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Lizard Head Wilderness



Norwood Ranger District- The Norwood Ranger District on the Uncompahgre National Forest encompasses a portion of the Uncompahgre Plateau near Norwood, the San Juan Mountains (south of the San Miguel River) and terrain surrounding Telluride.

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General Information

Description - This wilderness area encompasses 41,500 acres of mountainous terrain (most above 9,000 feet) with 40 miles of trails. Lizard Head Pass, lies immediately east of the wilderness boundary and serves as a trailhead for the region. The San Miguel Mountains lie within the area and contain 13,290-foot Dolores Peak. It is a high-point on the western side of the wilderness. Wilson Peak, El Diente and Mount Wilson (fourteeners) lie in the central area of the wilderness and are the primary attraction to the area for most visitors. The 300-foot cone on Lizard Head Peak, which is visible from Highway 145, reaches the height of 13,113 feet.

Recreation - Walking, hiking, mountain climbing and viewing scenery are the most popular activities in Lizard Head Wilderness. The impressive Wilson Group attracts mountain lovers and Lizard Head Peak makes a magnificent view on any day. Burro Bridge, Cayton, Matterhorn and Sunshine Campgrounds are the developed camping areas near the eastern and southern boundaries of the wilderness.

Climate - The area has short, cool summers and long, severe winters. There are several permanent snow fields, and snow patches remain in sheltered areas throughout the summer. You should be prepared for freezing weather at all times of the year.

Location - Uncompahgre And San Juan National Forests share this Wilderness. In fact, the forest boundary splits Lizard Head Peak in half. Highway 145, south of Telluride is the only major road going near the area. Lizard Head Trailhead is located at 10,222 feet on Lizard Head Pass.

Forest Road 535 is the only other access road. It goes by Navajo Lake Trailhead, where all the southwestern trails begin, or end, as the case may be.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Pudentane (Peyton, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This was a great hike! More rocks on the trail than I like but the views from the top can not be beat! We started from the trailhead off 145 for the Cross Mountain Trail and stayed on that to the base of Lizard Head. If you stay on the trail you will not have any trouble. The only fork we saw was near the start and it was for a Groundhog Stock Driveway. We did not take this. Make sure to take PLENTY of water! You WILL need it! My 12 year old went through an entire backpack/camelback type waterpack and wqe went on a cool day. I'd take energy bars also. Good spot for lunch is just past or at treeline at the base of the SAn Bernardo Mt. There are alot of rocks to sit on here. Pick up a "Lizard Head Wilderness" trail map at the Ranger Station just outside Rico. It comes in very handy. We never were aware of going from Cross Mountain trail onto the Lizard Head trail, so you might want to watch for that. It feels like one trail only. 12 hikers were rescued from this area 2 days before we were there and I can't believe they got lost! This trail is VERY visible, if you STAY on the trail! No need to go off trail. Kathryn

Filed By: Tracy (Dolores, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Trip: Navajo Lake Trail to Navajo Lake in the Lizard Head Wilderness. Big views in all directions, beautiful water falls, amazing wild flowers and great birding. The switch backs on the last ascent to the lake are the steepest I have ever hiked outside of the Grand Canyon. But the trudge is well worth it. The area around the lake that is not rock has been heavily trampled, and a lot of the plants are stressed, so we tried to avoid that area.


More Information

Contact Information:
Norwood Ranger District, 1760 East Grand, P.O. Box 388 , Norwood, CO, 81401, Phone: 970-327-4261, Fax: 970-327-4854

Mancos - Dolores Ranger District, 100 North Sixth, P.O. Box 210 , Dolores, CO, 81323, Phone: 970-882-7296, Fax: 970-882-6841, TTY: 970-882-6842

Uncompahgre National Forest, Norwood Ranger District, 1760 East Grand Avenue/ P.O. Box 388 , Norwood, CO, 81423, Phone: 970-327-4261

Additional Information:
Colorado Wilderness Areas - Some of the most spectacular terrain in Colorado is preserved within Colorado's extensive system of Wilderness Areas.

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