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Backpacking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

Lost Trail Creek

Beginning Elevation: 9,750 Feet (3039.3 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,600 Feet (810.5 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,350 Feet (3849.8 Meters)
Length, One-way: 11.0 Miles (18.33 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 821
Usage: Light to Moderate
USGS Maps: Finger Mesa, Pole Mountain
Vehicle Accessibility: Multiple use

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Excellent views and good fishing are both possible along this trail. Evidence of recent and historic mining activity is visible near Carson Pass on the Continental Divide. A short but steep side trip allows one to see the mining activity on a firsthand basis. Another excellent side trip from this trail is a hike to Heart Lake. Very few good camping places are available along the upper 4.0 miles of this trail.

The trail junction with Forest Development Road # 520 (Upper Rio Grande Road) is well signed. The trail begins with a gradual stroll through open parks and aspen patches. After about 1.5 miles, the trail will begin to drop slightly down, gradually getting closer and paralleling Lost Trail Creek. The trail junction with West Lost Trail Creek is located here.

Continue northward up Lost Trail Creek. Shortly, the trail will cross the creek and make a short steep climb away from the creek bottom. The creek crossing can be dangerous during the early summer runoff.

The trail continues, passing through a log fence and then after 0.25 to 0.5 mile, enters a small open park where the Heart Lake Trail begins. After meeting the Heart Lake Trail (# 823), Lost Trail Creek Trail turns westward and begins entering a mixed aspen and spruce/fir timber stand. The trail will climb gradually through the trees for about 1.0 mile. The trail will then enter the long open park bottom of Lost Trail Creek, old and new mining activity can now be seen in the distance, toward Carson Pass, Continental Divide.

The trail continues up the drainage at a fairly level grade for another 2.0 miles from the end of the road. The trail then makes a sharp, steep climb out of the drainage bottom toward and along the Continental Divide. After another mile of travel, the trail will meet the West Lost Trail Creek Trail and the Cataract Lake Trail. The last 3.0 miles of the Lost Trail Creek Trail is sometimes not defined by a definite tread. Stock driveway signs will help guide the trail user.

Directions from Creede, Colorado: Travel south on Colorado Highway 149 for 20.1 miles to Forest Development Road # 520 (Rio Grande Reservoir/Upper Rio Grande Road). Go approximately 16.0 miles to Lost Creek Campground. Trailhead is about 0.5 mile west of the campground.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through Mid-September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Ranger TipThe bridge on Sky Hi Ranch is not available for public use. Please ford the river and respect private property rights.

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Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended

Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We rode this trail on 7.19.00. Excellent trail with good mileage loops for dirt bike riding. Some challenging uphills but not too difficult. A good ride experience.What a view !

Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This summer we went on the trail in Aug. The path was extremely muddy and wet. The terrain was pretty moderate and the camping sites were nice.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Few good camping places along the upper 4 miles
ICON Cold Water Fishing Good fishing
ICON Hiking & Walking Lost Trail Creek
ICON Horseback Riding Varied terrain
ICON Viewing Historic Sites Recent and historic mining evidence visible near Carson Pass
ICON Mountain Biking Varied terrain
ICON ATV Riding Varied terrain
ICON Motorcycle Riding Varied terrain
ICON Viewing Scenery Excellent views

Related Activities
Continental Divide - Spring Creek Pass to Carson S - There are scattered spruce-fir trees and willow brush until one gains the top of Jarosa Mesa, then the route traverses open alpine parks before descending just below the crest of the Continental Divide to Carson.

Heart Lake Road 518.1b - Vehicle access ends on a flat bench overlooking Heart Lake which lies down in a bowl just below timberline. Good trout fishing and beautiful mountain scenery greets any visitor.

Heart Lake Trail - Good views of Fingers Mesa and Pole Mountain. The trail travels through a few small open parks but primarily stays in mixed aspen and spruce/fir stands.

Lost Trail Campground - The campground is located 38.2 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road 520. There are numerous attractions to tempt the camper.

Ute Creek Trail - This trail is the major access route into the vast Ute Basin Area. Four major fishable lakes sit in the beautiful basin. The Ute Trail is a popular route with Weminuche Wilderness visitors.

West Lost Trail Creek - Beautiful views of Pole Mountain and vast panoramic views are possible once a hiker begins approaching the Continental Divide. This trail provides the shortest access to Cataract Lake from the Rio Grande River drainage.

West Pole Creek Trail - Excellent views and an excellent assortment of wildflowers can be found in the West Pole Drainage. Few people hike in the West Pole Area. Hiking this trail is basically a cross-country type experience.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Divide Ranger Station, 13308 West US Highway 160, P.O. Box 40 , Del Norte, CO, 81132, Phone: 719-657-3321, TTY: 719-657-6038


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