Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Wildlife
Starting from the Payne Creek/Brookside Trailhead, the trail will start to trend uphill. Around the 1.5 mile mark, the Payne Creek Trail #637
splits off into its own trail to the left. Continue south, climbing gradually at first; the grade steepens as you climb the Platte River Range. You'll cross the boundary line for the Lost Creek Wilderness and eventually see the Brookside AG Trail junction, which climbs east-west after leaving MacArthur Gulch (be sure to check in with the South Platte District Office for current information regarding the Brookside AG Trail). From the junction, climb up into Craig Park, where it intersects with the Craig Park Trail.
Rising out of Craig Park and over a saddle, you'll drop into North Lost Park. From here, the trail briefly leaves the Wilderness and joins the Colorado Trail (CT - Segment 4
). A couple of miles after the trails combine, you'll see a second junction where the trail regains its independence and heads south; the CT - Segment 4
The trail will follow Lost Creek to another junction to meet the Wigwam Trail #609
, which heads east-west. Maintain your path south, and once again enter the Lost Creek Wilderness. The trail will meet and follow Indian Creek upstream to a commanding saddle between the Lost Creek and Tarryall Creek drainages. The trail then meets Ute Creek Trail #629
climbing steeply up from the southwest. Follow the trail, now bearing southeast, and start the steep climb to the shoulder of Bison Peak
; here you may choose a slight detour up Bison Peak Southwest Route
to get even more stunning views of the scenery that is now laid before you.
From this high point, the trail follows a ridge to the southeast of an old burn area and stunning granite formations and spires. This section of the trail offers some of the best views of the region and affords stunning fall colors in the appropriate season. There is slight exposure however, and lightning storms can pose a risk. Start to descend into McCurdy Park where the trail meets the McCurdy Park Trail #628
Finally, the trail descends a short distance and meets both the Lake Park Trail #639
, and a bit farther on, the Hankins Pass Trail #630
. The trail then veers to the southwest, gently descending to a parking lot.