Beat the crowds at other Lost Creek Wilderness trailheads, such as Goose Creek Trail, with this path that bisects the wilderness and passes quiet beaver ponds, rocky monoliths and wide open green meadows.
To get there
You can start this trail from the west side of the wilderness, but it makes the drive twice as long, so we will describe it from the east. Take U.S. Highway 24 west to Woodland Park and then drive north on Colorado Highway 67 to Deckers. Take County Road 126 and turn left on Goose Creek Road (Forest Service Road 211) into the Hayman fire burn scar. Follow the road to the right at the entrance to Cheesman Reservoir and turn right on Forest Service Road 560. Go right at a "Y" junction and turn left onto Forest Service Road 545. Pass several informal campsites to reach the upper and lower parking lots.
For the first quarter-mile of the Wigwam Trail, the forest has been burned. But as you wind around, crossing and recrossing Wigwam Creek on log bridges, evidence of the fire fades, and soon you are in a quiet forest dense with old-growth conifers.
The creek forms little pools and waterfalls as you climb steadily. At about the four-mile mark, the forest opens to willow-choked Wigwam Park, where tiny brook trout do acrobatics in still beaver ponds.
At the park, you'll reach the intersections with other popular Lost Creek trails: Goose Creek and Rolling Creek.
Farther uphill, a trail takes you to a second park at a higher elevation. If you hike farther, you'll reach a low saddle ridge and then a downhill section that eventually levels out, always following water and meandering through the green creases that make the Lost Creek Wilderness area so appealing. If you are doing an in-and-out hike, don't get so mesmerized by the sights you forget to turn around.
The trail eventually winds up at the Lost Park Campground on the western edge of the wilderness. Numerous overnight trips and loops are available. If you have two drivers, you can leave a car at the Goose Creek or Rolling Creek trailheads or the Lost Park Campground, or for a great multi-day adventure make a loop with the Colorado Trail.
No fees. Dogs must be leashed; horses are allowed; bikes and motorized vehicles prohibited.
Pike National Forest, 636-1602.
A scale of one to four boots. One is most gentle. Four is most difficult, with severe elevation gain, difficult terrain or extreme length or altitude.
R. Scott Rappold, The Gazette