Explore Colorado Trip 2016 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Colorado Trip 2016 Map
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Directions were accurate to TH. Starts in the burn area but quickly drop int the woods along Goose Creek. Good trail conditions all the way to the historic buildings. Just as much up and down coming and going, good training trail. Links up with other trails in the wilderness.

Awesome trail! Counter Clockwise. June 2018

We planned to sleep at Parika Lake on the first night, but ended up short at the smaller lake 0.5 mile before. After seeing both spots, not sure which one was better. We slept in the wooded area covered by trees. Parika Lake is pretty open and exposed, but the views were amazing. Fishing was a thought, but glad we chose not to.
Day two started with a couple miles of steep climbing and ridge lines. Only encountered a few patches of snow along the ridge. Parika Peak was just another quater mile, right turn upward climb and totally worth it. the views were stunning. Winds peaked to 50mph around Farview Mt. and it got pretty cold.
We planned to camp at Bowen Lake the second night, but decided to skip it. We were just too worked from the long day. the forest past the junction had a lot of down trees and thick forest. Finally found a decent flat area to camp for the night.
Last day was a easy down hill to the car. Saw a cow moose in the stream near the lot right as we were leaving.

Few things to note for this trail:
Parking lot is small
Plenty of streams to filter water
A lot of crossings, some difficult to cross
Trail starts in RMNP but a permit is NOT necessary (we wasted 20 minutes trying to get one)
Clockwise doesn't seem as enjoyable
We average 2 trips per year(experience compared)

Be aware that pretty much the entire trail is covered with almost a foot of snow. While awesome and beautiful, make sure you bring appropriate gear.

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.

we hiked in 1/2 way set up camp in the snow. (trying some new gear). saw some good size cat tracks and heard some elk in the distance. this was a tight winding trek. but very enjoyable.

Amazing beautiful Trail! Fantastic rock formations if you go all the way up. We will be back. Camped at
Goose Creek campground, but could have camped on the trail. Got fantastic photos!

hiking
3 months ago

Lovely hike. I went clockwise but next time will go counter clockwise as I think this is the more scenic approach. Beautiful Aspen forests on the south side of the loop, lovely meadows, streams, and peaks to see on the northern side.
Lots of stream crossings. Fresh scat on trail just northeast of Dome Rock. Not sure if it was cougar or coyote. Be smart and safe when hiking.

This trail is a must do. We camped at the unnamed lake below parika lake and then near the junction to Bowen lake. Would rate as strenuous, and there is a lot of exposure on the ridge lines past parika lake. We had wind gusts of probably 60 mph or so. We took our rain flies off our packs, because they were acting like parachutes and sometimes the wind was so strong you had to stop before you could move again. Definitely worth it though. Vertical drop offs on the ridge are more gradual than straight down, so not bad IMHO, and I’m not a heights fan! The views at the peak of 12300 feet or so are absolutely breathtaking.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful Hike, I started at Rainbow Trailhead and hiked too and around the reservoir in the counterclockwise direction. Lots of aspens changing colors for the fall! (29 Sep 2018) I started at sunrise and didn't run into anyone for the 1st several hours of the hike. The reservoir was very low, but, the hike is still very enjoyable and not very difficult, aside from the distance.

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

Love this area. We did the goose creek loop counter-clockwise, 3 nights and 4 days. Days 2 and 3 are by far the toughest, lots of uphill and steep switchbacks. Stayed on McGurdy park trail instead of taking the Lake Park “shortcut”. Pretty much all downhill from Hankins pass back to the trailhead. It was my 10 year old son’s first pack it in pack it out trip. He did great, so any dedicated novice can do this.

hiking
4 months ago

I'm a very experienced hiker in good shape and my wife is in good shape as well. We did this hike after having seen it on AllTrails. This trail was absolutely beautiful this time of year, very green, lots of small creeks, and we even picked some wild strawberries right off the trail. For whatever reasons we decided to do the hike in reverse. If you decide to do that, make sure you bring plenty of water. I usually carry less water and bring a filtration kit to resupply from streams. Most of the streams you cross are in the beginning, which means that is your only opportunity to fill up if you hike in reverse. Also, plan on crossing some streams, they were roughly knee height during ours.

backpacking
4 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!

Kid friendly camping spots early on, trail was very busy and lots of people with poorly trained off leash dogs. Wilderness area was beautiful, saw some cows in the burn scar area before the trailhead. Spotted some grouse and the biggest beaver dam I’ve seen in person on goose creek.

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
4 months ago

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

Beautiful scenery, sort of a desert feel to it at first.

backpacking
4 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.

This was one of my favorite hikes. Echo what others have said about it having it all. Amazing views and the Dome Rock is spectacular. Saw a bear walking along Dome Rock which was an added bonus. Be careful of the notes in the last couple wayfair markers on the All Trails Map, just follow the map rather than the notes. This was a GREAT hike, it’s long, but worth every mile. There is nothing to technical about the trail, the Hard rating I’m sure comes more from the distance. The stream crossings are easy, but bring sandals or water shoes. Look forward to doing this one again as the Aspens change colors in the fall.

Agreed with the comment below, this was a difficult hike. First off, bring a paper map as there are multiple trail junctions that are not highlighted on this AllTrails screenshot. I actually downloaded a map from the Hiking Project titled 'Lost Creek Wilderness Loop', and it ended up being a completely different loop. I'd also recommend starting counterclockwise. We went clockwise and the hardest, steepest climbs were by far at the end of the hike. Aside from this being pretty dam difficult, the views and wildlife are second to none for being so close to the front range.

backpacking
5 months ago

Rated hard for a reason. Went counterclockwise starting at lost creek/Park trailhead. First 3-4 Miles are easy then you start a difficult ascent. Little or no water for Miles 5-10.5. Around 10.5 have good place to camp. 2nd day hike looks easier but the first ascent is quite steep. Once you make it to the top it is pretty easy the rest of the way. There are consistently great views, saw a moose and a elk.

My wife and I did this as a counter- clockwise overnight backpacking loop on August 14th. Amazing trail. The hike up to Parika was pretty strenuous but we did it in about 5 hours. 3 groups camped at the smaller unnamed lake just below Parika so we had Parika lake to ourselves. We didn't see any moose that day but had one running and grunting right outside of our tent at about 9pm so we didn't get much sleep! The stretch over Parika pass and Bowen Pass was amazing! The exposure isn't too bad and we could have sat on the other side of Bowen Pass all day. Saw two bull moose on the way down and made it to the car in about 7 hours. Loved this loop and definitely recommend going counter-clockwise!!

hiking
5 months ago

Today was a perfect day for this 10.7 mile hike around Dome Rock! This was my second time to hike the loop – beginning on the northside and continuing on around Dome Rock to the southside for completion of the hike in four hours and 30 minutes. The creek crossings were more fun this time with water shoes – last time simply had flip-flops! There were less blooming wildflowers on this trip compared to last time – two or three weeks ago I’m sure the valley was bursting with color. Still looking for a Big Horn sheep but again saw none. This is a great training hike in preparation for summeting a 14er. The elevation gain and multiples difficult accents make this a great cardio workout in preparation for low oxygen levels and muscle stamina – all required to comfortably summit a 14er. As stated in my previous post on this hike – I look forward to returning when the aspens are turning – it will be like a new hike!

very well maintained trail. Great camp spots just down from the old miner buildings with great water supply. I hiked in another few miles and was able to use a small creek in a very secluded area. some spectacular views when you hiked off trail and onto rock. a little hot last week.

backpacking
5 months ago

Difficult backpacking trip taking you around the amazing lost creek wilderness and the amazing and awesome refrigerator gulch with its massive granite boulders.

I consider this trail to be strenuous, and I typically only seek out strenous trail. 2nd time to Parika Lake on a day hike, and since I had my head lamp with decided to do the whole trail instead of walk the same trail. Past Parika Lake is some pretty heavy exposure to me. Your essentially hiking a narrow ridge with dramatic vertical dropoffs and the wind along those ridges is steady and huge. Glad I made it down safely because I didn't expect the trail to keep climbing like that. Like another hiker said two continental divide crossing past Parika Lake. Cake walk down hill after that. My legs were just noodles. I wouldn't want to hike it clockwise, because I feel going downhill,on those exposed areas would be shady. I rate it strenuous.

Nice trail but mostly sunny. Will come back when cooler. Not sure what is considered lizard rock

Backpacked 5 miles into the trail. The first mile or so is burn scar, but after that is exquisite. I've never seen more beautiful scenery anywhere. Plenty of good campgrounds and water sources.

I loved this hike. We parked at the Rainbow Trailhead and hiked to the Reservoir from there (which I highly recommend). We ended up not going the full way around Rampart Reservoir, but still worth it. No real steep inclines. Fairly easy hike both ways.

The trails don’t have great signage and sometimes your not sure if the road your on is where you should be. I suggest if your going by yourself make sure you tell someone where your riding and make time for wrong turns. The climbs can be difficult at times depending on the erosion or root situation. All in all I love these trails. Lots of long climbs and equally Long descent. Wildlife can also be surprising. Lions, tigers, foxes, coyote, deer elk and bears to start with.

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