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

Quick Facts

West Lost Trail Creek

Beginning Elevation: 10,300 Feet (3210.7 Meters)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,050 Feet (639.0 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,350 Feet (3849.8 Meters)
Length, One-way: 6.1 Miles (10.17 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 822
Usage: Moderate to Heavy
USGS Maps: Finger Mesa, Pole Mountain
Vehicle Accessibility: Multiple use

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Good camping places are not uncommon along this trail. 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. With a watchful eye, one can sometimes see bighorn sheep along the rugged ridges of Pole Mountain.

Good fishing is possible in the lower 4.0 miles of West Lost Trail Creek. Cattle graze the lower portions of the West Lost Trail drainage, while domestic sheep can be seen grazing in the areas along the Continental Divide.

The trail begins at the confluence of West Lost Trail Creek and Lost Trail Creek. The trail travels at a gradual climb, paralleling the creek bottom for about 4.0 miles. The trail then enters a rather open patchy stand of spruce timber as it climbs toward the head of the West Lost Trail Creek drainage. A gradual climb of about 1.0 mile in distance brings one to the Continental Divide and access to Cataract Lake.

The trail is well defined until about until about 0.5 mile before reaching the Continental Divide. Rock cairns, trail post markers and stock boundary signs help mark the travel route near the Divide. The junctions with Lost Trail Creek Trail, Cataract Lake Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail toward Pole Creek are not well signed.

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 16.5 miles on Forest Development Road # 520 to the Lost Trail Creek Trailhead. Hike approximately 1.75 miles up Lost Trail Creek Trail (#821) to the intersection with Lost Trail Creek Trail. Trail junction is signed.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Late June through September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Mark Hudson
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I make the 1500 mile one way trip to ride my motorcycle in Colorado once a year. There are many more trails closed to us than open. I am also a hiker. I prefer to hike no motorized trails. I suggest you do so also. Thanks.

Time of Day: Afternnon
Length of Time: A couple of hours
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Beautiful hike! Finger Mesa on one side and interesting rock formations on the other. Good variety of scenary. Meadows, cliffs, timber, and a creek. The ATVs and motorcycles speeding by tended to take away from the experience though. My number one complaint is the damage that these vehicles have done to the trail. It just takes a little rain to make most of the trail extremely muddy. IMHO, I think the trail would could be instantly improved by closing it to motorized vehicles.
Conditions: Rainy/Muddy
Water Availability: Creek level was a bit high but very fishable! You must have to work around the thick willows in some places.
Recommended Clothing: Pack a poncho.
Suggested Accessories: Fly Rod.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Good camping places
ICON Cold Water Fishing Lower 4 miles of West Lost Trail Creek
ICON Hiking & Walking West Lost Trail Creek
ICON Horseback Riding Gradual climb
ICON Mountain Biking Gradual climb
ICON ATV Riding Gradual climb
ICON Motorcycle Riding Gradual climb
ICON Viewing Scenery Pole Mountain and vast panoramic views
ICON Viewing Wildlife Bighorn sheep along the rugged ridges of Pole Mountain

Related Activities
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.

Lost Trail Creek - 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.

Rio Grande Reservoir - This is a scenic high mountain reservoir with access to wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities. There are five campgrounds, picnic areas, many trails leading from the area and a jeep road with a historical site.

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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