Lizard Head Trail

Telluride, Colorado

Lizard Head Trail

Lizard Head Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The Lizard Head is considered by many climbers to be the most difficult summit in Colorado. The crumbly neck of reddish- gray volcanic tuff rises 400 feet from its base to reach an elevation of 13,113 feet.

The first known people to reach the top of the pinnacle were Albert Ellingwood and Barton Hoag who pioneered a route up the west face in 1920. Currently an estimated 20 to 30 people scale the peak each year, but the treacherous climb is definitely not for everyone. Impressive as it looks, the spire is little more than a heap of loose and unstable volcanic debris. Many people hike the Lizard Head Trail only as far as the top of Bilk Basin and then return to Highway 145 by way of the Cross Mountain Trail."

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College Heights, CO
Pathfinder | 131 pts
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My wife and I have been hiking in the Colorado Mountains for over 25 years. This hike rates among the best we have done for overall scenic beauty! Weather did not permit us to complete the loop, but we did summit Black Mountain which has 360 degree views and close up views of El Diente, Mt. Wilson, Wilson, and Lizard Head peaks. The hike in passes through meadows, and conifer and aspen forest with tremendous views of the San Juans, Trout Lake and Lizard Head Meadows. Awesome! Highly recommended.

More Lizard Head Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Classic Hikes in Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Scott S. Warren
"For at least the last 100 years, the sight of Lizard Head Peak has enthralled all who traveled across Lizard Head Pass between the towns of Dolores and Telluride. Protruding abruptly above the eastern end of the San Miguel Mountains, this 13,113-foot pinnacle of rock was featured in the logo of Otto Mears’s Rio Grande Northwestern Railroad. In 1912 an erroneous newspaper story claimed that the landmark had actually collapsed, much to the shock of its readers. Today, the stunning spire still captures the imaginations of motorists heading north on Colorado Highway 145. Those who wish to get a much closer look at Lizard Head can follow a roundabout route to its base for a worm’s-eye view. From the trailhead, the Lizard Head Trail contours north along the east slope of Blackface Mountain for about 2 miles before turning west to climb up a number of switchbacks. The first section of the route passes through patches of aspen and open meadows as it roughly parallels Colorado Highway 145 above Trout Lake and the lake Fork Valley."

Trail Information

Nearby City
2,580 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2 days
Midsummer through mid-fall. The higher parts of the trail are usually covered with snow from November through early July.
Lizard Head Wilderness Area, San Juan National Forest
Local Contacts
Paradox (USGS)
Local Maps

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