Lost Lake, Colorado
Location: Rawah Wilderness, north-central Colorado.
Maps: USGS 7.5' Quad: Rawah Lakes; Trails Illustrated 1:40K: Cameron Pass #112
Access: From Ted's Place at the entrance to Poudre Canyon, drive about 53 miles west on HWY 14 to the Laramie River Rd, 2 miles west of the Big South TH. Go north for about 11 miles to the Rawah TH. 
Fees: None
Trails: 7 miles one way. 2100ft elevation gain. Trail begins and ends in forest.
Weather: Current and recent conditions    Local Forecast

Rawah WildernessDave and I backpacked to Lost Lake one rainy weekend in September just before he moved to New York. Frank joined us, of course. Lost Lake is a common name in the mountains of Colorado, but this Lost Lake was more lost than most.  It lies near 11,000 ft in the Rawah Wilderness northeast of Blue Lake, 7 miles from a dirt road that leads off of Highway 14 some 10 miles.  As we got out of the car at the trailhead, a very large retriever came up to Frankie and attempted to mount him. Frank responded with a viscious snarl and nip to the face of the offender. That's the only time Frank has ever bitten anybody. I couldn't blame him for reacting. The dog backed off. The sun was shining when we hiked in, but as we neared the lake, the rain began to fall, and we erected the tent just before a downpour. Later in the afternoon we emerged to find everything soggy and wet.  The mosquitos came to feast on our flesh, and did so despite our valiant efforts to destroy as many as possible. We walked around Lost Lake, which is a very small pool of water collected in a swampy depression. One finds it difficult to approach the lake from two sides because it is so boggy. We camped about 100 feet from the lake's shores. As dusk approached, we gathered a large cache of firewood and cooked dinner. We built the fire in a shallow pit between a large boulder that also served as our kitchen, and a lump of earth with a dead tree protruding upwards. After dinner we sat by the warm blazing fire and dried our boots and socks.  Frankie's sweater caught on fire while drying, but was quickly extinguished, though it bears a red scorch to this day. Frank got wet and then got very cold, so I held him close to the fire since he was afraid to get near it on his own. He was so tired that he twice crept into the tent to sleep before we did. We stayed up late into the night by the fire, entranced by its mesmerizing dance and flicker. The spot we built it in served well, as the heat stayed in the depression we were in and made it very comfortable.  The moon rose around 11 PM, and shortly after, we let the fire die down to glowing red embers, smoking in the chill night air. The next morning it was still grey and rainy, so the pictures I managed to take of the lake are not good. The trip back to the car went nicely, and I was lucky to spot the forest rangers far enough in advance so that I could leash Frankie and avoid a fine. Upon further examination of the map, I concluded that in fact we never even made it to the lake, but instead camped next to an insignificant pool of water downstream. A high priority is to go back and get to the real lake.

Rawah Wilderness
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Page created 12-16-99