CO – Lost Creek Wilderness, Goose Creek Trailhead

Finding early season backpacking opportunities can be challenging, especially when you desire mountains and you are in Colorado. I’d heard Lost Creek Wilderness offers spring trekking potential. 

I watched a storm broil around me the night before I was planning to start my hike. 

Lucky me, I awoke to blue skies. 

With a loop hike in mind, I had a big decision to make. Shall I go clockwise or counterclockwise? Ultimately I decided to go counterclockwise for a couple reasons. First it’s a more gradual climb and the WOW views would be saved for the finale. Second, it eliminated a long water carry up a steep ascent. Thus, off I went hiking north on Goose Creek Trail #612.

My smile couldn’t have been bigger when I found this view and trail as my starting point. What a beautiful forest. 

And then I found some of my favorite flowers. 

I was intrigued with these outcroppings composed of round boulders versus the more common linear rocks. 

I took the very short detour to see the historic buildings. 

Seeing the snow on the ridge had me feeling a bit anxious about being able to complete my loop. 

I hiked westward on Wigwam Trail #609. 

The trail had some fun stretches like this. 

I found a nice spot for first night camp. 

Nearby, easily-accessible water was a plus for these initial sections. 

Temperature dropped to 24F at my 9,600′ campsite. 

The flowers didn’t seem to care about the temperature, they were just happy to have the snow gone. 

At Lost Park, I turned south on Brookside-McCurdy Trail #607.

Reaching snowline increased my anxiety about what I’d find at higher elevations and whether I’d be able to complete the loop. 

Yes it was cold! 

This trail is making me so happy with my decision to explore this wilderness area. 

One big regret was that I hadn’t hauled up more water so I could have spent the day scrambling among these boulders and maybe even spent the night watching an incredible sunset and sunrise. This is Bison Pass and the WOW factor of the loop. I’m so glad I decided to save it for dessert.

As they say all good things must come to an end . . . well at least for now. I have no doubt I’ll be back. 

I was so grateful to find this patch of snow melting into a nice pool of water. I was tired. It had been a long day with lots of climbing and I really didn’t want to push on to the next creek. As long as I had water, I could camp!

The next morning I jumped over to Lake Park Trail #639 to continue my basically southeastern direction. 

I connected to Hankins Pass Trail #630 to complete the loop. 

It took me four hours to reach this creek from my campsite. I would have struggled to make it last night. Once again so thankful for that snowmelt.

I wasn’t happy finding this tick. 

The trail however continued to make me smile. 

The aspen were celebrating spring. 

How about that? Exiting just as another storm is about ready to dump. 

Sprinkles began just as I got into my car. 

Adventure Date(s):

  • May 16-18, 2018
  • Hiking Stats:

 

Tips:

  • Obtain trail conditions and water report at the South Park Ranger Station in Fairplay
  • Leave a mouse trap set with peanut butter in your car; I caught one bugger.
  • Don’t expect solitude on this hike. Even on this weekday, early season jaunt, I saw a few others. A bigger indicator however was the number of established campsites per mile on the last stretch of trail. I’ve never seen such density.

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