Lost Creek Wilderness

Last updated
Lost Creek Wilderness
Lost Creek Wilderness in August 2013.jpg
Lost Creek Wilderness
Usa edcp relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Location Park / Jefferson counties, Colorado, USA
Nearest city Denver, CO
Coordinates 39°16′7″N105°28′5″W / 39.26861°N 105.46806°W / 39.26861; -105.46806 Coordinates: 39°16′7″N105°28′5″W / 39.26861°N 105.46806°W / 39.26861; -105.46806 [1]
Area119,790 acres (484.8 km2)
EstablishedJanuary 1, 1980
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Lost Creek Wilderness is a 119,790-acre (485 km2) wilderness area located in central Colorado in Jefferson and Park counties south of the town of Bailey. The area is situated entirely within the boundaries of the Pike National Forest.


The Lost Creek Scenic Area in the Wilderness is a 16,798-acre National Natural Landmark designated site within the Wilderness.


Granite rock formations define the wilderness Lcwco.JPG
Granite rock formations define the wilderness

The area is named for Lost Creek, a perennial stream that disappears and reappears before finally joining Goose Creek which empties into the South Platte River at Cheesman Reservoir just east of the Wilderness area. The entire water system of the area forms a watershed for the Platte River Basin. The area is notable for its many rock formations, natural arches, and rounded granite domes and knobs,. These are contained in two ranges of low alpine foothills of the Rocky Mountains: the Kenosha Mountains and the Tarryall Mountains. 12,431-foot (3,789 m) Bison Peak is the highest peak in the wilderness.

Because of its proximity to Denver, the area is quite popular for outdoor recreation in both summer and winter months. Typical activities in the area include hiking, backpacking, rock-climbing, as well as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter camping. There are 130 miles (210 km) of trails in the wilderness, including a section of the Colorado Trail that crosses Lost Creek then parallels the northeast boundary toward Kenosha Pass. [2] [3] [4]

Colorado with Lost Creek Wilderness in red Lost Creek Wilderness location in Colorado.png
Colorado with Lost Creek Wilderness in red

Lost Park, as the area is sometimes called, was one of the last refuges of the American Bison in the United States. [5]

Scenic area

The Lost Creek Scenic Area is a 16,798-acre (67.98 km2) [6] [nb 1] site in the Lost Creek Wilderness created in 1963, under the 1939 "U-Regulations", which was the precursor of the Wilderness Act. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1966. [7] It is located in the Pike National Forest and is in both Park and Jefferson counties. Rock formations with pinnacles and spires are located in narrow gorges and on ridges. An underground stream "disappears and reappears" nine times or more at the site. [6]

In the TV series Supernatural, Episode 2 of Season 1 takes place within the Lost Creek Wilderness area, specifically at the fictitious Blackwater Ridge.


  1. Wilderness.net says that the scenic area is 15,120 acres. [7]

Related Research Articles

Park County, Colorado County in Colorado, US

Park County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,206. The county seat is Fairplay. The county was named after the large geographic region known as South Park, which was named by early fur traders and trappers in the area.

Jefferson County, Colorado County in Colorado, US

Jefferson County, is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 534,543, making it the fourth-most populous county in Colorado. The county seat is Golden, and the most populous city is Lakewood.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve American national park, large sand dunes on eastern edge of the San Luis Valley, Sangre de Cristo Range, Colorado, United States

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is an American national park that conserves an area of large sand dunes up to 750 feet (229 m) tall on the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley, and an adjacent national preserve in the Sangre de Cristo Range, in south-central Colorado, United States. The park was originally designated Great Sand Dunes National Monument on March 17, 1932, by President Herbert Hoover. The original boundaries protected an area of 35,528 acres. A boundary change and redesignation as a national park and preserve was authorized on November 22, 2000, and then established on September 24, 2004. The park encompasses 107,342 acres while the preserve protects an additional 41,686 acres for a total of 149,028 acres. The recreational visitor total was 527,546 in 2019.

American Discovery Trail Long-distance hiking trail across the United States

The American Discovery Trail is a system of recreational trails and roads which collectively form a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail across the mid-tier of the United States. Horses can also be ridden on most of this trail. The coastal trailheads are the Delmarva Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the northern California coast on the Pacific Ocean. The trail has northern and southern alternates for part of its distance, passing through Chicago and St. Louis respectively. The total length of the trail including both the north and south routes is 6,800 miles (10,944 km). The northern route covers 4,834 miles (7,780 km) with the southern route covering 5,057 miles (8,138 km). It is the only non-motorized coast-to-coast trail.

George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests is an administrative entity combining two U.S. National Forests into one of the largest areas of public land in the Eastern United States. The forests cover 1.8 million acres (7,300 km2) of land in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Approximately 1 million acres (4,000 km2) of the forest are remote and undeveloped and 139,461 acres (564 km2) have been designated as wilderness areas, which eliminates future development.

Mount Hood National Forest

The Mount Hood National Forest is 62 miles (100 km) east of the city of Portland, Oregon, and the northern Willamette River valley. The Forest extends south from the Columbia River Gorge across more than 60 miles (97 km) of forested mountains, lakes and streams to the Olallie Scenic Area, a high lake basin under the slopes of Mount Jefferson. The Forest includes and is named after Mount Hood, a stratovolcano. The Forest encompasses some 1,067,043 acres (4,318.17 km2). Forest headquarters are located in Sandy, Oregon. A 1993 Forest Service study estimated that the extent of old growth in the Forest was 345,300 acres (139,700 ha). The Forest is divided into four separate districts - Barlow, Clackamas River (Estacada), Hood River, and Zigzag (Zigzag).

Medicine Bow–Routt National Forest

Medicine Bow–Routt National Forest is the official title to a U.S. Forest Service managed area extending over 2,222,313 acres (8,993.38 km2) in the states of Wyoming and Colorado, United States. What were once three separate areas, Medicine Bow National Forest, Routt National Forest, and Thunder Basin National Grassland were administratively combined in 1995 due to similarity of the resources, proximity to each other and for administrative purposes.

Pike National Forest

The Pike National Forest is located in the Front Range of Colorado, United States, west of Colorado Springs including Pikes Peak. The forest encompasses 1,106,604 acres (4,478 km2) within Clear Creek, Teller, Park, Jefferson, Douglas and El Paso counties. The major rivers draining the forest are the South Platte and Fountain Creek. Rampart Reservoir is a large artificial body of water located within the forest.

Weminuche Wilderness Protected area in southwestern Colorado, US

The Weminuche Wilderness is a wilderness area in southwest Colorado managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the San Juan National Forest on the west side of the Continental Divide and the Rio Grande National Forest on the east side of the divide. The Weminuche Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1975, and expanded by the Colorado Wilderness Acts of 1980 and 1993. It is located 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of the town of Silverton, 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Durango, and 8 miles (13 km) west of South Fork. At 499,771 acres (2,022.50 km2), it is the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado. Elevation in the wilderness ranges from 7,700 feet (2,300 m) along the Animas River to 14,093 feet (4,296 m) at the summit of Windom Peak.

North Fork John Day Wilderness

The North Fork John Day Wilderness is a wilderness area within the Umatilla and Wallowa–Whitman National Forests in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon.

Denver Mountain Parks

The Denver Mountain Parks system contains more than 14,000 acres (5,700 ha) of parklands in the mountains and foothills of Jefferson, Clear Creek, Douglas, and Grand counties in Colorado, west and south of Denver.

Geography of Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs geography describes geographical topics regarding the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado in El Paso County, Colorado. With 194.87 sq mi (504.7 km2) of land, it is the state's largest-sized city. Denver is the most populated city.

Area of Critical Environmental Concern

Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) is a conservation ecology program in the Western United States, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The ACEC program was conceived in the 1976 Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), which established the first conservation ecology mandate for the BLM. The FLPMA mandate directs the BLM to protect important riparian corridors, threatened and endangered species habitats, cultural and archeological resources, as well as unique scenic landscapes that the agency assesses as in need of special management attention.

Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 is a land management law passed in the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2009. The bill designates millions of acres in the US as protected and establishes a National Landscape Conservation System. It includes funding for programs, studies and other activities by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and in some cases bars further geothermal leasing, oil and gas leasing, and new mining patents on certain stretches of protected land.

The Kenosha Mountains or Kenosha Mountain are a subrange of the Front Range located in Park and Jefferson counties of Colorado. Lying within the Pike National Forest, the range extends 36 miles (58 km) from where it meets the Platte River Mountains to the northwest, to Windy Peak to the southeast. This long mountain is bordered by the Platte River Mountains on the north and the Tarryall Mountains on the south.

Mount Evans Wilderness

The Mount Evans Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area in Arapaho National Forest and Pike National Forest about 30 miles (48 km) west of Denver, Colorado. The wilderness area is named after Mount Evans.

Bison Peak

Bison Peak is the highest summit of the Tarryall Mountains range in the Rocky Mountains of North America. Officially designated Bison Mountain, the prominent 12,432-foot (3,789 m) peak is located in the Lost Creek Wilderness of Pike National Forest, 8.1 miles (13.1 km) north by west of the community of Tarryall in Park County, Colorado, United States. The summit is the highest point in the Lost Creek Wilderness.


  1. "Lost Creek Wilderness". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  2. "Lost Creek Wilderness". Wilderness.net. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  3. "Lost Creek Wilderness Area". Colorado Wilderness. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  4. Rappold, R. Scott (July 8, 2009). "Lost Creek Wilderness is a Hidden Treasure". Colorado Springs, CO: The Gazette. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  5. "KILLING OFF THE BUFFALO.; HUNTERS COMMITTING DEPREDATIONS IN LOST PARK, COLORADO". The New York Times. October 3, 1892. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Lost Creek Scenic Area". National Park Service. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  7. "Lost Creek Wilderness". Wilderness.net. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2013.