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The "approach" begins at the Pine Creek Trailhead. On Trails Illustrated, this is Trail #1459, but on the National Forest San Isabel map, this is #1467. The trail passes through private property and there is a requested fee for crossing of $1.00 per person or $2.00 if you have a dog. Usually there are envelopes provided for dropping this into a box. The initial 2 miles tend to be open, hot, dusty and rocky, but the trail is never very steep. In 3.75 the trail comes to the wilderness boundary. A short distance past there it will intersect the Colorado Trail #1776 and cross to the north side of Pine Creek. From the wilderness boundary, it's another 5.7 miles to the Missouri Gulch/aka: Elkhead Pass Trail and about 3 miles to "Little John's Cabin." This area makes a good place to camp, even though there are agreeable places before reaching the now, dilapidated cabins. Emerald & Iowa can be easily done as a day hike from the cabins. Across the creek and south of the cabins is another trail called "The South Pine Creek" Trail #1458 (TI) that leads SE over to Frenchman Creek and eventually Harvard Lakes. 

If you want to keep packing in, continue on west and SW on the Pine Creek Trail passing Bedrock Falls, (which can provide a nice refreshing stream dip), followed by the trail emerging into a long meadow filled with willows. The trail stays on the north/west side of the meadow and generally keeps you out of the willows. There are some other camping opportunities along the trail as it passes through this meadow. At about 9.5 miles in from the trailhead is the trail junction that we'll call the end of the "approach." The trail splits and you can either head west, then north toward Elkhead Pass or continue SW to Silver King Lake. The 13er, UN 13,762/aka: Magdalene Pk. is accessible from the vicinity of the lake via a rocky ridge on the east side of the lake. 


Probably the best camp area is in the vicinity of Little John's Cabin. Plenty of room here for larger groups and fishing as well. 

Campsite Locations

Little John's Cabin N 38° 57' 18.75, W 106° 18' 56.85"
Elevation 10,750 ft.
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