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Friends of Mount Evans and Lost Creek Wilderness

Mount Evans Wilderness

autumn in coloradoThe Mount Evans Wilderness is located approximately 30 miles west of Denver. One of its more unique features is the Mount Evans Scenic Byway (Colorado 5) which forms a non-wilderness corridor to the top of Mount Evans in the center of the Wilderness. The road, two fourteen thousand foot peaks (Mt. Evans at 14,264 feet and Mt. Bierstadt at 14,060 feet), and close proximity to metropolitan Denver has resulted in an area with relatively heavy use most of the year.

Despite the likelihood of running into people, the area offers several unique features worthy of a visit. The Wilderness contains small regions of arctic tundra, which are rare south of the Arctic Circle. Unlike typical Colorado alpine tundra, which is dry and brittle once the snow recedes, arctic tundra holds numerous small pools of water. Ancient 2,000 year old Bristlecone pines, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats are common sights. The Wilderness is characterized by classic glacial landforms, with steep headwalls forming cirques and classic U-shaped valleys holding strings of alpine lakes. Moraines of glacial debris mark the edges and ends of where the ancient glaciers lay. Approximately 120 miles of trails provide access to the Wilderness. For more on the Mount Evans Wilderness, visit Wilderness.net.

History of Mount Evans

Mount Evans itself was named for John Evans, for Colorado's second territorial governor. Neighboring Mount Bierstadt was named for Albert Bierstadt, a well-known painter of landscapes of the American west in the latter half of the 1800s. He originally named Mount Evans for his wife, Rosalie, but it was later renamed Mount Evans in 1870 and a nearby 13,575' summit was named Mount Rosalie.

Special protection for the Mount Evans area began January 11, 1956, with the designation of the approximately 5,880-acre Abyss Lake Scenic Area under the precursor of the Wilderness Act, the "U-Regulations" of 1939. This was followed in 1980 by the creation of the Mount Evans Wilderness under the Colorado Wilderness Act.

Management

The 74,400-acre Mount Evans Wilderness lies on the South Platte Ranger District of the Pike National Forest (approximately 34,130 acres) and the Clear Creek Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest (approximately 40,270 acres). 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 Clear Creek 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 Mount Evans Wilderness and can be purchased at many area stores:

National Forest Maps:

  • Arapaho National Forest
  • Pike National Forest

National Geographic/Trails Illustrated:

  • #104 Idaho Springs, Georgetown, Loveland Pass

USGS 7.5 Minute Quadrangles:

  • Georgetown
  • Harris Park
  • Idaho Springs
  • Meridian Hill
  • Mount Evans
  • Mount Logan
  • Shawnee

Wilderness Regulations

In the Mt Evans 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.)

In addition, camping and campfires are prohibited within one half mile of the centerline of the Mount Evans road and on Summit Flats.

Cub Creek Trail #40

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,360 feet (2,550 meters) Cub Creek Trailhead
High point: 11,400 Feet (3475 Meters)
End elevation: 10,440 Feet (3180 Meters) Beaver Meadows junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 18.1 Miles (29.1 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Meridian Hill, Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Low to medium

Access

Cub Creek Trailhead: Currently, the Mount Evans Wilderness cannot be accessed from the Cub Creek Trailhead at the eastern end of the trail because of private land issues approximately 5 miles in from the trailhead. Access to the Cub Creek trail within the Wilderness is made via connecting trails.

Connecting trails:

  1. Indian Creek Trail
  2. Lost Creek Trail
  3. Meridian Trail
  4. Beartrack Lakes Trail
  5. Beaver Meadows Trai
  6. Resthouse Trail

Description

The Cub Creek Trail, in combination with intersecting trails, provides a number of loop hikes of varying lengths in the Upper Bear Creek basin. The trail traverses varied terrain, crossing glacial moraines, through open country of old burns and into dense, quiet forest. Currently, a private land issue approximately 5 miles in from the Cub Creek trailhead at the east end prevents hiking the full length of the trail.

At the west end, the trail begins in Resthouse Meadows at the junction of the Beaver Meadows and Resthouse Trails. Shortly after leaving the junction, you pass the stone chimney, all that remains of the Resthouse that gave the meadow its name. After crossing Bear Creek, the trail climbs south through the 1,050 acre Resthouse Meadows burn (1962). Soon after leaving the burn, you join the Beartracks Trail, which takes off to the south to Beartrack Lakes.

0.2 miles beyond this junction, you leave the Beartracks Trail, which runs northeasterly down the ridge toward the trailhead at Camp Rock. The Cub Creek Trail continues southeasterly to Truesdell Creek, then over a ridge to Lost Creek and a junction with the Lost Creek Trail. Continuing southeasterly, the trail climbs over a high saddle and descends to a junction with the Meridian Trail rising from the south. From here, the Trail descends into the Indian Creek Drainage to a junction with the Indian Creek Trail. At this point, the Trail continues easterly, but, due to the private land issues, the trail is closed after about 4 miles and this section of trail sees little use, maintenance, or clearing of deadfall.

Indian Creek Trail #40

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,780 Feet (2675 Meters) Lost Creek Trail junction
High point: 9,200 Feet (2805 Meters)
End elevation: 9,200 Feet (2805 Meters) Cub Creek Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 3.4 Miles (5.5 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Low

Access

The Indian Creek Trail has no trailhead of its own. It is generally accessed via the Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain Trailhead and the Lost Creek Trail. It can also be accessed by way of the non-motorized road through Groundhog Flat and up Grass Creek. Due to trail issues just south of Bear Creek on the Lost Creek trail, this is the recommended access for horses. Refer to the Meridian Hill quad. Both accesses are in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area and are closed from January 1 through June 14.

Connecting trails:

  1. Lost Creek Trail
  2. Cub Creek Trail

Description

The Indian Creek Trail is a quiet, little-used trail through open woods and grassy meadows in the east end of the Wilderness.

This trail begins about a mile up the Lost Creek Trail from the Lost Creek trailhead and the Lost Creek trail. From there it climbs easterly out of the drainage and into the valley of Grass Creek, where the road from Groundhog Flats meets it. From here the trail continues southerly through relatively gentle terrain and open forest to its junction with the Cub Creek trail.

Lost Creek Trail #42

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 9,060 Feet (2760 Meters) Lost Creek Trailhead
High point: 10,840 Feet (3305 Meters)
End elevation: 10,840 Feet (3305 Meters) Cub Creek Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 3.4 Miles (5.5 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Low

Access

Access is gained via the Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain Trailhead. The trailhead is in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area and is closed from January 1 through June 14.

Connecting trails:
  1. Captain Mountain Trail
  2. Indian Creek Trail
  3. Cub Creek Trail

Description

Beginning in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area, Lost Creek Trail descends through open forest to cross Bear Creek, then climbs along Lost Creek, gradually entering increasingly dense forest and eventually meeting the Cub Creek Trail at the lower end of a high, open meadow.

From the trailhead, the trail descends about a half mile to a bridge over Bear Creek. If you watch closely to the west of the trail on the way down, you may spot the foundations of the old Bear Creek guard station. After the bridge, the trail may become a bit vague as it climbs a rocky ridge to avoid issues on the original trail along Lost Creek because of beaver dams. Until the beaver problems are resolved, this section of the trail is not recommended for horses. About a mile in from the trailhead, the Indian Creek Trail takes off to the east. The Lost Creek Trail continues up the Lost Creek drainage through relatively dense forest, beginning to open up into a meadow just before its junction with the Cub Creek Trail.

Beartrack Lakes Trail #43

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 9,050 Feet (2760 Meters) Camp Rock Campground
High point: 11,160 Feet (3401 Meters)
End elevation: 11,160 Feet (3401 Meters) Lower Beartrack Lake
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 5.4 Miles (8.7 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: High

Access

Trail is accessed via the Camp Rock Trailhead. The Camp Rock Trailhead is in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area and is closed from January 1 through June 14. The Beartrack Lakes Trail is found at the east end of the parking lot and the Beaver Meadows Trail at the west.

Connecting trails:

  1. Beaver Meadows Trail
  2. Cub Creek Trail
  3. Roosevelt Lakes Trail

Description

This popular trail climbs the ridge between Truesdell Creek and Beartracks Creek to Lower Beartrack Lake. Expect to encounter many other hikers on summer weekends.

Beginning at the Camp Rock Campground, the trail travels through a forested environment and along a creek for about a mile. On crossing Bear Creek, it enters an old burn. In 1998, about 485 acres were burned in the Beartracks Fire. This fire is believed to have been started by a careless hiker. After climbing up through the burn, you re-enter the forest, and later skirt the edge of another older burn. This is the Resthouse Meadows Fire that burned 1,050 acres in 1962, prior to the designation of the Wilderness, and an observant hiker may spot old dozer lines. Farther up the ridge, the trail joins the Cub Creek Trail for about .2 miles then continues southwest. Shortly before the trail crosses Beartrack Creek, the Roosevelt Lakes Trail takes off to the south. Just after crossing the creek, you reach the trail's end at Lower Beartracks Lake.

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Beaver Meadows Trail #44

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,780 Feet (2675 Meters) Lost Creek Trail junction
High point: 9,200 Feet (2805 Meters)
End elevation: 9,200 Feet (2805 Meters) Cub Creek Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 3.4 Miles (5.5 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: High

Access

The Beaver Meadows Trail has no trailhead of its own. It is accessed via the Camp Rock Trailhead. The Beaver Meadows Trail is found at the west end of the parking lot and the Beartrack Lakes Trail at the east. The trailhead is in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area and is closed from January 1 through June 14.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Beartrack Lakes Trail
  2. Cub Creek Trail
  3. Resthouse Trail

Description

The Beaver Meadows Trail climbs gradually from the Camp Rock Trailhead through open forest and grassy meadows, then up an old glacial moraine and on to Resthouse Meadows.

Within a mile of leaving the trailhead, the forest opens up into Beaver Meadows, with beaver ponds dotting the area. Two old camping shelters are seen to the north side of the trail on the edge of the meadow. Near the Wilderness boundary, you re-enter the forest and climb slowly to Resthouse Meadows, where the trail ends at its junction with the Cub Creek and Resthouse Trails.

Lincoln Lakes Trail #45

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 11,440 Feet (3485 Meters) Resthouse Trail junction
High point: 11,680 Feet (3560 Meters)
End elevation: 11,680 Feet (3560 Meters) Lincoln Lake
Difficulty Easy
Length, one-way: .5 Mile (.8 Kilometer)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Low

Access

The Lincoln Lake Trail has no trailhead, and is accessed via the Resthouse Trail.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Resthouse Trail

Description

A short, easy trail, but not easily accessed. The Lincoln Lake Trail provides varied scenery of an old burn, bristlecone pine forest, and timberline lake.

The Lincoln Lake Trail begins at its junction with the Resthouse Trail in the ghost forest created by the 700 acre Lincoln Lake burn (1968). The trail goes west through a living forest of Bristlecone pines. The trail fades as you come into view of Lincoln Lake. No fires or camping are permitted at the lake.

Captain Mountain Trail #46

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 10,600 Feet (3230 Meters) Echo Lake Campground
High point: 10,600 Feet (3230 Meters)
End elevation: 9,060 Feet (2760 Meters) Captain Mountain Trailhead
Difficulty Moderately difficult
Length, one-way: 8.0 Miles (12.8 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer
USGS Quads: Idaho Springs, Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Low

Access

Access is made via the Echo Lake Trailhead or the Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Lost Creek Trail
  2. Resthouse Trail
  3. Chicago Lakes Trail

Description

The quiet Captain Mountain Trail sees relatively little use and can be vague at times.

From the Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain Trailhead, the trail gradually climbs through lodgepole pine and aspen forest. It passes through a saddle just west of the 9,869 foot Captain Mountain, entering the wilderness. It then descends northward to Vance Creek and crosses over it to the north side. It then ascends the north side of the valley, then crosses Beaverdam Creek and climbs steadily through thick spruce and fir forest to the Echo Lake Trailhead.

Chicago Lakes Trail #52

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 10,640 Feet (3245 Meters) Echo Lake Trailhead
High point: 12,870 Feet (3920 Meters)
End elevation: 12,870 Feet (3920 Meters) Summit Lake
Difficulty Difficult
Length, one-way: 6.0 Miles (9.6 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Mount Evans, Georgetown, and Idaho Springs
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: High

Access

Access is made via the Echo Lake Trailhead or the Summit Lake Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Resthouse Trail
  2. Mount Evans Trail
  3. Summit Flats Trail

Description

This popular trail is often hiked in combination with the Mount Evans Trail to climb to the summit of Mount Evans. It lies in a classic U-shaped glacial valley with steep walls along the sides and at the end.

Leaving the Echo Lake Trailhead, the trail passes south of Echo Lake, then descends to Chicago Creek, where it joins a road up the valley to the Idaho Springs Reservoir. Just south of the reservoir, the trail enters the Wilderness and climbs upward through the 400 acre Reservoir Fire burn (1978). Abundant wildflowers stand out against the burned trees. Ignore a social trail leading across the creek to a popular bouldering area on the east side of the valley. Lower Chicago Lake sits just at treeline. The trail continues to the upper lake lake, above treeline. The lakes sit in a classic glacier-carved valley and offer excellent views of surrounding peaks. From the upper lake, the trail climbs steeply up the east side of the valley to a junction with the Mount Evans Trail at the north end of Summit Lake.

Hells Hole Trail #53

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 9,640 Feet (2940 Meters) Hells Hole Trailhead
High point: 11,500 Feet (3505 Meters)
End elevation: 11,500 Feet (3505 Meters) Hells Hole
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 4.0 Miles (6.4 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Georgetown
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: High

Access

Access is via the Hells Hole Trailhead. Connecting trails: None

Description

This is a very popular trail leading up into the glacial cirque known as Hells Hole.

Traveling along West Chicago Creek, the trail climbs steadily for about a mile to a bench above and west of the creek. The trail continues climbing, but less steeply, through lodgepole forest and into the bristlecone pines. The trail ends at timberline in Hell's Hole, in an open meadow where alpine willows grow at the base of Grey Wolf Mountain.

Roosevelt Lakes Trail #56

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 11,000 Feet (3355 Meters) Beartrack Trail junction
High point: 11,950 Feet (3640 Meters)
End elevation: 11,950 Feet (3640 Meters) Tanglewood Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 2.2 Miles (3.5 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Low

Access

This trail has no trailhead, but is accessed via the Beartrack Lakes Trail or the Tanglewood Trail.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Beartrack Lakes Trail
  2. Tanglewood Trail

Description

The Roosevelt Lakes Trail accesses two beautiful alpine lakes sitting in a cirque on the northeast side of Mount Rosalie.

From its junction with the Beartrack Lakes Trail near Lower Beartrack Lake, the trail climbs steeply onto the northeast shoulder of Mount Rosalie at timberline. Climbing more gently southward around the shoulder, the trail soon reaches the Roosevelt Lakes at 11,742 feet and continues less than a mile to the saddle between Mount Rosalie and the Pegmatite Points. At this point the trail becomes the Tanglewood Trail and drops into the trees and descends southward into the Deer Creek drainage.

Resthouse Trail #57

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 10,640 Feet (3245 Meters) Echo Lake Trailhead
High point: 11,360 Feet (3465 Meters)
End elevation: 10,550 Feet (3215 Meters) Beaver Meadows
Difficulty Moderately difficult
Length, one-way: 6.4 Miles (10.3 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park, Idaho Springs
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Moderate

Access

Access is via the Echo Lake Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Captain Mountain Trail
  2. Chicago Lakes Trail
  3. Lincoln Lake Trail
    4) Summit Flats Trail
    5) Cub Creek Trail
    6) Beaver Meadows Trail

Description

This high north-south trail accesses the upper Bear Creek basin from the Echo Lake Trailhead.

The first mile climbs gradually through the trees, then descends to Vance Creek. Crossing the creek, it climbs again southeasterly to cross a ridge. After crossing the ridge, it climbs slowly to the southwest and opens up into a meadow created by the 700 acre Lincoln Lake Fire (1968). Near here you may spot an old dozer line from the fire, prior to the designation of the Wilderness. Soon after entering the burn, you reach the junction with the Lincoln Lake Trail. From here the trail descends steeply through a ghost forest created by the 1968 fire. When the trail reaches the bottom of the slope at Resthouse Meadows, the Summit Flats Trail takes off to the west and about one quarter mile later you reach the trail's end at its junction with the Beaver Meadows and Cub Creek Trails.

Summit Flats Trail #82

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 12,850 Feet (3915 Meters) Summit Lake Trailhead
High point: 12,850 Feet (3915 Meters)
End elevation: 10,500 Feet (3200 Meters) Resthouse Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 4.3 Miles (6.9 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer
USGS Quads: Mount Evans, Harris Park
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Low

Access

Access is via the Summit Lake Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Resthouse Trail
  2. Chicago Lakes Trail

Description

This seldom used trail offers spectacular views as descends into the upper Bear Creek basin.

Hiking down from Summit Lake to Resthouse Meadows, the Summit Flats Trail presents outstanding views down the Bear Creek Basin to the plains beyond. From the parking lot at Summit Lake, cross the Mount Evans road and follow it easterly to the point where the trail takes off southeasterly across Summit Flats. The trail can be vague, so watch for cairns leading the way across the tundra. The trail becomes more clearly defined as you begin to descend the ridge between Bear Creek and Tumbling Creek and enter the timber.

South Chicago Creek Trail #90

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 9,920 Feet (3025 Meters) South Chicago Trailhead
High point: 11,200 Feet (3415 Meters)
End elevation: 11,200 Feet (3415 Meters)
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: .6 Miles (2.6 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer
USGS Quads: Georgetown
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Low

Access

Access is via the South Chicago Creek Trailhead. Connecting trails: None

Description

This is a short, quiet trail that rises gradually on an old road to the ruins of an old sawmill. Beyond the millsite, the trail gradually grows more vague before disappearing altogether. The more adventurous can keep climbing up out of the timber and onto the tundra beyond.

Abyss Lake Trail #602

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 9,620 Feet (2932 Meters) Abyss Trailhead
High point: 12,650 Feet (3856 Meters)
End elevation: 12,650 Feet (3856 Meters) Abyss Lake
Difficulty Difficult
Length, one-way: 8.8 Miles (14.1 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through early Fall
USGS Quads: Mt. Evans
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Moderate to high on the first part of trail; low at higher elevations.

Access

Access is via the Abyss Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Rosealie Trail

Description

The Abyss Lake Trail is a popular hiking trail that ends at Abyss Lake. The lake is nestled in a high glacial cirque between Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans. The elevation gain, together with the round trip distance of 18 miles makes this a strenuous day hike. The lower portion of the trail is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the "Scott Gomer Trail" because of its location along Scott Gomer Creek.

The first half of the trail heads northeasterly up the Scott Gomer Creek drainage through lodgepole pine forest. After the third crossing of Scott Gomer Creek you soon reach a trail junction where the Abyss Lake Trail joins the Rosalie Trail. Here the Rosalie Trail runs to the northwest up to Guanella Pass. Note that from here on, the trail may not be located as shown on many maps. For the next short distance you will be on both the Abyss Lake and Rosalie Trails. At the next junction, the Rosalie Trail goes right towards Deer Creek and the Abyss Lake Trail bears left and begins a series of fairly steep switchbacks, bearing again in a northeasterly direction. The trail reaches timberline and enters thick willows southwest of a small unnamed lake. Continue up the valley through the willows until you cross Lake Fork. From this point the trail turns westerly towards the Sawtooth ridge at the head of the cirque. The remnants of an airplane crash were visible for many years along this section of the trail, until they were hauled out by packstring in late 1996. The trail ends at Abyss Lake.

Rosalie Trail #603

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 11,669 Feet (3557 Meters) Guanella Pass Trailhead
High point: 11,800 Feet (3598 Meters)
End elevation: 9,280 Feet (2830 Meters) Deer Creek Trailhead
Difficulty Difficult
Length, one-way: 13.3 Miles (21.4 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through early Fall
USGS Quads: Mt. Evans, Harris Park
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Moderate

Access

Access is via the Guanella Pass Trailhead or the Deer Creek Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Abyss Lake Trail
  2. Threemile Trail
  3. Tranglwood Trail

Description

The Rosalie Trail is a popular trail extending from Guanella Pass to the southeast edge of the Mt. Evans Wilderness. It offers a variety of scenery, including spectacular views of Mt. Bierstadt and the glacial cirque on the south side of Mt. Evans.

The trail begins at Guanella Pass and ends at the Deer Creek Trailhead near the Deer Creek Campground. From Guanella Pass, take the trail leading south from the summit of the pass. As it begins to climb a steep hill, the trail veers east and south as it contours around the ridge. About a mile farther south watch for a series of marker posts through the willows as the trail gradually descends to the southeast. Eventually, the trail descends to cross Scott Gomer Creek and continues southeast over a low saddle and down the valley to join the Abyss Lake Trail coming up from the southwest. Less than a quarter mile further, the trails split, the Rosalie Trail going right and the Abyss Lake Trail going left.

The next stretch of the trail is steep in places as it climbs up a glacial moraine through an old 350-acre burn dating back to 1908. This section of the trail has some spectacular views of Mt. Bierstadt and the sheer south flank of Mt. Evans. As the trail again begins to descend the other side, you will soon reach the upper end of the Threemile Trail. The Threemile Trail goes south, then down to Threemile Creek, and the Rosalie Trail continues southeasterly down the Deer Creek drainage. Near the Wilderness boundary, the trail rises to the north away from the creek and eventually follows an old logging road to an intersection with the Tanglewood Trail. From this intersection, the Tanglewood Trail goes north up Tanglewood Creek and on to join the Roosevelt Lakes Trail. The Rosalie Trail turns south and goes downstream to the Deer Creek Trailhead.

Meridian Trail #604

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 9,070 Feet (2765 Meters) Meridian Trailhead
High point: 10,720 Feet (3270 Meters)
End elevation: 10,720 Feet (3270 Meters) Cub Creek Trail junction
Difficulty Easy
Length, one-way: 3.3 Miles (5.2 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Late Spring through Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Moderate

Access

Access is via the Meridian Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Cub Creek Trail

Description

This pleasant hike leads to a saddle on the boundary between Pike and Arapaho National Forests, and the boundary of the Mount Evans Wilderness. Southerly exposure makes this a good early or late season hike, and fall colors can be beautiful along this trail.

The trail leads north as it rises out of the Elk Creek drainage, then begins to bear in a northeasterly direction. This portion of the trail passes through several aspen groves, and offers some interesting vistas looking east and south. The saddle is marked by Wilderness boundary signs. Just beyond the saddle, the trail ends at its intersection with the Cub Creek Trail. Old maps had the designation "Meridian Campground" at the saddle, but nothing exists to indicate this was ever a developed campground.

Threemile Trail #635

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 8,960 Feet (2730 Meters) Threemile Trailhead
High point: 11,880 Feet (3620 Meters)
End elevation: 11,560 Feet (3520 Meters) Rosalie Trail junction
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 6.6 Miles (10.6 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through early Fall
USGS Quads: Mt. Evans, Mount Logan
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Moderate

Access

Access is via the Threemile Creek Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Rosalie Trail

Description

This popular hiking trail provides access into the heart of the southern half of the Mt. Evans Wilderness, offering spectacular high mountain scenery and vistas.

The first part of the trail follows Threemile Creek in a northeasterly direction. The trail is in a narrow valley with many stream crossings. As the trail swings more toward the east, the valley gradually begins to open up into a meadow. From a point east of Spearhead Mountain, the trail begins to rise steeply away from the creek in a series of switchbacks. At the top of the switchbacks the trail begins heading north. Shortly, you emerge from the trees into open tundra. Kataka Mountain will be on your left (west) and Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt will be ahead of you and slightly to the left. Continuing north, the trail descends to meet the Rosalie Trail.

Tanglewood Trail #636

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 9,280 Feet (2830 Meters) Deer Creek Trailhead
High point: 11,960 Feet (3545 Meters)
End elevation: 11,960 Feet (3545 Meters) boundary with Arapaho National Forest
Difficulty Moderate
Length, one-way: 3.7 Miles (5.9 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer through early Fall
USGS Quads: Harris Park
Other maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Moderate

Access

Access is via the Deer Creek Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Rosalie Trail
  2. Roosevelt Lakes Trail

Description

The Tanglewood Trail begins in the southeast corner of the Wilderness and climbs north to a saddle on the boundary between the Pike and Arapaho National Forests. From that point the trail continues north as the Roosevelt Lakes Trail and ties into the trails on the east side of the Mount Evans Wilderness.

From the Deer Creek Trailhead, the Tanglewood and Rosalie Trails go west and north up the Tanglewood Creek drainage to a junction just outside the Mount Evans Wilderness boundary. Here the two trails split and the Rosalie Trail bears left up an old logging road, while the Tanglewood Trail continues north along Tanglewood Creek. The trail climbs along Tanglewood Creek, then ascends toward the saddle above. The trail becomes steeper and more strenuous, particularly after leaving the trees. At the saddle between Rosalie Peak to the west and the Pegmatite Points to the east the trail becomes the Roosevelt Lakes Trail and enters the Arapaho National Forest.

Bierstadt Trail #711

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 11,670 Feet (3560 Meters) Guanella Pass Trailhead
High point: 14,060 Feet (4285 Meters)
End elevation: 14,060 Feet (4285 Meters) Mt. Bierstadt Summit
Difficulty Difficult
Length, one-way: 3.5 Miles (5.6 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer
USGS Quads: Mount Evans
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Very high

Access

Access is via the Guanella Pass Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Rosalie Trail

Description

This trail accesses the 14,060 foot summit of Mount Bierstadt. The trail lies above treeline and you should be alert to the likely development of summer afternoon storms with their accompanying lightening, particularly above treeline. An early start is recommended. Prepare for the possibility of snow or hail at any time of the year. Regulations require that all dogs must be on a leash.

Starting at either the upper parking lot or the lower parking lot just north of the pass, the trail descends gradually into a wetland willow thicket, also known as a willow carr. Damage to the willow carr by large numbers of peakbaggers winding their way through the willows, trying to keep their feet dry, and the erosion problems higher on the mountain, was what spurred the decision to create a single, sustainable trail to the summit. After much debate over Wilderness values vs. resource damage, it was decided to construct the raised boardwalk, which will allow the natural flow of water through the area and the recovery of vegetation along the route. At the low point of the trail, Scott Gomer Creek is crossed and the trail begins to rise toward Bierstadt's northwest shoulder. A tremendous amount of work was done by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, in partnership with the Forest Service, to create the new trail. Please respect their efforts and stay on the established tread. High on the northwest shoulder, the trail begins to rise more steeply and enters a rock field as it approaches the summit. Stepping on, rather than between, the rocks will go a long way toward preventing further erosion.

Mount Evans Trail #51

cub creek trail profile
Beginning elevation: 12,870 Feet (3920 Meters) Summit Lake
High point: 14,264 Feet (4348 Meters)
End elevation: 14,264 Feet (4348 Meters) Mount Evans Summit
Difficulty Difficult
Length, one-way: 2.5 Miles (4.0 Kilometers)
Recommended season: Summer
USGS Quads: Mount Evans
Other maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage level: Very high

Access

Access is via the Summit Lake Trailhead.

Connecting Trails:

  1. Chicago Lakes Trail
  2. Summit Flats Trail

Description

The Mount Evans Trail is a very busy trail with expansive views, leading to the summit of Mount Evans.

The trail leaves the north end of Summit Lake and climbs steeply west up the ridge toward Mount Spalding. The trail then follows the west side of the cirque above Summit Lake and ascends the west ridge of Mount Evans to the summit.

Mount Evans 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.

Guanella Pass Trailhead

A generally very crowded trailhead at the summit of Guanella Pass, it accesses the Bierstadt Trail, Rosalie Trail, and South Park/Squaretop Lakes Trail.

  • Drive west from Denver on US 285 approximately 40 miles to Grant. Turn right (north) on to Park County 62. Drive 13.5 miles to Guanella Pass.
  • Drive west from Denver on Interstate 70. Exit at Georgetown and follow the signs 11.5 miles from Georgetown to Guanella Pass.

Hells Hole Trailhead

Located just beyond the West Chicago Creek Campground, this trailhead provides access to the Chicago Creek Picnic Ground and the Hells Hole Trail.

  • Drive 6.5 miles south of Idaho Springs on Highway 103 to the West Chicago Creek Road. Turn right on the West Chicago Creek Road and drive for another 3 miles. The trailhead starts where the road ends. Walk right through the Chicago Creek Picnic Area.
  • South Chicago Creek Trailhead

    This little-used trailhead provides access to the South Chicago Creek Trail.

    Drive almost 9 miles south of Idaho Springs on Highway 103 to the Hefferman Gulch Road (FDR 247). Go right on FDR 247 1.25 mile, crossing from the east side of the creek to the west side about halfway up, then back to the east side just before the trailhead.

    Echo Lake Trailhead

    The Echo Lake Trailhead provides access to the Chicago Lakes Trail, Resthouse Trail, and Captain Mountain Trail. The Chicago Lakes and Resthouse Trails begin at a small parking area just before the entrance to the Echo Lake Campground. To reach the Captain Mountain Trail, hike from the parking area east along the road through the campground to the east end, where the trail begins.

    Drive approximately 15 miles south of Idaho Springs on Highway 103 to its junction at Echo Lake with Highway 5, the Mount Evans Road. Turn right briefly on Highway 5, then left just before the Mount Evans entrance. The parking area is just down the road toward the entrance to the Echo Lake Campground on the left side of the road.

    Summit Lake Trailhead

    This trailhead on the Mount Evans road provides access to the Chicago Lakes Trail, Summit Flats Trail, and Mount Evans Trail. Parking is in the Summit Lake parking lot.

    Follow the directions to the Echo Lake Trailhead above, but instead of turning left just before the Mount Evans entrance, continue through the fee station and up the road 9 miles to the Summit Lake parking lot. To reach the trail, hike east a short distance along the Mount Evans road from the parking lot to a sign marking the start of the trail.

    Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain Trailhead

    This trailhead provides access to the Captain Mountain Trail and Lost Creek Trail. The small parking area is located on the north side of the road. From the parking area, the Captain Mountain Trail goes northwest and the Lost Creek Trail goes south from the opposite side of the road. The trailhead is in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area and is closed from January 1 through June 14.

    From Denver, take I-70 west to the Evergreen Parkway exit, go 6 miles south on Hwy.74 to Evergreen Lake, and turn right on Upper Bear Creek Rd. Go 6.5 miles west on Upper Bear Creek Rd. to Cty. Rd. 480, then right on Cty. Rd. 480, 3 miles to the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area. From the entrance, continue 2.6 miles to the Lost Creek/Captain Mountain Trailhead.

    Camp Rock Trailhead

    This trailhead, located in the Camp Rock Campground, provides access to the Beartrack Lakes Trail and Beaver Meadows Trail. The trailhead is in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area and is closed from January 1 through June 14.

    From Denver, take I-70 west to Evergreen Parkway exit, go 6 miles south on Hwy.74 to Evergreen Lake, and turn right on Upper Bear Creek Rd. Go 6.5 miles west on Upper Bear Creek Rd. to Cty. Rd. 480, then right on Cty. Rd. 480 3 miles to the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area. From the entrance, continue 4.6 miles to the Camp Rock Campground. The Beartrack Lakes Trail leaves at the east end of the parking area and the Beaver Meadows Trail leaves at the west end.

    Cub Creek Trailhead

    This large, rather remote trailhead accesses the east end of the Cub Creek Trail.

    From Denver, take I-70 west to Evergreen Parkway exit. Go 6 miles S on Hwy.74 to the junction with Hwy. 73 in Evergreen, just below the Evergreen Lake Dam. Turn south on Highway 73 and drive almost a mile to Brook Forest Road, then right on Brook Forest Road for approximately 5 miles to Brook Forest. From Brook Forest, continue south on Black Mountain Road almost another mile to the Cub Creek Trailhead.


    Note: Currently, the Mount Evans Wilderness cannot be accessed from the Cub Creek Trailhead at the eastern end of the trail due to private land issues approximately 5 miles in from the trailhead. Access to the Cub Creek Trail within the Wilderness is made via connecting trails.


    Meridian Trailhead

    This small trailhead provides access to the Meridian Trail and is at the end of a short, rough road. Although it has a corral, there is little room to turn or park horse trailers of any size.

    Drive west from Denver on US 285 approximately 28 miles to the traffic light before the top of Crow Hill. Turn right (northwest) on to Park County 43 and drive in a northwesterly direction for 6.8 miles to a "Y" in the road. Bear right. Go 1.5 miles, passing Meridian Campground on the left. Take the next left and turn left on Prospector Way. Go .8 miles past Camp Rosalie to the trailhead. The last mile is rough and can be muddy.

    Deer Creek Trailhead

    This trailhead serves the Rosalie Trail and the Tanglewood Trail. A good-sized trailhead, it has corrals and adequate room for trailer parking.

    Drive west from Denver on US 285 approximately 28 miles to the traffic light before the top of Crow Hill. Turn right (northwest) on to Park County 43 and drive in a northwesterly direction for 6.8 miles to a "Y" in the road. Bear left and drive 2.1 miles, staying right at the campground, to the parking area at the trailhead.

    Threemile Creek Trailhead

    This trailhead is the starting point of the Threemile Trail.

    Drive southwest from Denver on US 285 approximately 40 miles to Grant. Turn right (north) onto Park County 62 (towards Guanella Pass), and drive 2.8 miles to the trailhead on the right (east) side of the road. There is a limited amount of parking at the trailhead.

    Abyss Trailhead

    The Abyss Trailhead provides access for the Abyss Trail and the Burning Bear Trail.

    From Denver, drive southwest on US 285 approximately 40 miles to Grant. Turn right (north) onto Park County 62 (towards Guanella Pass), and drive 5.5 miles to the trailhead. The trailhead is on the east (right) side of the road and is located just south of Burning Bear Campground. There is a large parking area at the trailhead.