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Goose Creek Trail

Basics
Location:
Southwest of Denver
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
18.8 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
10 to 11 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
8200 feet
Elevation Change:
1900 feet
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall

Description

The popular Goose Creek Trail provides access into the southeast portion of the Lost Creek Wilderness. The trail winds north and eventually ends in Wigwam Park at a junction with the Wigwam Trail. The Goose Creek Trail offers primitive camping, fishing in Goose Creek, and spectacular views of formations of red Pikes Peak granite. A popular day hike is up the lower Goose Creek Trail to a side trail leading to several historic buildings and the remains of a shaft house. These old buildings and machinery date back to the late 1800’s/early 1900's when a company attempted without success to create a reservoir by sealing the underground channel of the Lost Creek. Above the shaft house, the creek is Lost Creek, but it emerges from underground just south of the shaft house as Goose Creek.

The McCurdy Park Trail intersects the Goose Creek Trail where it begins to climb north out of the Lost Creek drainage. A popular loop hike is to hike the Goose Creek Trail up to the McCurdy Park Trail and follow the McCurdy Park trail to its intersection with the Brookside Trail. Then hike south a short distance to the Lake Park Trail. Follow the Lake Park Trail to Hankins Pass, and then hike east on the Hankins Pass Trail to the Goose Creek Trailhead.

There are horse corrals near the trailhead that are available for public use. The lower part of the valley is rather tight and good, legal campsites (at least 100’ from water and trail) are scarce, so plan to begin hiking from the trailhead early enough to find a good campsite. This area sees heavy use, so do all you can to keep your impact to a minimum. Because the trail is entirely in designated wilderness, Wilderness regulations apply.

From the trailhead sign near the parking area follow the trail a short way down to a wooden footbridge across a Hankins Creek. Just across the bridge is a trail junction. The Hankins Pass Trail heads left (west) and Goose Creek Trail heads right (east). After reaching Goose Creek, the trail follows the creek upstream, crossing over on a large metal footbridge. The valley gradually opens up revealing the domes and spires characteristic of the area. The trail soon begins to gain elevation, rising up away from the creek.

A sign marks the turn off to the historic buildings and shaft house remnants. At this point the trail begins to gain elevation rapidly before dropping down into Watkins Gulch. The trail then begins to head up again in a general northwesterly direction, reaching the McCurdy Park Trail junction at a high point overlooking the valley. The McCurdy Park Trail heads west from the junction, dropping down to eventually cross Lost Creek and then turns south up a steep valley to intersect the Brookside McCurdy Trail in McCurdy Park. The Goose Creek Trail bears right (north) up to a saddle east of a granite tower with a distinctive leaning pinnacle before dropping down into Wigwam Park to end at its intersection with the Wigwam Trail.

Details

Location:
Southwest of Denver
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
18.8 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
10 to 11 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
8200
Elevation Change:
1900
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall
Useful Map(s):
USGS Quads: McCurdy Mt., Windy Peak

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Goose Creek Trailhead: Drive west from Denver on US 285 for 23 miles to Pine Junction. Turn south (left) at Pine Junction on to Jefferson County 126 toward Pine and Buffalo Creek. Drive 21.8 miles on Jefferson County 126. Turn south (right) onto Forest Road 211 that leads toward Cheesman Reservoir. Travel 2 miles and bear west (right) at the sign pointing to Goose Creek. Drive 1.1 miles in a westerly direction until you reach a fork in the road. Bear left at the fork and stay on Forest Road 211. From this fork drive 5.2 miles to a road intersection south of Molly Gulch Campground. Turn right and drive 4.7 miles to the Goose Creek Trailhead access road. Half way along this road you'll pass Goose Creek Campground. At the trailhead access sign turn west (right) and drive 1.3 miles to the trailhead parking.


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