Lost Man Loop

Hunter–Fryingpan Wilderness Area, Colorado

Elevation Gain4,652ft
Trailhead Elevation10,525ft
Elevation Min/Max10511/12815ft
Elevation Start/End10525/10525ft

Lost Man Loop

Lost Man Loop is a hiking and horse trail in Pitkin County, Colorado. It is within Hunter–Fryingpan Wilderness Area and White River National Forest. It is 8.8 miles long and begins at 10,525 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 17.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,652 feet. The Lost Man parking and the Lost Man Campground camp site are near the trailhead. The Lost Man Reservoir (elevation 10,614 feet) reservoir can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Linkins Lake, Midway and South Fork Pass.

Lost Man Loop Professional Reviews and Guides

"Despite its close proximity to the resort town of Aspen, the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness Area is often overlooked as a prime hiking area. Its larger neighbors, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, with their many famous fourteen-thousand-foot peaks get all the attention.

Hunter-Fryingpan has no summits that can compete with the Maroon Bells or Snowmass Mountain, but rather its special attraction is the high glacial river valleys on the western slopes of the Continental Divide. Roaring Fork River, Fryingpan River, and Hunter Creek all originate within the boundaries of Hunter-Fryingpan, and the high open valleys at their headwaters are exceedingly scenic."

"This hike, in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness where leash laws apply, offers you and your canine companion three options, depending on your and your dog’s hiking abilities, stamina, available time, and weather. The first option is a short hike to Linkins Lake, situated above timberline and just below the summit of Independence Pass.

The second option is to continue along Lost Man Creek to Independence Lake, another gorgeous alpine lake, but one offering more solitude than Linkins Lake. If the weather and your and your dog’s stamina hold, you may want to consider option three. It continues to the saddle above Independence Lake, the highest point on this trail, for superb views of the Continental Divide and the Roaring Fork River valley. Then complete a half loop back to Lost Man Campground."

"A trek along Lost Man Trail #1996 off Independence Pass above Aspen offers stunning views with access to pristine lakes and jagged peaks along the very spine of the Continental Divide. Leading from the headwaters of the world-famous Roaring Fork River, much of your time is spent above timberline enjoying the sounds of silence and the exhilaration of hiking to what seems like the top of the world.

This is not a complete loop hike, so a shuttle vehicle is recommended. You could, however, easily hitch-hike back up the road. Everyone parked here is doing the same thing you are."

"Picking up where the Collegiate Peaks and Mount Massive Wilderness Areas leave off, the Hunter–Fryingpan Wilderness encompasses an 82,580-acre parcel of high mountain terrain along the western slope of the Sawatch Range.

In addition to a number of 13,000-foot peaks and some nice timberlands, this wilderness includes many beautiful streams and lakes. The Lost Man Trail visits two of these lakes while exploring a pair of drainages. Stretching between two trailheads located along the highway leading over Independence Pass, this highly scenic route covers 8.8 miles as it circles north through the heart of the Hunter–Fryingpan Wilderness."

"The South Fork Pass Trail cruises up the Lost Man Creek drainage through vast flowery meadows, entering the roughly 83,000-acre Hunter-Frying Pan Wilderness Area. Hemmed in by a long series of connected summits over 13,000 feet, the broad valley tilts gently to the south, making the trail accessible for early hiking.

Wildflower enthusiasts will enjoy viewing about 80 species of subalpine bloomers. Much of the flowering expanses are along a gradually ascending trail. This hike begins at a roadside trailhead and winds over to a canal. You’ll cross a reservoir dam and the easygoing trail travels on the west side of a creek drainage to a boxy little gorge which forms the turnaround point. Wildflower Alert: This trail takes you on a delightful tour of wide fields filled with subalpine wildflowers."

"A day hike or overnighter into the high glacial basins that feed the Roaring Fork River and one of its tributaries, Lost Man Creek, or an overnighter to Deadman Lake in the Hunter - Fryingpan Wilderness, just 18.5 miles east of Aspen.

The trails in the glacially formed basins that spawn the Roaring Fork River, its tributary Lost Man Creek, and the Fryingpan River make high country more than ordinarily accessible. However, because of this accessibility, the area is heavily used. Backpackers should be aware of stove-only regulations in this area and camping near the trails or any of the close-in lakes is discouraged. The trails do provide quick access to nearbycountry that is less heavily traveled."

"A half-day hike to Independence Lake or a longer day trip via Lost Man Lake to the Lost Man Trailhead. The Lost Man trail starts near Independence Pass, following the Roaring Fork valley up to several alpine lakes before it descends along Lost Man Creek to return to the highway near Lost Man Campground.

Independence Lake makes a fine destination for a half-day hike, and more ambitious hikers can reach Lost Man Lake without too much trouble. If you can arrange a two-car shuttle, you can start at the Linkins Lake Trailhead and hike over the divide and down Lost Man Creek in a single day."

Lost Man Loop Reviews

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Great point to point hike. We started at the lower point (left a bike at the end to shuttle back), with an easy 3.6 miles in, then the climbing starts. Would recommend this hike, but be prepared a lot of the hike is above the tree line and that leaves you without much coverage from weather.

Lost Man Loop Photos

Trail Information

Hunter–Fryingpan Wilderness Area
Nearby City
Hunter–Fryingpan Wilderness Area
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Aspen Ranger District, 806 W. Hallam, Aspen, CO 81611, (970) 925-3445; www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver
Local Contacts
White River National Forest Map; # 127, Aspen/Independence Pass
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018