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Friends of Mount Evans and Lost Creek Wilderness
Captain Mountain - Trail # 46

(Click Map for PDF)

Beginning Elevation: 10600
High Point: 10600
End Elevation: 9060
Difficulty: Moderate
Length, One Way: 8 miles
Seasons: Summer
USGS Quads: Idaho Springs, Harris Park
Other Maps: Arapaho National Forest, Trails Illustrated #104
Usage Level: Low


Access is made via the Echo Lake Trailhead or the Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain Trailhead. The road in to the Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain trailhead is in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area and is closed to motor vehicles on Labor Day, then closed to all entry from January 1 through June 14.

Trail Heads

Echo Lake
Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain

Connecting Trails

Lost Creek
Chicago Lakes


The quiet Captain Mountain Trail sees relatively little use and can be vague at times, but it's a great place to get away from the crowd.

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 to the south side of Beaverdam Creek and climbs steadily through thick spruce and fir forest to the Echo Lake Trailhead.

Trail's History

1938 and 1945 trail plans show a 4.5 mile trail from Echo Lake down to the intersection of the forest boundary and Vance Creek. This may originally have followed an old road/trail from Echo Lake down the north side of Beaverdam and Vance Creeks, which shows on topographic maps as early as 1905. A 1934 topographic map shows the earlier trail, plus a trail with a similar alignment as today’s trail, but not climbing south out of the Vance Creek drainage. Later, this trail vanishes from the map, not showing on even current maps.

The section between Vance Creek and the Lost Creek/East Captain Mountain trailhead has never shown up on USGS maps and when it came into existence is unknown. An undated map, found in with plans for the 1978 Bear Creek bridge on the Beartracks trail, shows a trail marked “Approximate Location Beaverdam Loop Trail”. The north half is similar to the Captain Mountain trail from Vance Creek to a point west of Captain Mountain. From there, the south half runs south and somewhat west to connect with the Beaver Meadows trail just below Beaver Meadows. The south half likely never existed.