Payne Creek Trail

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
21.7 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
957 m
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Directions to Trailhead

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and escape into the Lost Creek Wilderness. The Payne Creek Trail is an epic adventure for avid hikers through the quintessential Colorado terrains. Hike through meadowlands, along creeks, up ridges and through aspen groves all the while enjoying views of the encompassing mountainous landscape.

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Route Description for Payne Creek Trail

Lace up your hiking boots and head out into the Lost Creek Wilderness along the Payne Creek Trail. This exciting excursion can be completed as a lengthy day hike or an epic backpacking expedition. Note that this trail requires a self-issued permit. These permits can be found at the trailhead and must be kept with you for the entirety of your journey. To get the best out of this experience, make sure you have sturdy hiking boots and wear layers as the weather will change as you trek the undulating path.

When you are packed up and ready to roll, take the trail signposted for Brookside McCurdy Trail. Hike this route through the meadowlands and enjoy the expansive vistas. You will encounter a junction. Here, stay left on the Brookside McCurdy Trail. This path will guide you across Payne Creek and through an aspen grove. This section of the path is steep as you ascend an old logging road. The route will then descend into a drainage and an open meadow. You will shortly meet your turnaround point when Craig Creek and Payne Creek intersect.

At this point, there are plenty of dispersed campsites for those who wish to stay overnight and continue their journey in the morning. If you are ready to return, retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Getting to the Payne Creek Trail Trailhead

The Payne Creek Trailhead is off County Road 64.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Dispersed backcountry camping, restrictions apply.

  • When to do


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Payne Creek Trail Elevation Graph

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Payne Creek Trail Reviews

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