Goose Creek Trail | Lost Creek Wilderness & Pike National Forest
Florissant, CO | 05/09/20| 10.08 miles | 1,732′ gain
Allie and I attempted this hike a few weeks prior but were turned around by a ranger due to a forest fire in the area. Thankfully it was quickly taken care of and the trail was reopened, so Allie and I made plans to try once again.
The Lost Creek Wilderness (LCW) is one of the most rugged and mysterious wilderness areas on the front range of Colorado. It’s home to rounded granite domes, rare granite arches, and extremely rugged terrain. The LCW is centered around (and named for) Lost Creek, a mysterious stream that repeatedly disappears underground and reappears further downstream. After it’s final reappearance, it becomes Goose Creek.
Due to the LCW’s rugged nature, evidence of human history is minimal. This area isn’t like many others in Colorado with cabin ruins and mine tailings around every turn. Few attempted to do more than graze this land, and those who did, failed.
The Goose Creek Trail is one of many long trails that snake through the LCW. We only followed the first five miles as it parallels Goose Creek, but the trail continues further into the wilderness. We were hiking to one of the few ruins in the LCW, the site of the Lost Park Reservoir shafthouse and bunkhouses.
The parking lot was PACKED when we arrived, though most seemed to be backpacking as we didn’t encounter nearly as many people along the trail as we expected. The trail first travels through a burn area as it descends to Goose Creek. Although many consider burn areas to be ugly scars, we enjoyed being able to see our surroundings as well as new life beneath our feet.
The trail crosses Goose Creek and then intersects with the Hankins Pass Trail. We went right to stay on the Goose Creek Trail. All intersections are well signed.
After crossing the bridge, the trail follows the creek for the next few miles, slowly climbing higher above the water.
Most of the trail was gradual and the miles went by quickly. Soon we were on the final stretch. A sign marked the turnoff and we quickly reached the well-preserved bunkhouses.
There are two bunkhouses left that are in pretty good condition. These were used between 1891 and 1913 as employee housing for the nearby Lost Park Reservoir Site. They attempted to dam Lost Creek in one of its underground stretches but ultimately failed.
After exploring the bunkhouses, we continued on to the shafthouse. We went straight past the bunkhouses and followed a trail through a camping area. Eventually our “trail” petered out and we realized we’d gone the wrong way. (Go right before the first bunkhouse.) We followed faint trails, bushwhacked, and scrambled up and around big boulders before finding the extremely obvious (and correct) trail.
Upon finding the trail, it was quick and easy to reach the shafthouse, or what remains of it. This is the site of the attempted dam. Lost Creek was right beneath us and we couldn’t even tell.
After a long lunch break, we moseyed back to the trailhead. The clouds had lifted, giving us a different view of our surroundings. And our white pasqueflower had even opened up!