Wigwam Park is a 13.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Jefferson, CO and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from June until October.
Wigwam trip report 6/15/14
I was looking for an easy backing packing trip for my family so we could do our first Summer backpacking trip together.
Many years ago I had hiked the Goose Creek trail in the Lost Creek Wilderness area -a 20 something mile hike. I knew I could not take my family on a 20 mile, 3 day death march, but I did like the area ( Lost Creek Wilderness area) and did some research on some other trails there. There was not much good info on trails, but rather brief descriptions. So I when looking for trip reports on Lost Creek Wilderness area. I found what I thought to be an easy, less crowded trail. That was supposed to be a 3 mile hike in and was supposed to be an almost flat hike or very gradual climb with quite a few small river crossings that weren’t the best for 3 and 5 year old kids. But my kids were older than 3 and 5; they are 10 and 11 so I figured it should be fine. All of which were not accurate the hike was 4.5 miles, it was nowhere near flat, and some of the river crossing where very difficult for our family to cross.
On the way up to the trailhead we ended up taking a wrong turn. We finally got to the trailhead and got going at 11:30. The parking lot was full and the road next to the parking lot was almost full too. So much for , less crowded trail. The first water crossing was very nicely done and easy to cross. It was on the outside of the wilderness boundary. The second water crossing was already more than my family or I could handle. I should explain our whole family, me included, is not gifted in balancing on small, thin logs above rushing water with certain impalement if you fall. We somehow managed to get across this one. But it gets worse. The third water crossing is a small thin log above rushing water with certain impalement if we fall. This surely was not in the brochure! There was one other way across-just walk through the shin deep water. The kids and the wife got their sandals on and walked across. My boots where already full of water from the last water crossing so I didn’t even bother putting on my sandals.
At this point, the trail moves away from the small river, winding its way through the forest. As we hiked along we noticed there were a lot more switchbacks. The mapping program I have did not show any switchbacks. As well as if you look at the trail on the map and the route we took it didn’t follow the route on the map all that much. We crossed seven more streams along the way, one of which was very annoying. Most of them were small streams you could walk over on two nice logs or walk through the water without the water getting into your boots, but not that very annoying one. It had two logs running across the small river and one huge log running perpendicular overhead. You could try and walk on top of the big log or try and squeeze under it. What do you think we did? We went under it, of course. I did manage to do a better job not getting water in my boots on that one on the way down by doing the crab walk under the big log. Not very long after that stream crossing it did get much steeper and rockier. This is the only part of the trail that has one spot that you can go the wrong way by going left and crossing the stream. This trail just kind of vanishes into the forest floor after a few hundred feet. After backtracking onto the regular trail there is a bit more of an uphill hike but soon after that the trail starts to flatten out, and opens to a meadow. This is the beginning of Wigwam Park. We were told that most of the camping spots had already been taken, except the ones on the other side of the river, so we didn’t know what to expect. Upon arriving at Wigwam Park we spotted a nice camp site that would work for our family. We wanted to see if there was anything better. We passed the junction to Goose Creek Trail and saw a trail leading towards the other side of the river. We followed it for a short distance before it came to a beaver dam / river crossing where there was a very narrow log about 4 inches wide stretched across the outside edge of the beaver dam. There was no way any of us were going to get across that so we continued on up the Wigwam trail a bit farther not seeing too much except already taken campsites. We decided to head back to the first campsite we saw and camp there. It fit our two tents with room to spare for more. The only bad thing about that camp site was the mosquitoes, they were awful. The weather was very nice that first day and it never rained at all that day. That night it got down to 34 degrees. I was a bit surprised about how low the temperature got that night, but we all stayed warm.
In the Lost Creek Wilderness (trail start just outsidewilderness area. We only did about 3 miles but found a great campsite. It does not have the rock formations as the Goose Creek trail - in the area - but is a nice hike and can be made into longer trip conecting to the Goose creek trail as well as others. Another good trail for beginners for a shorter trip but can add miles to the trip for the experenced.
Large PArking area at the trail head - trail is on the western end of the parking lower lot.