June 12, 2011
The Lost Creek Wilderness hides some of the roughest terrain of the eastern slope of Colorado. Gigantic granite boulder fields turn trails into twisting mazes of cracks, caves, tunnels, cliffs, and dead ends. Fortunately the Shafthouse trail is a fairly easy trail that leads to a fantastic overlook of this area without getting too deeply lost in it.
|Distance:||8.3 miles round trip|
|Elevation Gain:||1,300 vertical feet|
Goose Creek Trailhead - From the town of Deckers take highway 126 west for 3 miles and turn left (south) onto county road 211. Begin measureing distance from here. 2.1 miles after this turn take a right at the top of a hill to stay on 211 (no signs to indicate roads). At 3.2 miles you will reach an intersection that does have a sign pointing you to go left for the Goose Creek trailhead. At 8.3 miles you will reach another intersection where you must turn right. The left has a sign for Lost Valley Ranch, there is no sign for Goose Creek Trailhead (however someone has written with permanent marker on the back of a stop sign which direction to go for Goose Creek). At 13 miles you will reach an intersection where a right turn will take you to the Goose Creek Trailhead, there is a sign here. The road ends at the parking lot for the trailhead.
Look for the trailhead sign on the west side of the road as you enter the parking area. From this sign follow the trail southwest down to Hankins Creek. Cross Hankins Creek and turn right. The trail will then continue down hill to Goose Creek and then begin to ascend to the west along Goose Creek. Cross a nice foot bridge over Goose Creek and continue following the trail as it turns north and parallels the creek. After 3.5 miles from the trailhead you will reach a sign pointing you to "historic buildings." Take this trail down to the old bunkhouses for the Antero and Lost Park Reservoir Company. From here you can follow a trail downhill to where Goose Creek emerges from Lost Creek area (where it becomes Goose Creek instead of Lost Creek). However more interesting is to follow the trail labeled for the Shafthouse. This is the location that was drilled into the rocks through which Lost Creek runs in an effort to fill the gaps with concrete and create a reservoir. Take this trail up for 3/4 of a mile to the old shafthouse location where you'll find the remains of the cable pulley used to raise and lower supplies, people, and tailings from the shaft. Continue on along the trail to go to the overlook. Following the main trail will bring you to an 8 foot drop off between some boulders. The easiest (though quite narrow) route down is to back track about 50 feet and look for a small gap on the northeast side of the trail. Slip through there and continue through the rocks. After only about 100 yards from there you will reach an open ledge with fantastic views of the namesake area of Lost Creek wilderness. For most this is the end of the trail as the route down into this area is quite difficult in terms of terrain and trail finding.
The hike begins in some of the Hayman Fire burn area. The aspen trees have begun to fill the area back in nicely. However the trail quickly leaves this area and moves on.
Along the way if you pay attention you'll see Harmonica Arch. One of very few arches that exist in eastern Colorado.
The terrain stays fairly easy early in the hike though the rugged part of Lost Creek is visible in the distance.
The rock formations here are quite amazing in places.
Two of the three bunkhouses still are standing though not safe enough to sleep inside.
The shafthouse remains look very out of place in the middle of this wilderness.
The Lost Creek face warns you to not enter his domain.
This is still the easy portion of the trail.
The view from the overlook of the rugged Lost Creek area.
Back down below the bunk houses this is where Lost Creek emerges from the rocks again and becomes Goose Creek.
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