South Lost Creek Loop Trailhead: Colorado Trail (Rolling Creek) Trailhead
Activities: Hiking, Camping, Skiing, Snowshoeing
Closest City / Town: Bailey, Colorado
- From Denver, head west on Highway 285.
- 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.
Hiking Distance: Approximately 22 miles (roundtrip)
Description: What more could you possibly want out of a backpacking trip? The South Lost Creek Loop through the Lost Creek Wilderness offers utmost solitude, and is relatively gentle – with the exception of about 8 miles. Most of the hiking involves navigating along the sides of various creeks. Water is generally abundant throughout the trek.
The trail begins at 8,360′ in elevation. The initial leg of the hike follows Segment 4 of the Colorado Trail (Trail 1776) for approximately 7.5 miles, most of which is uphill. This segment dips in and out of the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. There are many perennial stream crossings and a couple decent camping spots along the way. The trail tops out at 10,700′, then descends towards the North Fork of Lost Creek. The best place to camp is at mile 7.5 where the trail runs into the North Fork. There is abundant camping on the west side of the North Fork.
The second leg of the trip follows the North Fork south on the Brookside McCurdy Trail. Continue on the Brookside McCurdy Trail for 2 miles; the trail will run smack-dab into the Lost Park Campground. Take a right on the road. Follow this road for .2 miles until you see the Wigwam Trail on the left. Take this trail down to Lost Creek. Continue on the Wigwam Trail for 7 miles. There are a number of nice camping spots throughout this section. However, good camping areas become sparse as you move into the final 2 miles of this 7 mile segment. You will know that you are at the end of this segment when you run into the Rolling Creek Trail.
The final leg of this trip is by far the most difficult. Start out by taking a left (north) on the Rolling Creek Trail. Climb 1.5 miles up the Rolling Creek Trail, while gaining over 1,000′. Once topping out on the ridge, you’ll be at 10,650′. Don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here. Take the Rolling Creek Trail (trail 663) all of the way back to the trailhead. The entire third leg of the hike is approximately 8.0 miles long.
Worth Noting: The views of Bison Peak along the South Lost Creek Loop are spectacular. Watch out for mosquitoes during the middle of summer – especially if you try to backpack through Lost Creek during late June or early July.
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.
- Colorado Trail: The Official Guidebook, Segments 4 & 5 (we would give you the page numbers, but there are a number of editions).
- The Colorado Trail Databook