5-6 miles hiking per new campsite. Take an amazing trip to undisturbed wilderness camping and world class trout fishing. Although this area is a little more difficult to access, it definitely keeps the crowds thinner. Duration: A few nights.

This is an intermediate trip involving leave no trace camping practices, 5.5-6miles of approach with approximately 1500ft of climbing before dropping some 800 feet into the valley that holds West Lost Lake.

The draw of the West Lost Lakes area is that it is a relatively easy approach to undisturbed wilderness camping and world class trout fishing. The northern end of the wilderness area is more difficult to access and therefore often less crowded than the more popular southern destinations including Trappers lake and Stillwater reservoir. The views of the

Chinese Wall from West Lost Lake are nothing short of breath-taking and if you’re up for the adventure, a walk across the Devils Causeway is within reach. Fishing is productive in the waters of West Lost Lake and the brook trout residing within are massive. Generally the most productive fishing is done in the early summer shortly after the ice melts off the lakes.

As mentioned previously, accessing the northern end of the Flat Tops Wilderness involves more of a time commitment than trips on the southern end of the area. Ripple Creek pass can be reached from either Yampa to the east, or from Meeker to the Southwest. From Yampa, you’ll be looking for Rcr 17 which will eventually turn into County rd 8 that will lead directly (albeit slowly) to Ripple Creek Pass and the Lost Lakes Trail #1116. The trail head is on your left if coming from Yampa. From Meeker, take County Rd 8 to just shy of Ripple Creek Pass and the trail head will be on your right. It should be noted that these roads are NOT maintained during the winter so this is mainly a summer and fall trip. There is no fee to enter the wilderness area, but a permit must be obtained from the trailhead and displayed at all times. It would also be wise to pick up a map of the northwestern part of the flat tops wilderness from REI or your favorite outdoor retailer. More information on wilderness regulations can be found here.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Headlamps
  • Rope (to hang food)
  • Sturdy Hiking Boots
  • Fishing Pole
  • The rest is up to you
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Activities Fishing, Backpacking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn


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Directions from the US forest service website. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mbr/recreation/recarea/?recid=34108&actid=51 Directions: #1: Follow County Road 7 west from Yampa, and Forest Road 900 to Trail 1119 at Stillwater Reservoir, 15 Miles. Follow trail 1119, 6.4 miles to Round Lake. Follow trail 1116, 2.8 miles to West Lost Lakes Trail. #2: Follow County Roads 17 north, and 132 west to Forest Highway 16 to Pyramid Guard Station, 18 miles. Follow Trail 1119, 3.2 miles to Trail 1116. Follow 1116, 2.5 miles to 1103. Parking: Parking can be limited at Stillwater trailhead on busy summer weekends.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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