The Payne Gulch Trailhead near Bailey provides access to the Brookside-McCurdy Trail and the Payne Creek Trail through the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. The Brookside-McCurdy Trail is the major north-south artery through the middle portion of the Lost Creek Wilderness. Its northern terminus is the Payne Gulch Trailhead and its southern terminus is the Twin Eagles Trailhead, southeast of the Tarryall Reservoir. About midway between these two trailheads the Brookside-McCurdy Trail passes through the Lost Park Trailhead. Along the way it connects with nine other trails, providing numerous opportunities to create loop trips of various lengths. Throughout its length, this trail presents the hiker with a wide variety of the different landscapes found in the Lost Creek Wilderness, including different forest types, wide-open parks, wild formations of red Pikes Peak granite, and the tremendous views found along the ridge between Bison Peak and McCurdy Park. Deer, elk, and bighorn sheep are some of the wildlife that can be seen along the trail. Because the trail is almost entirely in designated wilderness, Wilderness regulations apply.
The Payne Creek Trail provides access into the northeast portion of the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. It is a relatively gentle trail overall, climbing gradually through ponderosa and lodgepole pine forests and an aspen grove created by a 135 acre fire in 1926. It then descends into open meadows along Craig Creek. Payne Creek is named for Jim Payne, who once logged the area and had a mill two miles up the creek from the Platte River. Payne and others logged all the way up the valley to the divide between Payne Creek and Craig Creek in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. There are sites suitable for overnight camping in Craig Meadows. The trail connects with the Colorado Trail at its southern terminus. Because most of the Payne Creek Trail is in designated wilderness, Wilderness regulations apply.