If you and your pooch are physically fit and willing to "ruff" it, you’re sure to have a heck of a time hiking West Lost Trail Creek! The route is located near Creede, Colorado in the vast Rio Grande National Forest, and you’ll have to walk a little to get to the trail itself -- the closest parking lot is at the Lost Trail Trailhead, two miles down Trail 821 from West Lost Trail (parking is free, but limited). At 7 miles, the trail can be done in a day if you push it, but if you want to take your time or explore the rest of what this part of the forest has to offer, you can pitch your tent at Bristol Head Campground or Lost Trail Campground. Dispersed camping is also permitted in most parts of the forest. The trail is moderately busy -- you might not have the whole route to yourself, but you’re unlikely to need to deal with crowds.
If you’re in this part of Colorado, you’ve probably come for the piney forests and alpine peaks, and West Lost Trail provides this in spades. Not only that, but if you visit in spring, you can see fields of gorgeous yellow wildflowers. The trail runs along the gently burbling creek and boasts fantastic views of Pole Mountain, too, as well as access to Cataract Lake. You might also pass some bighorn sheep, so be sure to keep your fur-ball on a tight leash if they have a tendency to tear after wildlife! Fitter furry friends might want to climb the extra mile to the Continental Divide Scenic Trail. The last half-mile of this section is particularly steep and definitely not suitable for beginners, but the views from the top have to be seen to be believed!
West Lost Trail Creek definitely isn’t a truly punishing workout, but there are several steep and gradual inclines -- less athletic animals and older furry friends that can’t quite move like they used to might want to give it a miss. In terms of amenities, there are restrooms at Lost Trail Campground. Keep in mind that the path can be rocky and uneven, and, like most forest and wilderness trails, the surface can get quite muddy after it rains. Parts of the trail aren’t shaded, so go early in the summer months. Remember to bring waste bags and water with you, and enjoy your walk on this furrifically Fido-friendly trail!