This route goes through a wilderness within a 100 mile radius of approximately 2 million people, yet I rarely see anyone here except near the Goose Creek Trailhead. It doesn't provide the views one gets in the Sawatch Range or around other 14'ers, but it provides a splendor and intimacy lost in those environments. I find Lost Creek Wilderness to be a place that just embraces me. I hope you find it treats you as well.
Around mile 12.0, you'll need to navigate a creek crossing with ropes to help cross a log. This is easy to cross on foot as well (it's not deep or fast moving).
After driving 28 miles on Hwy 77 from Jefferson, CO, the Lost Creek Trailhead will be on the left side of the road sharing the same space as the Spruce Grove Campground. After running through the campground itself, this gentle giant starts by crossing Terryall Creek via a nice footbridge where the Lizard Rock Trail #628
begins. Cross the footbridge and immediately turn left at the large boulder. The signage is confusing, and there are unmarked trails and campsites going roughly the same direction.
The first couple miles consist of a gentle incline, providing views of the open meadows littered with aspens, massive granite rocks, and the Terryall Creek Valley below. At mile 2.4, there is a small side trail leading to Lizard Rock, a large campsite (with no water nearby) and the trail junction where the 20+ mile loop begins.
Staying left, the Brookside McCurdy Trail #628 leads back down near the valley floor, then back up to this trail's high-point (approximately 10,900 ft). The incline and decline are very similar in grade, but once over the top, the trail is littered with countless views of massive rocks towering over the boulder-filled valley. Expect to stop frequently.
Between mile 10 and 16, there are lots of campsites, water, and views. Perfect for calling it a day early and doing a bit of exploring, or taking an hour or two to enjoy the views during lunch, this is the area that could be considered the most scenic. Though every bit of this trail holds its own scenic value.
This loop trail veers to the right around the 11 mile mark. At about mile 14.4, the loop turns into the Goose Creek Trail #612
. If you are planning on setting up camp in early spring or late fall, expect most of the campsites after this point to be fairly chilly at night, as they are placed down in gulches or the valley below (cold air settles).
At mile 20.6, the Goose Creek Trail #612
leads off to the left. For this loop, continue straight (or stay right) on the Hankins Pass Trail #630
, a similar grade as the climbs between mile 0-7. Be prepared for minimal campsite locations, but plenty of water until about a mile before Hankins Pass.
After reaching Hankins Pass at mile 24.6, it is about 1 mile back to the trail junction of the Lizard Rock Trail #628
leading back to the Spruce Grove Campground and Lost Creek Trail Parking Lot.
Map Symbol Information:
The majority of campsites along this trail have a good water source within 0.25 miles. Those that don't are noted to be "Dry Campsites". The difference between campsite sizes will be noted with a number between 1-5+, indicating approximately how many tents each site could hold.