Lost Creek Wilderness
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Over the years living in Colorado, I've really taken a liking to the Lost Creek Wilderness. It's such a cool area close by with lots to do and see, without a soul around. The peaks are lower but more exciting then most 14ers! Trails lead through most areas with plenty of opportunity to divert off of them and bushwhack to your hearts desire. Here are some of the fun trips I've done through the Lost Creek Wilderness.....

Bison Peak|24 mile Loop|Alphabetizer|11zee 12ers|Colo Trail backpack|
Five 11ers|Platte Peak|Shawnee Peak|Schoolmarm, Rishaberger
Topaz|N. Tarryall|Windy|No Payne|Payne BM|Badger|S. Tarryall|"Burntop"
Tarryall Peak|The Catamount|Lake Park Peak|The Castle|Buffalo B
Puma|Little Puma|Farnum|Eagle|Observatory
Tater Top|11,485|11,423|11,306|Martland|10,715
Wigwam|10,620|10,605|10,654
|Pilot|10,982|8,906|Lost Platte Peak

Date unknown; Bison Peak with Bruce and Jan. My very first LCW experience and one of my first times snowshoeing in Colorado.

11/16/03; Bob Dawson w/ Keith Bershader and Jeff Kunkle (written by Bob)
I had seen this cool looking loop on a Trails Illustrated map years ago, and finally made it happen yesterday. I won't dwell on details, but the loop we took started at the Goose Greek trailhead, headed north, hung a left on the McCurdy Park trail, looped around west then south through McCurdy Park to the Brookside McCurdy trail for a mile or so, then turned left on the Lake Park trail, through Lake Park to Hankins Pass, then a left on the Hankins Pass trail back to the Goose
Creek trailhead.
the total distance is about 24 miles, and according to Jeff's accumulating altimeter, our total elevation gain was 6700'. Jeff traced the map on his TOPO software, and came up with significanly lesser numbers, like 19 miles and 5500 feet. Since this took exactly 10 hours (beginning at 8am and ending at 6pm) and we stopped very little, and were hiking quickly the entire day, I tend to believe the longer figure. It seems we were easily averaging close to 2.5 miles per hour, at least. The last two miles were hiked necessarily with headlamps.
We underestimated the mileage and time it would take, and had originally planned on bagging a couple of peaks along the way, namely Tarryall and Catamount. Having reached the base of Tarryall at 3pm, however, we decided against it because of the lack of daylight time left. If we had started at daybreak, say, 6:30, one or two peaks would have been doable.
We had no snow at all until we hit about 11,000 feet on some north-facing slopes, then maybe 3-6" depth, tops. Not an issue at all, and zero need for snowshoes for now.
The main point I wanted to make with this mini-TR was that this was a gorgeous loop hike, as those who are familiar with the area would expect, and a fine workout! Can't wait to go back and enjoy this area at a more leisurely pace. In fact, I believe this loop would make an EXCELLENT 2-day backpack. I want to return soon and do this. I believe that I would reverse the direction, however: Goose
Creek trailhead up to Hankins Pass, then up to Lake Park and make camp. Play around the next morning on these peaks, and hike out, finishing the loop that afternoon/evening. The last 6 or so miles of this loop, going this direction, are very easy, level, non-rocky, etc, affording an easy last leg of the hike, totally hikable in the dark, in fact.
The "Refrigerator Gully" area of the hike, maybe 8-9 miles into the loop (the way we did it) was new to me, and I would like to return.... very unique formations, and even a slot-canyon.
By the way: we didn't see another soul the ENTIRE day. Not one.

December 2005; Jean, Denali, and I headed to the area for a winter wonderland hike of Peaks X, Y, and Z. It was cold and windy, but a great day! On the way back we were slightly lost but luckily found the trail we needed and our footprints back to the trailhead.

10/15/06; 11zee 12ers. The name should say it all! All eleven 12K peaks in the Lost Creek Wilderness.

November 2006; Turkey day backpacking along the Colorado Trail through the Lost Creek Wildnerness.

9/29/07; Another LCW peak-bagging trip! This time, five 11ers in one monster hike.

10/6/07; Platte Peak, 11,941; 11.6miles; ~3600ft; N. Ben Tyler TH; 7hrs 15mins. Itchin' to get back into the LCW yetLCW Platte 05.JPG (207553 bytes) make it back to Denver for the Phillies game, Jean and I decided on Platte Peak despite the horrible weather forecast. As usual, the weather was 100% wrong and we had a great day! Aspens groves were golden in color as we followed the Ben Tyler trail for just over 4miles. We turned towards Craig LCW Platte 08.JPG (235306 bytes)Park and were at "Plattetosha" soon enough. From here it was a windy left turn and short bushwhack to the rocky summit. We hunkered down out of the wind on the summit to enjoy the 50 degree temps and warm sun. Uneventful hike back except watching Denali frolic around hiking atleast twice as much as us.

LCW Shawnee 01.JPG (187418 bytes)10/7/07; Shawnee Peak, 11,927; 7.6miles; ~3600ft; Shawnee TH; 5hrs. Eric and I were due for an off-trail hike and due to time restraints, Shawnee Peak fit the bill perfectly. After we found the TH we got a bit side-tracked on the wrong dirt road but eventually found our way past the old Homestead and up Gibbs Gulch. The road turned to trail which disappeared and the funLCW Shawnee 03.JPG (212319 bytes) began. Chatting away we got off track but found some cool rock formations. Back near the stream we bushwhacked our way up the steep 1mile to an 11K saddle. From there it was through a rock wonderland to the summit. 25degrees colder then the day before, but lots of sun and blue skies. The bushwhack down was just as much fun and three days in a row of hiking finally wore Denali out.

10/15/07; Schoolmarm (11,332), Rishaberger (10,460); ~5miles; ~2100ft; Sawdust Gulch TH; 5.5hrs. Just outside of the LCW, but still in Roach's book we hiked these with Dwight, Keith/Beth, Steve Cassin, Wayne, and Katie. Since the Great American Beer Fest was the night before, we didn't leave Castle Rock until 9am in a cold rain. It was snowing already at the TH and did not stop all day. It was slippery and slow bushwhacking taking almost 2hrs to schoolmarm.jpg (173395 bytes) Schoolmarm. From there we went in the wrong direction for awhile and eventually got back on the right track. Before the hike we knew we were going to get lost considering all the talk about not getting lost! HA! Rishaberger seemed to take forever to get to with all the route finding, breaks, and slip-n-sliding. It was getting late up there and Jean and I were all funned-out, so we just took the North Ridge back to the road and cars. First snow of the year! WooHoo! Wine burgers were the perfect ending.

10/27/07; Topaz (11,762), N. Tarryall (11,902); 8.5miles, ~2400ft; Lake Park Pass TH; 6hrs. A great hike withoutTopaz 01.JPG (176597 bytes) seeing anyone except two hunters and made it home in time for the Penn State/Ohio State game. From the car we followed the road most of the way up Topaz. Quite a bit of logging in this area at some point. At 11,200ft we left the road and slightly confused as to where exactly we were. We kept Topaz 04.JPG (283542 bytes)going up and up and eventually landed right on the summit of Topaz! We really lucked out since apparently it can be difficult to find the true summit. We snacked and hung out in the great weather then took a bearing for the straight-shot over to N. Tarryall. It was 2.5miles and all off trail. Jean's fantastic navigating got us there easily and the clear-cut areas helped with greatTopaz 07.JPG (226169 bytes) views. After a couple hours we were sitting on the rocky summit of N. Tarryall looking at all the snowy peaks around. From here it was only 1.6miles back to the car, but some tricky route finding to avoid the willows. Jean, once again, navigated us through them and we popped out about 20ft away from the car. WooHoo! Another great day in the LCW.

11/3/07; Windy Peak (11,970); 9.4miles, 3600ft; Rolling Creek TH; 6hrs 45mins. Jean was working so I jumped on the invite to hike with JV/Allison, Dave/Matt Hale, Kevin Lund, and the dogs.... Sierra, Scooby, Shep, Denali. It was a day for Border Collies! The 90mins to the TH was a nice change and we were on the trail just after 8am. This Windy 02.JPG (308519 bytes) section of the Colorado Trail was very familiar since Jean and I ended a 4-day backpack here last Thanksgiving. The pups were going crazy chasing and sniffing each other. Just after an hour and 2.8miles we were at the turn-off near the Payne Creek trail junction. Here we turned south and began the bushwhacking up Windy Peaks North Ridge. There were lots of down trees and skipping around the rocks. Of course most of the conversations were about poop and gross bodily functions! The ridge opened up a bit and we stayed high to play on the boulders. This was tons of fun and the little bit of snow wasn't aWindy 06.JPG (321402 bytes) problem. Up and up and up we went till the ridge opened up more to the usual cool looking granite formation that cover the LCW. It was a blue-bird day but a bit windy... go figure given the peaks name! Not long after, we were on the summit chowing and bundling up. The trip down seemed longer but I love a good bushwhack and we even came across some old mining sites with old coffee pots and gas cans. Winter is here in the high country, and today was a good reminder to start packing the warmer gear!

11/17/07; No Payne (11,789), Payne BM (11,780); 14miles, 4350ft; Brookside McCurdy TH; 9hrs 20mins. Jean, LCW Payne 01.JPG (146777 bytes)Denali, and I decided another trip to the LCW was in order and found ourselves Saturday morning at the TH ready for some long miles on a gentle trail. The miles burned away quickly on a good trail. Seemed like an old road going right up the middle with the trail switchbacking across it. A little after 3hrs we were sitting on the saddle between No Payne and Payne BM taking a long break. We only encountered a couple icy patches and a serious lack of snow for mid-November on a north-facing slope. Turning NW we hiked along the broad ridge past several cool rock formation and small patches of snow. Nice and steepLCW Payne 02.JPG (175816 bytes) bushwhacking, then gentle and open. We didn't stay long on the summit realizing it would be a long day already. Retracing our steps got us back to the saddle after 5.5hrs total. Jean and Denali relaxed while I boogied up Payne BM since it was only 0.5miles and 500ft away. Hauling ass got me breathing real hard but on the summit in just 18mins. A quick Gu and back to the saddle. Of course the return trip seemed to drag on forever but lots of laughs and silly conversations ticked the hours away. Back at the TH after a long day and heading home to pizza and packing for hiking Drift the following day. Not bad, this makes 14 LCW peaks in just the past couple months!

01/11/08 Badger Mtn (11,294); 2miles, 1800ft; Wilkerson Pass TH; 3hrs 30mins. Driving towards the Puma group the road was slick and it was snowing like crazy. Plan B was Badger Mtn right off of the highway... perfect! We crossed highway 24 and got an occasional glimpse of the towers on the summit. Pretty easy to follow... head NE up a drainage to the summit. This was made difficult by 1800ft in one mile, deep snow, and lots of downed trees as obstacles. The LCW-area always has surprises! After about 2hrs we were on the ridge and hiked all along it to try and find the highest point. Thigh deep snow in several spots made lunch very much earned. After a 20min break while Denali chewed ice off his fur, we retraced our steps back to the car. A fun and quick mountain and another checkmark in the LCW book!

LCW S Tarryall 05.JPG (379227 bytes)01/25/08 South Tarryall (11,206); 8.2miles, 2766ft; Spruce Creek TH; 8hrs 15mins. Jean, Bob, Sharon,LCW S Tarryall 09.JPG (367819 bytes) Denali and I. Minus 4 at the TH! We were able to follow someone else's trail for a mile or so, the started breaking trail. 3hrs up to Hakin's Pass, then the fun began. Just 0.75miles but with the steep and deep snow it took over 2hrs to the summit from Hakins Pass. Much easier going down!

02/08/08 "Burntop" (11,085); ~14miles, ~2400ft; Tarryall Reservoir TH; 7hrs 45mins. Jean picked out a BC ski tour for LCW Burntop 01.JPG (278785 bytes)us and we couldn't drive past Tarryall Reservoir so we just started from there and figured we would go as far up "Burntop" as we could. 30mins got us the 1.5miles to the Packer Gulch turnoff, the BC skiing was effortless and beautiful.... perfect snow, bluebird skis, warm temps and light wind. After 2hrs 20mins we had skied past Burntop and we were at the summer TH having lunch. I figured we would be skiing back, but Jean was ready to keep hiking up, cool! The steep bushwhacking begins. With skis on our packs and snowshoes on, we headed through the new aspen forest and up steeper rocks and downed trees. It was easier without snowshoes and after a big effort we had the 600' behind us and we were on the saddle with Little Puma. I figured it was be a stroll from here, but the snow was soft and up to hip-deep and extremely slow going. Jean was fading fast and I was determined to get up this peak despite the late hour. AfterLCW Burntop 02.JPG (184846 bytes) what seemed like an eternity we were at the burn-area and got stuck several times in the wind-scoured snow, it was miserable. Finally, after almost 5hrs we were on the summit and Jean cried with exhaustion. Now, to get to the road before dark.... we bushwhacked straight down the burn area tripping and falling all over the place. More food and just 4.5miles of skiing to go. Blisters were hurting and we were racing the sun. The last 1.5miles seemed like forever and we got back to the Yukon just at the point where we needed headlamps. It didn't take long to gorge some dinner and crash in the back of the Yukon with Denali curled up between us.

10/03/08 - Tarryall Peak (11,780), The Catamount (11,695), Lake Park Peak (11,403); 15.5miles, 4300ft, 6hrs 10mins. LCW - Lake Park peaks 05.JPG (850211 bytes)A chilly 28degree start, but it warmed up nicely as Denali and I hammered it up to Hankins Pass. Made quick work through Lake Park to the north side of Tarryall, then some fun boulder hopping to theLCW - Lake Park peaks 07.JPG (522843 bytes) summit. We bushwhacked south to The Catamount looking for the magical gully. Tried west first, then east. Found it, and Denali stayed below as I scampered up the frictiony rock and crack. Steve Knapp was the last to sign in back in May. Back to Lake Park and we circled around the south end of Lake Park Peak through the deadfall and boulders. Up on the summit watching the clouds roll in and bushwhacked back down to Lake Park between the two summits. Boogied out for a fun filled colorful tour of Lake Park.

LCW - Lake Park peaks 09.JPG (741813 bytes)        LCW - Lake Park peaks 10.JPG (749546 bytes)

10/04/08 - The Castle (9,691), Buffalo Peak B (11,589); Adam McFarren offered to lead The Castle and Dave Altiero LCW - Castle 02.JPG (643437 bytes)and I bit. Adding Buffalo if we had the time and energy was a bonus. A 5:45am meeting at The Fort got us to the Wellington Lake gate slightly early, but no worries, the stories and laughs were flowing. The trip up to the base of The Castle is short, sweet, and steep. We found the first pitch and geared up.LCW - Castle 04.JPG (643225 bytes) Adam flew right up only placing a couple pieces of pro and tailing the two 8mm X 30M ropes that we brought. Dave and I followed then we coiled the ropes for the friction-filled boulder hopping to the awesome tree garden. What a cool place! One could spend hours wandering around and playing on the rocks and trees. We found the summit boulder and the 5.tree route, but opted for the crack around the corner that Dawson had mentioned. Adam made quick work of this pitch once again and confirmed that we were on the correct tower for the summit. Dave followed, then me. An overcast day but still views-a-plenty. Only a couple other entries for 2008 in the register. After chillin’ LCW - Castle 07.JPG (902287 bytes)for a bit we rapped down the 5.tree route and worked out way back down, rapping the first pitch.
Back at the car it was an easy decision to drive down the road a couple miles to the TH for Buffalo Peak B. More of a hillbilly campsite then a TH, complete with a 5 gallon potty bucket up the hill.LCW - Castle 08.JPG (751787 bytes) No trails and plenty of downed timber made it slow-going as we picked our way up and up and up. It was pretty cloudy but the cool weather felt great and it only snowed a handful of flakes. We didn’t stay too long on the summit and roughly followed the same route back each taking our share of tumbles. An awesome day in the LCW and great to meet another couple 14W’ers and share tons of laughs and stories!

10/31/08 - Puma Pk (11,570), Little Puma (11,449), Farnum (11,377), Eagle Rock (9,710), Observatory Rock (10,073); LCW - Pumas.JPG (403199 bytes)~14miles, 4300ft, 5hrs 30mins. Just outside of the LCW, but close enough! Amazingly warm for Halloween and Denali and I headed out and parked in Packer Gulch where Jean and I took a breakLCW - Eagle Observatory.JPG (274826 bytes) while skiing up Burntop last February. Easy miles up the switchbacks, then bushwhacking up Puma arriving a little over an hour. More bushwhacking to Little Puma and Farnum, then back along the same route. With great weather, energy, and time... I drove to the TH for Eagle and did the quick scamper up. Great views! The road to the Observatory TH was Subaru-able and a hot hike up to the giant tree in the gully to the highest point. A fun day for all!

10/1/09 - Tater Top (11,611), 11,485, 11,423, 11,306; ~11miles, 4500ft, 7hrs. Jonsin' for a Fall LCW fix I took a day LCW Tater02.JPG (207553 bytes)off work and Keith, Denali and I headed to the Potato Gulch TH. Despite the awful forecast it was blue skies, just a little windy, and slightly chilly. The aspens were looking mighty fine as well! We started bushwhacking west and took just a little over an hour to get to the summit of Tater Top. No LCW surprises yet! Heading SE we came across the typical LCW rock-hopping, cool twisted trees, andLCW Tater03.JPG (476284 bytes) willows. 11,485 had awesome rocks to jump around on the summit, arriving around 2.5hrs. Still no surprises yet, Hhhhmmm, we can't get off this easy? NE towards 11,423 we got our usual "LCW memorable moment" when we bashed through thick 8ft high willows then about 200yds of marsh. No point trying to keep our feet dry and we just marched through the slop. Looking at the map, we should've gone about a half mile south to avoid it all, oh well! On the trail for a whopping 0.3miles before bushwhacking our way up 11,423, getting there after 4hrs 15mins. Still having fun and laughing the day away. We could see Tater Top far away on the opposite ridge. Next was directly west to the LCW TaterMap.JPG (344827 bytes)non-LCW summit of 11,306. Lots of cut trees that were never hauled away, strange?! At close to 6hrs we were on the summit and a bit more uphill to just north of Tater Top, then the straight down bushwhacking right to the truck. Another fun LCW Fall Adventure!

4/25/10 - Martland, 10,715; 3.7miles, 2250ft, 4hrs; A couple feet of new snow on Pikes Peak had us coming up with a Plan B, and the Martland Group fit the bill for Jean, Bob, Sharoni, and me. Miles went to Gramma/Grandpa and weMartland.JPG (269463 bytes) got to the Tener Gulch TH at the not-so-early time of 9:30am. Surprised at the lack of snow, snowshoes stayed in the car. Up the road for a bit, then laughing and bushwhacking the rest of the day. After 1.5hrs of typical LCW fun we were on the summit of Martland, not many visitors up here! A nice long break then to the 10,262 saddle and up 10,715 for the only snow of the day on the north-facing slopes. A nice craggy summit and we could see a few search parties and a helicopter looking for a missing hiker suspected to be in the area. Rough bushwhacking back down towards the road when we decided we would have to come back for the other two peaks. Fun times as always, and great bbq from the Smokin' Q afterwards!

7/9/10 - Wigwam, 10,620, 10,605, 10,654; 15miles, 5540ft, 7hrs; Denali and I started from the Wigwam TH heading LCW-wigwam4.JPG (58715 bytes)west on the trail. Nice, lush, green, and wet. It wasn't long before we got off the trail heading NE up Wigwam. Not bad bushwhacking yet and after close to an hour we were on the summit. The handful of usual LCW peak-baggers in the register. Cool funky rocks on top and as usual, the first one you go up, isn't the true summit. Followed the same general path back to the trail and further west. Now the fun begins.... steep steep steep and lots of breaks. Up near the ridge we turned southLCW-wigwam1.JPG (55024 bytes) and it wasn't long before we were near the summit blocks of 10,620. Hhhhmmm, how the heck do we get up there?! We went all the way around and I eventually left my pack below so Denali would stay there. Almost all the way around, I found a secret passage blocked by an old dead tree. Cool! Under the tree, squeezing through the slot, a couple moves and up on top! There LCW-wigwam2.JPG (54667 bytes)were two jumps across giant boulders. Awesome! Love the LCW... you've gotta touch, feel, listen, smell, and bleed. Now the serious buswhacking begins.... boulderfields, dead trees, new aspens.... what a mess! Falling all over and couldn't see far at all. Just over a mile took forever. 10,654 was another summit to circle around but a bit easier passage. No one else here since last year. I thought that getting to the last summit would be easier, but it was much worse. Not only the bushwhacking, but the southLCW-wigwam3.JPG (74196 bytes) side was a stone WigwamMap.JPG (103875 bytes) fortress that took a long time to pick around. The drizzle was refreshing, and we didn't stay for long knowing we still had a long way to go down. Straight down east for a steep bushwhack. Luckily we avoided the cliffs, and came out at the kids camp. Since there were people there I had to use the exit and do a 5 mile detour along the roads. Hot, out of water, and draggin'. That makes 29 LCW summits!

11/12/10 - Pilot (10,624), 10,982, 8,906; 5.5miles, 2775ft, 3hrs 45mins; Back to the LCW on a chilly icy morning. Luckily I was able to drive up to the bend in the road along CR211. Hopped a couple barbed wire fences and headed up the steep route to Pilot. Typical LCW stuff with slipping around, loose granite, burned areas, etc. I curved around Pilot and on the summit just under an hour. Didn't stay long, but surprised at all the names in the register. Off to 10,982 down to the saddle and bushwhacking for over a mile. Small boulder field, cool forest with snow and beautiful. The north summit was higher, just under 2hrs, then retraced our route back. Found a giant elk antler along the way down! Drove down the road and did the quick 500' up 8906.

9/20/14 - Lost Platte Peak (10,657) 12.2 miles, 3550ft, 5hrs 30mins; It's been a few years since in the LCW, and what better time then when the aspens are turning. Nicholls was game and we met at 7am. We both brought way too much gear and chatted mainly about the Leadville 100. Easy going along the trail and taking lots of pictures of aspens, at the 9900ft saddle we hung a left and entered the usual LCW bushwhacking with removable trees, deadfall, and not-so-easy going. After 3 hrs we were at the summit. We took a bit longer way down checking out two rocky outcrops before dropping down down down and back to the trail. And easy 500ft gain back to the saddle and a cruise back to the cars.