Backpack to the Gore Range's Wheeler and Lost Lakes

Gore Trailhead

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
Show More
RT Distance 10 Miles
Elevation Gain 2200 Feet
Activities Hunting, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Rafting, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great high alpine lake!

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!


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

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Ski to Janet's Cabin

57 Saves

Backpack the Colorado Trail: Copper Mountain to Hagerman Pass

125 Saves

Hike to Ski Peak 7 Powder in Breckenridge

87 Saves