. This area sees heavy use, so do all you can to keep your impact to a minimum.

Description

From the trailhead sign near the parking area, follow the trail a short way down to a wooden footbridge across a Hankins Creek. Just across the bridge is a trail junction. The Hankins Pass Trail heads left (west) and Goose Creek Trail heads right (east). After reaching Goose Creek, the trail follows the creek upstream, crossing over on a large metal footbridge. The valley gradually opens up revealing the domes and spires characteristic of the area. The trail soon begins to gain elevation, rising up away from the creek.

A sign marks the turn off to the historic buildings and shaft house remnants. At this point the trail begins to gain elevation rapidly before dropping down into Watkins Gulch. The trail then begins to head up again in a general northwesterly direction, reaching the McCurdy Park Trail junction at a high point overlooking the valley. The McCurdy Park Trail heads west from the junction and the Goose Creek Trail bears right (north) up to a saddle east of a granite tower with a distinctive leaning pinnacle before dropping down into Wigwam Park to end at its intersection with the Wigwam Trail.

McCurdy Park Trail #628

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 9,420 Feet (2871 Meters) Goose Creek Trail junction
High point: 8,900 Feet (2713 Meters)
End elevation: 10,900 Feet (3322 Meters) Brookside-McCurdy Trail junction
Difficulty Difficult
Length, one-way: 7.3 Miles (11.8 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: McCurdy Mountain
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • This trail has no trailhead access. It is reached only via the Goose Creek or Brookside-McCurdy Trails.

Connecting trails:

  • Goose Creek Trail
    Brookside-McCurdy Trail

Description

One of the most remote trails in the Lost Creek Wilderness, the McCurdy Park Trail traverses some of the more spectacular country in the Wilderness. Near where it crosses Lost Creek, you can see entrances to some of the creek's underground passages, which give it its name. The McCurdy Park Trail is most often hiked as part of a larger loop, which incorporates parts of the Goose Creek, Brookside-McCurdy, Lake Park, and Hankins Pass Trails. Due to the tight rugged terrain, it takes a little time and skill to locate a good legal campsite (at least 100' from streams and trail). Leave yourself a little daylight for the task.

From the north end at its junction with the Goose Creek Trail, the trail drops rapidly down into Refrigerator Gulch, then climbs back out and winds among the granite outcrops before dropping again to Lost Creek. After crossing Lost Creek, the trail climbs over a ridge, then up a side drainage toward McCurdy Park. A long uphill climb brings you at last to McCurdy Park, a high, open valley surrounded by granite crags. To the east is the McCurdy Park Tower, which yields some moderate technical rock climbs. At the south end of the park, the trail meets the Brookside-McCurdy Trail and ends.

Hankins Pass Trail #630

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,200 Feet (2500 Meters) Goose Creek Trail junction
High point: 10,000 Feet (3050 Meters)
End elevation: 8,960 Feet (2730 Meters) Brookside-McCurdy Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 6.5 Miles (10.5 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Spring through Fall
USGS Quads: McCurdy Mountain
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • Goose Creek Trailhead.

Connecting trails:

  • 2) Resthouse Trail
  • Lake Park Trail
  • Lizard Rock Trail
  • Brookside-McCurdy Trail

Description

The Hankins Pass Trail is the southernmost trail in the Lost Creek Wilderness. From the east, the trail passes through dense forest to pleasant open meadows and aspen groves. From the junction with the Lake Park Trail at the top of Hankins Pass, the trail drops down the west side of the Tarryall Mountains to a junction with the Lizard Rock Trail, and then continues to descend to meet the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.

There are horse corrals near the Goose Creek Trailhead that are available for public use. There are a number of campsites between the trailhead and Hankins Pass. However, there are few areas suitable for camping west of the pass due to the steep gradient of the trail.

From the Goose Creek Trailhead, hike downhill to a footbridge across Hankins Gulch. Just across the creek, the Hankins Pass Trail heads west (left), while the Goose Creek Trail goes east (right). Climbing at first up through a forested valley, the trail eventually reaches a series of open meadows surrounded by aspen groves. The trail from here to the pass is beautiful in late September when the aspen leaves are changing color. At the top of Hankins Pass is a junction with the Lake Park Trail, which heads north (right) toward Lake Park, while the Hankins Pass Trail begins it's descent to the west.

The grade on the west side of the pass is quite a bit steeper than the gradual rise up to the pass from the east. After a short descent, the trail reaches the wilderness boundary and the junction with the Lizard Rock Trail. The Lizard Rock Trail leads south to the Spruce Grove Campground, while the Hankins Pass Trail continues down in a northwesterly direction to its end at the junction with the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.

Payne Creek Trail #637

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,040 Feet (2450 Meters) Payne Creek/Brookside Trailhead
High point: 9,890 Feet (8085 Meters)
End elevation: 9,300 Feet (2835 Meters) Colorado Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 9.8 Miles (15.8 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Shawnee, Bailey, and Windy Peak
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • Payne Creek/Brookside Trailhead

Connecting trails:

  • Brookside-McCurdy Trail
  • Colorado Trail

Description

This trail provides access into the northeast portion of the Lost Creek Wilderness. It is a relatively gentle trail overall, climbing gradually through ponderosa and lodgepole pine forests and aspen groves, and then descending into open meadows along Craig Creek.

Leaving the trailhead near Bailey, the Payne Creek Trail and the Brookside-McCurdy Trail rise gently and soon reach a trail junction at the foot of a large private meadow. Here the two trails diverge, with the Payne Creek Trail bearing left and the Brookside-McCurdy Trail bearing right. The trail crosses a small drainage and then rises gradually along the west side of Payne Gulch, crossing the wilderness boundary. After crossing Payne Creek, the climb to the high point is fairly steep as the trail climbs up an old logging road. The summit is in a pleasant aspen grove, then the trail descends into the Craig Creek drainage. In the large open meadow along Craig Creek, the trail first runs down the north side of the creek, then crosses to the south. The trail then continues in a southeasterly direction until you reach the Bluestem Draw flowing north into Craig Creek. Shortly thereafter, the trail crosses another unnamed drainage flowing north into Craig Creek and begins to climb out of the Craig Creek drainage to meet the Colorado Trail.

Lake Park Trail #639

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 10,000 Feet (3050 Meters) Hankins Pass Trail junction
High point: 11,560 Feet (3525 Meters)
End elevation: 10,750 Feet (3280 Meters) Brookside-McCurdy Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 4.6 Miles (7.4 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer
USGS Quads: McCurdy Mountain
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • This trail has no trailhead. It is reached from either the Hankins Pass Trail or the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.

Connecting trails:

  • Hankins Pass Trail
  • Brookside-McCurdy Trail

Description

The Lake Park Trail accesses the high country west of Goose Creek. From the top of Hankins Pass it winds up through formations of red Pikes Peak granite and offers long views to the south and west. Lake Park itself a small open park at almost 11,000' surrounded by granite formations and offering water for camping.

The trail climbs north from the top of Hankins Pass through fairly open rocky country into Lake Park. Skirting the west side of the park, it continues to rise between granite walls to its high point. From there it drops down to the north and west to join the Brookside-McCurdy Trail above Hay Creek.

Rolling Creek Trail #663

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,360 Feet (2550 Meters) Rolling Creek Trailhead
High point: 10,650 Feet (3250 Meters)
End elevation: 9,640 Feet (2940 Meters) Wigwam Trail junction
Difficulty The first half is easy, but the second half is difficult.
Length, one-way: 6.4 Miles (10.4 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Windy Peak
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • Rolling Creek Trailhead

Connecting trails:

  • Colorado Trail
  • Wigwam Trail

Description

This popular trail provides access into the northeast side of the Lost Creek Wilderness. The first third of the trail south from the trailhead is an easy, pleasant hike following gently rolling terrain. However, the next part of the trail is quite steep and the trail up the tight canyon on the north side is often blocked by downed trees. The trail passes around to the west of the Castle and offers some very dramatic views of this prominent pinnacle. The gentle first section of the trail, up to the Wilderness boundary, is popular with mountain bikers, but the rest of the trail is entirely in designated wilderness, where mountain bikes are prohibited.

From the trailhead at the end of the road, the Colorado Trail bears right (west) and the Rolling Creek Trail heads left (east). The first part of this trail is very easy to hike, with only minor "ups and downs" and small stream crossings. Just after crossing the much larger Rolling Creek, the Wilderness boundary is reached. Soon thereafter, a tight canyon is entered and the trail becomes very steep. The high point of the trail is a saddle between the Rolling Creek and Wigwam Creek drainages. From the saddle the trail continues south down into Wigwam Park, where it meets the Wigwam Trail.

Colorado Trail #1776-Rolling Creek Trailhead to Rock Creek Trailhead

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,360 Feet (2550 Meters) Rolling Creek Trailhead
High point: 10,880 Feet (3320 Meters)
End elevation: 10,140 Feet (3090 Meters) Long Gulch Trailhead
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 15.2 Miles (24.5 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Windy Peak, Topaz Mountain
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • Rolling Creek Trailhead
    North Fork Trailhead
    Long Gulch Trailhead
    Rock Creek Trailhead

Connecting trails:

  • Rolling Creek Trail
  • Payne Creek Trail
  • Brookside-McCurdy Trail
  • Ben Tyler Trail

Description

The Colorado Trail brings the hiker up out of ponderosa pine forests north of the Lost Creek Wilderness and into the open parks and lodgepole pine and Douglas fir forests to the west. The first section of the Colorado Trail closely follows the old Hooper Trail, a logging road built in the late 1800s into North Lost Park. The next part, from the North Fork trailhead to the Long Gulch trailhead, is outside of the Wilderness and is frequently used by mountain bikers as part of a loop ride. The last part continues west through open forests of ponderosa and bristlecone pine to the Rock Creek trailhead.

From the Rolling Creek Trailhead, the Colorado Trail heads west a short distance, then joins the old Hooper Trail logging road and turns southwest. The old logging road that is very distinct and its gentle grade makes for pleasant hiking. A short distance after crossing the Wilderness boundary, the trail meets the south end of the Payne Creek Trail. The Colorado Trail continues rising to the southwest, but before reaching the saddle it leaves the old road and begins to climb rather steeply to the south to avoid some large bogs. At the top of the saddle it rejoins the old road and descends into the North Fork Lost Creek drainage. Upon reaching the creek, the trail joins the Brookside-McCurdy Trail at the North Fork Trailhead. From here the two trails follow the same route up North Lost Park for roughly 2.5 miles. When the two split, the Colorado Trail continues up North Lost Park to its west end and then descends to the Long Gulch Trailhead.

From the Long Gulch trailhead, the trail soon re-enters the Wilderness. It winds west through the gentle country at the head of the Black Canyon, then descends to Rock Creek to a junction with the south end of the Ben Tyler trail. A short climb out of the Rock Creek drainage brings you to the Rock Creek Trailhead.

Ute Creek Trail #629

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,760 Feet (2670 Meters) Ute Creek Trailhead
High point: 11,160 Feet (3400 Meters)
End elevation: 11,160 Feet (3400 Meters) Bison Pass
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 4.1 Miles (6.6 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Farnum Peak
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #105
Usage level: Moderate

Access

  • Ute Creek Trailhead

Connecting trails:

  • Brookside-McCurdy Trail

Description

The Ute Creek trail climbs steadily through open forest to the top of Bison Pass with views of the Tarryall Valley. It is often used to access Bison Peak, the high point of the Lost Creek Wilderness at 12,431 feet (3789 meters).

From the parking area at the Ute Creek Trailhead, the trail crosses a bridge over Tarryall Creek and travels east through a low saddle into the Ute Creek drainage, where it enters the Wilderness. From there it climbs up a ridge between two branches of Ute Creek to the top of Bison Pass, where it ends at a junction with the Brookside-McCurdy trail Lost Creek Wilderness Trailheads

Lost Creek Wilderness Trailheads

Very few trailheads have any facilities (water, restrooms, corrals, etc). Parking may be limited and access roads may be rough. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. Check with the South Platte Ranger District or the Clear Creek Ranger District for current information.

North Ben Tyler Trailhead

A small trailhead at the side of US 285, this trailhead provides access to the north end of the Ben Tyler Trail.

Drive west from Denver on US 285 for 34 miles to the town of Shawnee. Continue on US 285 about 2 miles. The trailhead and small parking area will be on the left (south) side of the highway.

Payne Creek/Brookside Trailhead

This trailhead provides access to the Payne Creek Trail and the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.

Drive west from Denver on US 285 for 30 miles to the town of Bailey. In the center of Bailey, turn off Highway 285 opposite the Post Office onto Park County 64. As you turn off Highway 285, the road crosses the North Fork of the South Platte River and passes between the Post Office and Moore Lumber. After driving .45 miles, you will reach a "Y". Bear left on the gravel road and drive an additional 1.6 miles to the trailhead parking area. This parking area serves as the trailhead for the Payne Creek Trail and the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.

Rolling Creek Trailhead

This trailhead provides access to the Rolling Creek Trail and cross-state Colorado Trail. Parking is in two areas, one just off Park County 68 (Forest Service Road 560) where the Colorado Trail crosses it, with room for horse trailers and large vehicles, and a second small one with more limited parking .25 mile up an old road (the Colorado Trail) at the intersection of the two trails.

Drive west from Denver on US 285 for 30 miles to the town of Bailey. At the bottom of the long hill into Bailey, turn left on Park County 68 (Forest Service Road 560). Drive east 8 miles to a small parking area on the south (right) side of the road. A sign at the parking area identifies this point as the crossing of the Colorado Trail and access to the Rolling Creek Trail.

Wigwam Trailhead

This trailhead, on the edge of the 2002 Hayman burn, has ample parking in its upper and lower lots. The Wigwam Trail begins at the west end of the lower lot.

Drive west from Denver on US 285 for 23 miles to Pine Junction. Turn south (left) at Pine Junction on to Jefferson County 126 toward Pine and Buffalo Creek. Drive 21.8 miles on Jefferson County 126. Turn south (right) onto Forest Road 211 that leads toward Cheesman Reservoir. Travel 2 miles and bear west (right) at the sign pointing to Goose Creek. Drive 1.1 miles in a westerly direction until you reach a fork in the road. Bear right on Forest Road 560 and, again bearing right at the next fork, drive 4 miles to the road to the trailhead. Turn left and drive 1.3 miles to the trailhead parking.

Goose Creek Trailhead

This frequently-crowded trailhead, on the edge of the 2002 Hayman burn, provides access to the Goose Creek Trail and Hankins Pass Trail. The area just west of the trailhead was badly burned during the fire although the parking area itself was not. Be alert to the potential for falling snags, particularly in windy conditions. The badly burned area extends only about one-quarter mile beyond the trailhead.

Drive west from Denver on US 285 for 23 miles to Pine Junction. Turn south (left) at Pine Junction on to Jefferson County 126 toward Pine and Buffalo Creek. Drive 21.8 miles on Jefferson County 126. Turn south (right) onto Forest Road 211 that leads toward Cheesman Reservoir. Travel 2 miles and bear west (right) at the sign pointing to Goose Creek. Drive 1.1 miles in a westerly direction until you reach a fork in the road. Bear left at the fork and stay on Forest Road 211. From this fork drive 5.2 miles to a road intersection south of Molly Gulch Campground. Turn right and drive 4.7 miles to the Goose Creek Trailhead access road. Half way along this road you'll pass Goose Creek Campground. At the trailhead access sign turn west (right) and drive 1.3 miles to the trailhead parking. The Hankins Pass Trail begins at the junction with the Goose Creek Trail just down the hill from the trailhead.

Spruce Grove Trailhead

This trailhead provides access to the Lost Creek Wilderness via the Lizard Rock Trail. The Wilderness boundary is located near the trail's junction with the Hankins Pass Trail.

Drive west from Colorado Springs on US 24 approximately 35 miles to Lake George. Just beyond Lake George, turn right on the Tarryall Road (County 77) and drive approximately 13.5 miles to the Spruce Grove Campground. Trailhead parking is just off the Tarryall Road outside the campground entrance.

Twin Eagles Trailhead

This trailhead is located at the south end of the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.

To reach the trailhead, drive west from Colorado Springs on US 24 approximately 35 miles to Lake George. Just beyond Lake George, turn right on the Tarryall Road (County 77) and drive approximately 13.5 miles to the Spruce Grove Campground. Then continue 1.5 miles northwest on the Tarryall Road to the Twin Eagles Trailhead.

Ute Creek Trailhead

This small roadside trailhead provides access to the Ute Creek Trail.

To reach the trailhead, follow the directions for the Spruce Grove Trailhead above and continue approximately 7 miles northwest on the Tarryall Road. The trailhead is on the north side of the road 3 miles southeast of Tarryall Reservoir. Cross the footbridge onto the trail.

Lost Park Trailhead

This trailhead, located just west of the Lost Park Campground, provides access to the Brookside-McCurdy Trail, both northbound and southbound, and the Wigwam Trail.

Drive west from Denver approximately 52 miles on US 285 to approximately 2.5 miles west of Kenosha Pass (and 1 mile before Jefferson), turn left (east) on Park County 56 (Lost Park Road) and drive about 20 miles east to the entrance of the Lost Park Campground at the end of the road. As you approach the campground the trailhead parking is on your right. There is a small fee for parking. Trail access to the south is found at the parking area. Trail access to the north is on your left just after entering the campground.

North Fork Trailhead

This small, little-used trailhead on the North Fork of Lost Creek provides access to the Brookside-McCurdy Trail, both northbound and southbound, and the Colorado Trail, eastbound and westbound.

Drive west from Denver approximately 52 miles on US 285 to approximately 2.5 miles west of Kenosha Pass (and 1 mile before Jefferson), turn left (east) on Park County 56 (Lost Park Road) and drive about 16 miles east to Forest Road 134. Turn left on 134 and drive 3 miles on a fairly rough road to its end at the trailhead. Low clearance vehicles and vehicles pulling trailers would be advised to use the Lost Park Trailhead.

Long Gulch Trailhead

This small trailhead provides access to the cross-state Colorado Trail.

Drive west from Denver approximately 52 miles on US 285 to approximately 2.5 miles west of Kenosha Pass (and 1 mile before Jefferson), turn left (east) on Park County 56 (Lost Park Road) and drive about 10.9 miles to Forest Road 817. Turn left and go 0.2 miles to the trailhead.

Rock Creek Trailhead

This trailhead provides access to the cross-state Colorado Trail as well as to the southernmost extension of the Ben Tyler Trail.

To reach the Rock Creek Trailhead, drive approximately 2.5 miles west of Kenosha Pass on US 285, turn east on Park County 56 (Lost Park Road). Travel about 7 miles and turn left (north) on Forest Road 133 (Rock Creek Road). Approximately .6 miles up this road is the Rock Creek Trailhead on the Colorado Trail.