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    Lizard Head Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    29.6 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    1,666 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Lizard Head Trail

    The Lizard Head Trail is a long and difficult adventure in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado that will lead you through a variety of rugged terrain and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. While out hiking the trail, you will work your way through forests and meadows, before traversing the mountainous terrain surrounding Lizard Head for incredible views of the Lizard Head Wilderness Area around you. While there are trails that are technically more challenging, the overall distance of this route is the real killer.

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    Route Description for Lizard Head Trail

    Due to its overall length, the Lizard Head Trail is a challenging adventure that will be sure to give you a run for your money. If you plan on completing this nearly 30.0 km hike, be sure to wear proper hiking footwear and bring plenty of water.

    Although it will make for a very long day on the trails, the Lizard Head Trail is a scenic adventure that will offer some amazing views of the surrounding Lizard Head Wilderness. Featuring plenty of elevation gain throughout the trail and some absolutely stunning views, this route is the definition of being rewarded for your effort.

    Setting out from the parking area, you will make your way to the northwest and enter into the cover of the forest alongside the banks of Lizard Head Creek. After 0.8 km, keep right at the fork and continue on through the wonderfully atmospheric forest landscape as the trail climbs further uphill to the north.

    After 2.8 km of hiking from the fork, you will pass through several alpine meadows and enjoy some views of the surrounding mountain landscape. Continue working your way uphill to the north for 1.6 km through a mixture of meadow and light forest, before arriving at a junction in the trail below the summit of Lizard Head.

    Taking the path on the right, you will leave the imposing summit of Lizard Head behind and work your way east through some rugged terrain towards the summit of Blackface. After passing through a small stretch of woodland terrain, you will exit the tree cover and walk along the ridge of Blackface while taking in spectacular views of the surrounding area.

    Arriving at the edge of the forest along the northeast point of the ridge, you will keep right at the junction and carefully traverse a series of switchbacks for 0.8 km, making sure not to head all the way down the hillside. Instead, you will find a path branching off to the right that will lead you across a mixture of forest, meadows, and rockfields, before arriving at the Lizard Head Pass Parking Area.

    Here, you can pause for a rest and use the toilet facilities, before heading back along the same route for the return leg of the journey. If you are feeling tired and don’t want to backtrack along the entire trail, you can also walk along State Highway 145 to the southwest to return to the trailhead and complete your time along the Lizard Head Trail.

    Trail Highlights

    Lizard Head

    Located in the Lizard Head Wilderness Area, Lizard Head is a 3,999 m peak that is the 556th tallest in Colorado. While it might not be the tallest, the mountain’s spire-like shape certainly makes it one of the more impressive in the area.

    Insider Hints for Lizard Head Trail

    • Bring plenty of water, as portions of the trail are exposed to the sun.
    • Wear proper hiking boots.
    • You can avoid the return leg of the hike by walking SW on highway 145 to return to the trailhead.
    • Toilet facilities can be found at the halfway point of the hike.

    Getting to the Lizard Head Trail Trailhead

    The starting point for the Lizard Head Trail can be found at the Cross Mountain Trailhead, just off Colorado State Highway 145.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Lizard Head Trail Elevation Graph

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    Lizard Head Trail Reviews

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