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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.

backpacking
20 days 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.

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

I requested an edit to the trail description. From the trail head (adjacent to the trail head for segment 4 of the Colorado trail) to Wigwam trail, a hike travels about 6.4 miles. That was the information from the forest service and that was my experience on the hike (12.8 miles round trip). The first three miles are rolling and pretty. Most of the creeks were dry. I saw some camping spots at Rolling Creek, which had plenty of water. From there, the trail begins a steep ascent over 2.5 miles to a nice saddle with camping, but no water that I found. The descent tow Wigwam trail was a touch washed out in places, but you're in the amazing Lost Creek Wilderness. There's some additional camping and water around the intersection of Rolling Creek Trail and Wigwam trail. I only encountered two groups on the trail after the first three miles (once it starts climbing). I saw more along the first three miles, which looked like a great little hike with nice views of the Castle. If you take Wigwam Trail up to Brookside-McCurdy and connect with CO Trail segment 4, you can hike back out for a nice 25 mile loop.

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

backpacking
28 days 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.

Hiked this on 8/18-8/19. Flowing water in several creeks beginning approximately five miles in.

First part of this trail is amazingly beautiful and varied. Super lush. Mixed pine, aspen, and spruce, changing up frequently. The meadow portion is also beautiful in its own way, but be mindful of the lack of shade for that portion. I prefer forest, but even I found the meadow to be starkly beautiful, especially in the early morning.

Completed this trail going clockwise from Lost Park Campground

Day 1: I took off down Wigam Trail 609 and split south to follow lost creek. Starts out as grasslands with marshes around until you first see the creek. All around the creek is a beautiful old growth pine forest. Magical campsites were all over the place here!

It was easy going until around mile 4 where the canyon narrows and boulders fill the creek bed. Lots of scrambling and climbing was required here. The trail was difficult to follow at points simply because there was nothing to do besides sig-zag down the creek by hoping across boulders.

I lost the trail at mile 6 where it turns 90 degrees up a very steep hill to go around the canyon. There is a trail that goes around some huge boulders that cover the entire creekbed. I mistakenly followed this instead instead of up and out. This adventure unknowingly off trail led to a beautiful little campsite right next to the creek where I stopped for the night. No need to worry about losing the trail until the end since it's marked by cairns throughout


Day 2: I had to backtrack and find the trail again. Following Muccurdy trail uphill across many switchbacks was extremely tiring and everyone I passed on the trail was going the other direction. This section of trail is mostly aspen and young pine. Huffing and puffing as a lowlander not used to the altitude I made it up to the creek again, where old growth pine & large aspens created groves intermixing with the marshy brambles not far off. Plenty of great campsites along the creek just before the junction onto Brookside Mccurdy trail.


Day 3: The Brookside Mccurdy trail felt the same as the day before but with more aspens and a much better view of the canyon I had climbed out of. Sunrise here was beautiful

Cresting Mccurdy mountain there was a sudden change to an alpine biome with spectacular views south and west! The rest of the trail west to Bison mountain was a series of ridge-lines with interment marshes in the gulch. Easy going compared to the uphill switchbacks on day two, and much more wildlife! I surprised a herd of dear 25ft away, and ran into a huge moose on the trail

After reaching the Bison Mountain peak, a series of very gravely switchbacks began on the way down. It begins to follow the creek through the marshes keeping to the edge of a pine forest with dead logs all over the place. The marshes are beautiful with a few good campsites around in the trees that overlook the entire area. This section of trail was easy going

I recommend a hiking pole/stick for the lost creek bouldering, and also for the gravely switchbacks where I nearly slipped a few times even with a stick.

As one reviewer pointed out, the downhill section is very steep around mile 4-6. Having a 60L pack made it difficult at points, but I would still go clockwise if I did it again as my knees are still young and can take the load. Going uphill would have taken me twice as long along this section... if you are worried about this steep downhill the rest of the trail is probably easier going counter clockwise!

All my pictures are from the southbound lost creek trail canyon, miles 4-6

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
1 month 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.

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
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike. Did it on a Saturday afternoon. On the portion of the trail along the creek, I came across 4 or 5 groups camping by the river. Once the trail left the creek side and started heading uphill, I didn’t see another person on the way up or down.

The trail is physically challenging for a relatively short hike, and in places the trail is slippery due to a bit of gravel on hardpack in steep sections. Even though the trail is in an area with a lot of burned terrain, the trail itself is probably 90% in the shade, so not a bad option for a hot day.

Finding the arch is slightly tricky. They key is knowing that you have to go over the summit and down the dome a few hundred yards.

Follow the cairns once you leave the creek side trail and you should be fine.

hiking
1 month ago

The fairly level, rolling trail for 2.5 miles is a bit unique and nice. After that is a steady, steep climb up 3 miles to a saddle, which gave us the work out we wanted. It's all in a pretty forest with limited views but the granite outcrops that we did see were great. We saw about a dozen friendly people on a Saturday in August, so not bad for the crowds.

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.

We lost a dog about a mile up on Matukat road on the way to the trail head. He is a Newfoundland black lab mix and his name is Milo. He has Colorado tags, if you find him please call the number on the tags.

backpacking
2 months ago

Recently went on a backpacking trip; we went counterclockwise, starting at Goose Creek, forking left onto McCurdy, left again at Lake Park, and final left at Hawkins Pass. Around 24 miles total. Here's my review for our experience coming one way down Lake Park trail and Hawkins Pass.

On day two, we continued our ascent for about a mile on McCurdy, and then had a break with a descent for the next section. We decided to fork left for Lake Park trail, which had serious elevation gain during some parts. The constant uphill finally came to summit and our group continued to go downhill to meet up with Hawkins pass. No water along Lake Park trail, bring what you need. We really enjoyed the landscape of Hawkins, which included some thick forest and aspen groves. Some shallow streams along Hawkins if you're in need of water there. Happy hiking!

Our backpacking trip went counterclockwise, starting at Goose Creek, forking left onto McCurdy, left again at Lake Park, and final left at Hawkins Pass. Around 24 miles total.

Goose Creek trail was cool; there is a diverse landscape varying from mountain views to aspen groves to large rock formations. Plenty of water from mile 1 though 6 along this route for the backpackers. Can’t speak to further sections, as we created a loop with McCurdy.

We continued our trek that day into McCurdy (junction at about 6 miles into Goose Creek). McCurdy is tough, required lots of breaks for us as we are relatively new to backpacking and carrying +/-30lb packs. Decent water sources from the Goose Creek / McCurdy junction — for us, we filled up around our mile 8, mile 9 (cave / stream area), and close to mile 10.

All water sources are low, keep in mind we had a low snowpack this year, therefore streams and cave water are lower than normal. Related to this, there are fire restrictions in the area! Always a best practice during a hot and dry summer to NOT start an open fire. Bring fuel and a personal stove to cook. Don’t be that guy, the one who starts a completely preventable forest fire.

Tough workout, worth it to scramble over some big rocks and see a great vista. Would do again. True story, the trail is at times hard to figure out, but we followed the cairns, and our GPS when needed, got us there just fine.

I was on a different loop, but started on this trail around mile 6 on this map. It was so steep at one part that we had to turn around. We had backpacking backpacks so it was also harder to go downhill at such a steep gradient. Would also note that there is a lot of bouldering and the river is hidden under the boulders at that point (mile 7 or so).

backpacking
2 months ago

Did the loop ccw, camped in refrigerator gulch first night and hiked out the next day. Most of the raging streams in the past were dwindled down to a trickle if nothing flowing at all. Many bridge crossings were done walking over the dry creek bed. Still plenty of options to refill on water just not as many in previous years.

Saw pronghorn, and a couple moose.

Amazing trail, only went in 2 miles, to a sweet campsite then scrambled down to the river. Perfect quick afternoon hike

Very beautiful, but we only went one mile in and back

Good conditions, but some erosion on the trail. Easy to follow.

backpacking
3 months ago

I drove from Denver and even though the description doesn't say it, the road from Bailey to the trail head is 100% gravel. Long time for gravel. But, that is the only negative. The hike was fantastic. We hiked in on a Saturday Afternoon in June and prime open camp sports were everywhere. One of the guys in my group caught a bunch of fish at the beaver ponds (very small however).

backpacking
3 months ago

3 of us completed the loop clockwise in 2 ½ days. We started at the Goose Creek trailhead. Day 1 was all uphill and we had to put in about 2 hours of night hiking to reach a campsite with good water. We didn’t start until 3PM though. Day 2 was a mix of both up and down hill but mostly downhill. The views were absolutely stunning. We camped day 2 in Reservoir Gulch. Excellent camp site and good water. Day 3 was the last 4-5 miles out. We were back at the trailhead where we put in well before noon. Easy day 3 hike. We read a lot of posts from others on this trail beforehand. I definitely recommend going clockwise. The first 7-9 miles will be very challenging but the rest of the hike is much easier and the views are incredible. If we did this again I’d start early morning, but that’s it. Have fun!

This trail was probably too ambitious for our group of 3 casual backpackers ages 20, 27, and 57. ( The 20 year old had the toughest time due to altitude).

The scenery is fabulous. There are wonderful campsites. We saw a moose. The trail conditions are real sketchy in a lot of places. Be prepared to do some bouldering. The whole loop should take you more than 3 days if you are not an expert. We went CL and took a short cut through Lost Creek Trail back to Wigwam Creek Trail.

I do not recommend the southern 2 miles of Lost Creek Trail. We made it without incident, but it's treacherous in spots. We needed our rope, and guidance from other hikers who knew the route. We were scared of being stuck with no safe way out, but we did fine and had a nice trek.

We had fun. If I did this trip again, I would plan 4 to 5 days for the whole loop, or make it a shorter out and back route. I you are up for a big challenge at high altitude, go for it!

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