This past weekend, I hiked in Colorado’s Lost Creek Wilderness and summited a “12er” – Kenosha Peak. It was a really swell time through a beautiful pine forest, alongside a creek (which ended up swelling as the sun warmed up snow fields at higher altitudes and increased runoff), up to above the tree line with 360 degree views of various Colorado mountain ranges.
The trail (Ben Tyler Trail, south trailhead) started with about a mile and a half of forest trail outside the wilderness area, and eventually you are presented with the demarcation sign.
It’s forested creek side hiking for another 2.5 or 3 miles until the tree line breaks around 11,000 feet. I took the time to look back upon the valley at this point. In the distance, you can see the collegiate peaks. Side bar – screw those willow bushes. I got off trail a few times trying to avoid snow melt which created marshy conditions I wasn’t dressed for; the willows were relentless at making me lose my detour and scratching me up in the process.
With all due respect to Gerry Roach and his invaluable book about the LCW, I don’t think this trail was 7.8 miles like he said. I clocked in at 12.3 miles total, but that was with an unnecessary detour based on bad advice in the book. Gerry says to leave the trail at 11,800 and make for Kenosha Peak at 12,100 ft. However, I ended up following the Ben Tyler trail to a point nearby known as Foster’s Benchmark, which caps out at 11,900 ft. Even with the detour, I don’t think I added on 4.5 extra miles, so I’m not sure how Gerry calculated that distance…
Anyway, even with the extra miles, Rusty and I descended (again, bushwhacking occasionally and carving our own trail down the peak) and made it back to the car after about 5.5 hours of hiking.
Stats for the hike are listed below from AllTrails. You can see where we detoured at the left side of the “lollipop”, and eventually made our way counter clockwise to the true peak. We then descended in as straight of a line as possible back to the Ben Tyler trail.