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Lost Creek Wilderness Loop

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

29.2 mile 47.0 kilometer loop
83% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 6,156' 1,876 m
Descent: -6,156' -1,876 m
High: 10,890' 3,319 m
Low: 8,078' 2,462 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 45% (24°)

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Map Key

A divine run through massive granite formations, splendid meadows, and lush forest.

Kevin Silvernale

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

A self-issued permit (found at the trailhead) is required, however there is no permit quota or fee.

Overview

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.

Need to Know

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).

The trails utilized by this run are managed by Pike National Forest—South Park Ranger District and South Platte Ranger District.

Description

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.

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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 35 votes

#147

Overall
  4.5 from 35 votes
5 Star
60%
4 Star
31%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
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1 Star
3%
Run Rankings

#45

in Colorado

#147

Overall
368 Views Last Month
44,223 Since Aug 15, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

6%
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26%
56%
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Photos

A small outcropping gives an incredible view of the unique rock formations of the Lost Creek Wilderness.
Apr 24, 2017 near Pine, CO
Some of the rock formations in Lost Creek Wilderness
Sep 6, 2018 near Bailey, CO
Goose Creek crossing
Sep 6, 2018 near Pine, CO
More unique rock formations that can be seen from the Goose Creek Trail.
Apr 24, 2017 near Pine, CO
Looking down into the valley on the Lost Creek Loop
Sep 6, 2018 near Bailey, CO
Wildfires have scorched the area near the trailhead.
Dec 28, 2016 near Bailey, CO

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