Backpack to the Gore Range's Wheeler and Lost Lakes

Gore Trailhead, Frisco, Colorado, United States

  • Activities:

    Hunting, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Rafting, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    10 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2200 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

The Gore Range in Colorado is a prominent mountain range that runs from Rabbit Ear's Pass on the north end, to Copper Mountain and the West Ten Mile Creek to the south.

The range offers many remote lakes and peaks which hikers can access from various points of entry. Wheeler and Lost Lakes lie within the boundaries of the Eagle's Nest Wilderness Area.

The Gore Trail begins on the north side of the CO-91 pedestrian bridge over I-70. You will follow the trail up along the highway and it quickly begins to switchback as you climb up the first 2.5 miles, which is the steepest leg of the hike. As you level off around 11,000 feet, you will enjoy great views of surrounding peaks and come across the split for Wheeler Lakes. You will hit the first lake within 1/4 mile of the split, with the second lake located below and just beyond the first. This is an excellent place to camp and take pictures of Tenmile Canyon to the east. If fishing is your priority, skip Wheeler Lakes, which are over-run with salamanders, and continue to Lost Lake for some hungry cutthroats.

From the Wheeler Lakes Split, continue up the Gore Trail an additional 2.4 miles through meadows, seasonal ponds, and mild switchbacks until you reach Lost Lake. You will not be able to see the lake until after you've passed it, so prepare to climb a small berm to your left once you begin to see the prominent ridge above the lake.

The lake drops off quickly on all sides except the north end, which can be a great place to target trout cruising the flats. The lake's elevation is a touch above 11,600, which means you can encounter snow and ice into June. If you continue on the Gore Trail for less than a mile, you will reach Uneva Pass (12,000 ft.), which sits between two peaks that have great views of the Vail Valley, Vail Pass, Copper Mountain, Frisco and Lake Dillon.

Getting there: The Gore Trail is easily accessed from westbound I-70, about 7 miles south of Frisco, by taking exit 195 for CO-91. You can park on the shoulder of the westbound off-ramp, which has turned into a bit of an unofficial parking area. Other options are to park across the highway in the Alpine parking lot at Copper Mountain, or park in Downtown Frisco and enjoy some authentic mountain fare while you wait for the free Summit Stage (hourly) bus to Copper Mountain.

Pack List

  • Hiking gear
  • Camping gear
  • Fly rod
  • Camera
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Lost lake is one of my favorite alpine lakes to fish. Towards the end of June the water starts boiling with fish rising to take dry flies. Water is clear, spot fish and lead them with your cast. I have not seen any fish in Wheeler Lakes, it is completely overrun with salamanders. After the first climb the trail levels out and is very easy going. Great views of Copper Mountain most of the hike!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Graham Silver

Based in Colorado and focused on exploring and fly fishing the Rocky Mountains. Through hiking, four-wheeling and aviation, I love finding untouched, remote lakes, streams and awesome scenery.

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