Trailheads:

  • Rolling Creek/Colorado Trail (east trailhead);
  • Kenosha Pass (west trailhead)

Activities: Hiking, Camping, Snowshoeing, Skiing

Closest Towns: Bailey, Grant, and Jefferson, Colorado

Driving Directions to Rolling Creek Trailhead (East):

  •  Head west on Highway 285 from Denver.
  • Continue on Highway 285 until you reach Bailey.
  • Once in Bailey, hang an immediate left onto County Road (CR) 68 (Wellington Lake Road).
  • Continue on CR 68 through Insmont and Eastabrook (Note that CR 68 turns into Forest Road (FR) 560).
  • One (1) mile after passing through Eastabrook you’ll hit a fork in the road.
  • Go right at the fork, and continue towards Wellington Lake for another 3 miles.
  • 7.8 miles from Bailey, park at a small parking area on the south side of the road (large enough for trailers) or go right (south) a short distance to the Colorado Trail/Rolling Creek trailhead.

Driving Directions to Kenosha Pass Trailhead (West):

  • Take Highway 285 to the summit of Kenosha Pass.
  • There are multiple signs on the top of the Pass that delineate the Colorado Trail Trailhead.

Hiking Distance: 29 miles (one way)

Description: This hike is best done as a shuttle backpacking trip.  You will inevitably deal with a decent amount of elevation gain.  Nonetheless, the inclines are relatively gradual, and the trekking is not too difficult.

One of the scariest lightning storms that we have ever witnessed occurred while we were paralleling the North Fork of Lost Creek, during our through-hike of the Colorado Trail.  Liz’s (one of the website authors) hair stood on end as we rushed from one grouping of trees to the next.  Don’t let this story scare you away from this marvelous wilderness area, however.

Worth Noting: Pssssstttt!!!  Lost Creek Wilderness Area sees hardly any use.  It always amazes us how you can hike on a July weekend and not run into another human.

Segment 4 of the Colorado Trail brings the hiker up out of the Ponderosa pine forests north of the Lost Creek Wilderness and into the open parks and Lodgepole pine and Douglas fir forests to the west. This section of the Colorado Trail closely follows the old Hooper Trail, a logging road built in 1885 by W.W. Hooper and two others to their millsite at the highpoint between Craig Creek and the North Fork of Lost Creek. They later moved the mill to a point just southeast of the North Fork Trailhead. Shortly thereafter the operation was closed down by Department of the Interior agents (pre-Forest Service) for timber trespass. A few years later, after the creation of the Forest Service, Hooper became the District Ranger out of Bailey.

Suggested Materials:

The following two resources are absolutely essential for doing any significant amount of hiking along the Colorado Trail.  While hiking the Colorado Trail, we loved the guidebook’s detail and the ease of being able to stash the databook in a highly accessible pocket.  Do yourself a favor: don’t leave home without throwing these two invaluable items in your pack.

 

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