- Southwest of Denver
- 17.5 mile roundtrip
- 9 to 11 hours
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 8200 feet
- Elevation Change:
- 1800 feet
- Spring, Summer, Fall
The Hankins Pass Trail is the southernmost trail in the Lost Creek Wilderness. From the east, the trail gives the hiker a gradually rising climb up Hankins Gulch through dense forest to pleasant open meadows and aspen groves. From the junction with the Lake Park Trail at the top of Hankins Pass, the trail drops down the west side of the Tarryall Mountains to a junction with the Lizard Rock Trail coming up from the Spruce grove Trailhead, and then continues to descend to meet the Brookside-McCurdy Trail.
The trail is easy to follow and heads in a general westerly direction. There are horse corrals near the Goose Creek Trailhead that are available for public use. There are a number of campsites between the trailhead and Hankins Pass. However, there are few areas suitable for camping west of the pass due to the steep gradient of the trail. Because the trail is entirely in designated wilderness, Wilderness regulations apply.
From the Goose Creek Trailhead, hike downhill to a footbridge across Hankins Gulch. Just across the creek the Hankins Pass Trail heads west, while the Goose Creek Trail goes east (right). Climbing at first up through a forested valley, the trail eventually reaches a series of open meadows surrounded by aspen groves. The trail from here to the pass is very gorgeous in late September when the aspen leaves are changing color. At the top of Hankins Pass is a junction with the Lake Park Trail. That trail heads north (right) toward Lake Park, while the Hankins Pass Trail begins it’s descent to the west.
The grade on the west side of the pass is quite a bit steeper than the gradual rise up to the pass from the east. After a short descent, the trail reaches the wilderness boundary and the junction with the Lizard Rock Trail. The Lizard Rock Trail leads south to the Spruce Grove Campground, while the Hankins Pass Trail continues down in a northwesterly direction to its end at the junction with the Brookside-McCurdy Trail. If you head south from this junction on Brookside-McCurdy Trail you will reach the Twin Eagles Trailhead.
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. The Hankins Pass Trail begins at the junction with the Goose Creek Trail just down the hill from the trailhead.