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backpacking
8 days ago

Leaving my first review of many....
Second trip back to the gorge for 3 Chicago guys and one mastiff. The first time we set out to do the loop and we were humbled by the gorge very fast and learned a lot from our mistakes. We immediately planned for our return and that’s what I’m going to tell you about right now.
Second trip - Leave Chicago 10/6 - 7am arrive Wolfpit road 10/6 - 8pm. We camped next to car for the night and headed out as early as we possibly could the next day. We started heading west towards the river with our plan to do the entire loop clock wise and end back at our car at wolf pit on Sunday morning. Our first campsite was supposed to be up near cathedral falls right before Spence bridge. We thought we could do 8-10 miles our first day and get near Spence bridge, leaving the rest of the loop for thur-Saturday, but it didn’t happen. We were each carrying 80lbs packs with steaks and booze, 3
Guys and one 150lbs mastiff carrying a 20lbs backpack, we like to eat good. Our pace was much slower than expected. The gorge is no joke, when they say every mile feels like 2 in the gorge they are 100% correct. Heading north along the river is insane with a lot of weight on your back, crazy boulders and trees to hop over every 50 feet. There is literally no flat terrain on this side. You’re going up or down the entire time. We literally aimed for 10 miles our first day and hiked 4. We made it past the first river crossing which was very deep, chest high, built a fire dried off and set up camp at the next campsite. This took all day. Thursday we left camp a bit late. Everybody was exhausted from long drive and the river crossing yesterday. Again we didn’t get as far as we thought we would. The river trail has some
nasty, nasty terrain. We are fit individuals in the gym 6 days a week, and this was a struggle let me tell you. Our packs might have been a bit too heavy but we asked for this. We made it about another 4 miles and set up camp once again near Conley cove. Weather was great the entire trip, but this night it rained, and the rain prevented us from leaving camp the next day (Friday) until about 3pm. Another late start. We got up to spence bridge by night fall and scoped it out, it didn’t look promising, the bridge looked bad ass when it was usable, but it is completely destroyed now. We camped by cathedral falls Friday night, with plans to cross the river first thing in the morning. We found the worst campsite ever. No room for a tent so we all slept under a tarp and got no sleep. We woke up packed up and headed to the river crossing. When we got there it was a problem and we ran into about 8 other people in the same boat on both sides. You have an option to rock jump, which is very, very dangerous. We saw a couple people succeed but not without being saved by their friends, we literally watched people risk their lives to get across. The water level was nasty. This place is absolutely no joke. We helped construct a zip line to send the backpacks across east to west, for 6 hikers, and then we sent a dog across the zip line....We threw our backpacks rock to rock, west to east. Then we swam across. I had to drag my dog by his neck because he was so exhausted and confused. He was dragging me down and It took me three tries to get him across, I was in the freezing water for dam near 10 minutes and I came close to death. Set up a fire, dried off, and didn’t have much energy left in the tank that night. We set up
camp Saturday night 3 miles from table rock with only Sunday left to get back to the car. One day left to hike 12 miles, about as much as we have done in the past 4 days....it was not promising. We acquired a solo hiker Saturday at the crossing who stuck with us Saturday night. His car was parked at table rock and he offered to give us a ride back to wolf pit if we wanted to take the easy way out. Sunday morning we got up and started hiking. We were going to make the decision when we got to his car. We really pushed hard all day, we got to his car about 2pm. We all had very heavy packs and are extremely exhausted at this point. We
made the decision not to get in his car and keep on going and we are glad we did. We figured our trip would be extended one more night because we just didn’t think we could make it all the way to wolf pit. We were out of food and now with limited water stops hiking along the east side south, we were a bit nervous. A couple very generous people in the parking lot gave us an MRE. We said we would hike as far as possible with the sunlight we have left, camp up and finish the rest Monday morning and hit the road....we pushed as hard as possible and started searching for water. Water is limited near the chimneys, and on the east side. There are a couple of hard to reach spots on the map we tried to look for but didn’t need to. Along came another solo hiker who really boosted our confidence. He said he was parked at wolf pit also and he was going back to his car tonight. Afte

Use caution with the map above, this expansive wilderness area is more of a web of trails as opposed to a clearly defined loop. I'd recommend an Lost Creek Wilderness map, and also to start Brookside rather than Wigwam. The last day going clockwise was ridiculous. Other than it being a difficult hike, the scenery and wildlife were second to none for this being so close to the front range.

hiking
14 days ago

Completed the loop 2 weekends ago. Picked the wrong weekend as it was mid-30s and rained the entire time (40% chance of rain for the weekend apparently means 100% rain 100% of the entire time you are there). I would have imagined the views would have been incredible without the dense fog from all the misting rain. Nonetheless, I am rating without consideration of those conditions. Very cool hike for the Appalachia. Very difficult to find hikes with abundant open views like this one. Completed in 2 days, 1 night.

backpacking
20 days ago

Beautiful trail! Well blazed and a great hike!

trail running
1 month ago

One of my favorite trails by far. Orange blazed. High Peaks maintains it very well— good signs and trail isn’t overgrown. There are cables and ropes on some of the more slippery rocky sections— helpful when it snows.

There are a few ways to get to the trail— from the far end of the trail at the Bowlen’s Creek parking area (you have to Ford the little creek, the bridge is sketchy). Here you will go up an old fire road for about 4 miles until you reach the ridge line. You can also park at the other end in Mount Mitchell State Park. There are also ways of accessing from side trails— if you don’t want to do the whole thing— for example, use the Woody Ridge Trail (park on White Oak) or Colbert Ridge Trail (park on Colbert Creek Road).

The trail has a lot of rocks and summits many 6000’ peaks— Mt Craig, Tom, Balsam Cone, Potato Hill, Winter Star, Mount Gibbs, Horse Rock, and Celo Knob (via a .20 mile overgrown spur trail.) the crest has amazing 360 views for a lot of it, also spruce- fir forests and stone staircases.

There is very little water on the trail, so bring some with. There is a spring on the Colbert Ridge side trail and a creek toward the Bowlen’s Creek end.

on Marvine Loop Trail

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing views almost the whole way. Mosquitoes were very bad around 4th of July.

great hike for me and a 12 and 10 year old. hit the chimneys and down to the river.

I hiked this trail CCW from 11-13 Sept 2018.

Flew into DEN and rented a car - beautiful drive, but budget 4 hours as an absolute minimum. Overnight parking is very limited at the TH, so unless you get there very early in the morning, you'll likely have to take a shuttle from town and pay for parking.

I left the TH at 1.28p on the 11th, and camped near mile 6.2 on this map. Plenty of h20 heading toward buckskin, but it got a little thin on the way down until you reach the meadows. Excellent view on buckskin, but it was quite windy, so I didnt hang out long.

After trail rider pass there is a little water at a pond, nothing else until ~ mile 11.7.

Beautiful waterfall near mile 13.5.

Camped near mile 15. Sites near water are nearly impossible to find. I just took what I could get & camped on a slight angle, then hiked several hundred yards to water.

Frigid Air pass was so beautiful in the early morning light. Hiked 3.5 hours without seeing another person.

Everywhere I read said no water between FA and Maroon passes - thats not true. I passed several great streams to get water. Beautiful basin.

Maroon pass took me about 6 minutes to climb. Literally. All of these passes with exception of Buckskin LOOK a lot taller than they actually are.

Lots of great campsites between MP and the TH. Water between MP and ~mile 21 is sparse.

One of my favorite trails. Have fun! :D

Hiked with three young children from Mt Mitchell to Mt Craig and back. There are challenging parts, but our clan took it in stride. Beautiful walk and outstanding views.

I did this trail in September of 2015. Difficult but rewarding, bring water and a change of socks is a must due to always muddy conditions on the trail. Even in early September the temperature can be in the low 40’s -mid upper 60’s Make sure you also have some warm clothing because when the sun goes down it drops 15-20 degrees at 6,000 ft.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike the Aspens were great on the way up Rich Creek and on the way down Tumble Creek. As always the meadow is a stunning view.

fantastic 2 night backpacking trip. lots of beautiful campsites along the way. amazing granite crumbling peaks. GORGEOUS

Go figure .... flight from Denver is delayed by almost 2 hours to go home! Damn the luck
Happy birthday to me

Good trail. Did this for my first backpacking trip and had a great time. Being from the Midwest, it took me some time to adjust to the altitude, which made the hike a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. The first 1.5 miles on the Salmon Lake trail is grueling, particularly after we had hiked close to 8 miles before (we did a portion of the Rock Creek trail in the morning). Found a few great campsites toward the top with views of distant peaks and closer ones. Great for the sunset and sunrise. We even had a moose walk through our campsite. The views at the top are breathtaking and well worth the hike.

There is a point about mile 5 where you are walking in a blown out area filled with dead and fallen trees. The trail remained very clear (had to climb over a few) but I would be wary of doing this section on a windy day for fear of falling trees.

In all, a great experience.

Trail thin in spots, and creek and trail are one and the same for a bit. Beautiful to experience the transition from softwood to hardwood forests as elevation changes, #68 is a great spot next to the creek after a rock scramble river crossing I would not want to do after a heavy rain. Steady climb, but worth it (they’re all worth it lol)

Outrageously beautiful on a mostly clear day in Sept. It is as hard as you would think, and so it is that rewarding to complete. If the weather is nice, give yourself time to enjoy the amazing views.

My favorite loop in NC so far. A humbling experience, lost the trail a couple of times but it made for quite the adventure. River crossings were a challenge but a lot of fun. A lot of great options for campsites and great views.

backpacking
2 months ago

Stunning, but tough. My wife and I (both 56, from Atlanta) and our 20-something kids from Denver did the loop over Labor Day weekend. Thankfully, we had the chance to acclimate ahead of time with some long hikes at altitude. We did the 28-mile Lost Creek Loop in three days and went counter-clockwise, which I would highly recommend. First day includes a big climb, with a payoff of spectacular views. We camped a little more than 10 miles in at McCurdy Park, which offers beautiful campsites in a meadow setting with good access to water. Day two starts out pretty easy and includes the really unique and beautiful Refrigerator Gulch. Coming up and out of the gulch though is a butt-kicker, with a 1,000 foot climb in just over a mile. We did another roughly 10 miles day-two and camped in a great spot in the woods along a stream, just before the intersection of the Wigwam Trail. Day three was an easy, and much faster, 8-mile walk to complete the loop. Milkshakes at the Sonic in Conifer, on the way back to Denver, capped a really wonderful long weekend!

Great loop. We hiked counter clockwise and it is definitely easier. I agree with others that the loop is 30 miles according to GPS. Refrigerator gulch is a good place to camp. We saw a moose and other wildlife along the way. Next time I will do it clockwise for the bragging rights, I feel like I cheated going CC.

backpacking
2 months ago

amazing view long hike and I hike it Counter clockwise is the best and easy way out

great views , Spruce Pines, Awesome hike

backpacking
2 months ago

This was my first experience backpacking and while the trail was challenging it was within reach for a 54-year-old first timer. Varied terrain, stream crossings, waterfalls, and gorgeous views. Spent the night by Salmon Lake, had a clear evening and the stars were amazing. We only passed and few hikers and felt like we had the mountain to ourselves. The forest service did an amazing job clearing down trees and as others have said, mosquitos were aggressive at sunset. What a great experience.

Great trail , very rugged hiked it on a weekday only saw 3 others on the trail. High peaks club has a section very well maintained from winter star , almost to the Woody ridge trail head .. beautiful views !

Hardest trail I’ve ever done, first backpacking experience, finally reached the end to find a dead car battery.... and I’d do it all over again. Highly recommend this trail just for the experience of all it has to offer

backpacking
2 months ago

completed this loop 8/26/2018. Garmin watch said about 30 miles. We did it clockwise but almost think we would have been better off counter clockwise. If you go clockwise it's pretty flat for first about 7 or 8 miles. There is cool cave that the river flows through a mile or 2 past refrigerator gulch. good camping in refrigerator gulch. pretty good water sources throughout except up above 10500(there are still water but not ideal). We completed the loop in 2 nights. Out of staters from lower elevations should plan for 3 nights. makes it more fun and can do some exploring.

trail running
2 months ago

one of my favorite trail runs near FairPlay Colorado.

This is a difficult but extremely rewarding hike with some of the most amazing scenery and terrains I have experienced. My brother and I did it clockwise in 2.5 days. Big 13 mile day to Fravert Basin to start. Day 2 hike up to trail rider pass was brutal and the most difficult part of the entire loop by far. We camped at Snowmass Lake second night before hitting Buckskin pass and finishing. Next time I will go counterclockwise just to try it but from all I've read and talked with people there is no easy way around the loop. If you are doing a 3 day hike, no matter which way you go around you will likely need to do one long 12+ mile day hitting West Maroon Pass and Frigid Air Pass, and two shorter days. The most amazing thing we saw was the trail runners who do this loop in one day.....perhaps the most impressive feat of fitness I have ever seen.

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