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Brookside McCurdy Payne Loop

  5.0 ( 2 ) Favorite


29.0 mile 46.6 kilometer loop
84% Runnable


Ascent: 5,748' 1,752 m
Descent: -5,747' -1,752 m
High: 11,665' 3,555 m
Low: 8,083' 2,464 m


Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 61% (32°)


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Trail shared by Kristin Gablehouse

Long backcountry loop covering some seldom used trails, expansive meadows, and aspen groves on mostly runable terrain.

Kristin Gablehouse

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers


This is a great loop through the Lost Creek Wilderness with elevations reaching almost 12,000 feet. The snow melts earlier than many Colorado wilderness areas, giving training opportunities weeks or months before more popular long loops are snow free.The Brookside McCurdy Trail #607 passes through a gorgeous high altitude meadow with a creek crossing that can be knee-deep in the spring. There are many opportunities to filter water along the route.

The terrain itself is not overly technical, although parts are rocky or the trail is not well-trodden. The difficulty mostly comes from the length of the route and the ability to follow cairns through some sections. Dogs must be on leash in the wilderness.

Need to Know

Parking is free. There are no restrooms at the trailhead.

Runner Notes

There are many places to filter water. On low water years, if there is plentiful water at mile 8, there should be water at 22, as this is the same creek lower down.


The loop is recommended in the counter-clockwise direction to get over the big climb and through the open meadows before afternoon thunderstorms. After the first 1.5 miles, you'll reach the first trail junction. Keep right on the Brookside McCurdy Trail #607. You'll finish the loop from the left, so make a note of this junction for the end of your run.

The trail climbs steadily. Many sections of the climb are runable, but there are some sections of 15-20% grades. At 7.5 miles, you'll enter the large meadow where the creek crossing can be high. Watch for cairns and pole markers as the trail can be indistinct.

At the other side of the meadow, the trail climbs again to the high point of the route. At about 10.2 miles, you'll begin a long downhill stretch, initially steep then becoming gradual and fast. At 12.1 miles, you'll join CT - Segment 4 . This segment of the route is well marked and much more heavily used. At 14.2 miles, the Brookside McCurdy Trail #607 branches south, but you'll stay on the Colorado Trail heading east.

At 16.1 miles, the Colorado Trail appears to have been recently re-routed until mile 18 of this route, but it is very obviously marked. Mile 20 will bring you to the junction with the Payne Creek Trail #637 to start your return to the trailhead. It is a flowy 2-mile downhill followed by 3 miles up to bring you to the top of the last significant climb. Enjoy the last downhill miles, and as you near mile 28, keep an eye out for your right-hand turn back to the trailhead.

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Aug 10, 2019

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes


  5.0 from 2 votes
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in Colorado


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402 Since Jul 9, 2019



North Fork of Lost Creek upstream. Great place for campsite!
Mar 31, 2019 near Bailey, CO
First few miles of Segment 4 follow an old logging road.
Mar 31, 2019 near Bailey, CO
Leaving the Lost Creek Wilderness Area on Segment 4
Mar 31, 2019 near Bailey, CO
Large, grassy valley where the Brookside-McCurdy Trail joins the CT
Mar 31, 2019 near Bailey, CO
Just after crossing Craig Creek near mile 22. If the water is high at mile 8, you'll definitely be able to refill here at 22 as it's the same drainage.
Aug 12, 2019 near Bailey, CO
A beautiful, remote section of climbing through aspen groves greets you for the last major ascent of the route after mile 22. The remoteness is reflected in the trail being nearly swallowed up by the surrounding vegetation.
Aug 12, 2019 near Bailey, CO


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