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Lizard Head

 2 votes

9.6 Miles 15.4 Kilometers

 

74% 

Runnable

100%

Singletrack

2,482' 756 m

Ascent

-2,726' -831 m

Descent

12,094' 3,686 m

High

10,029' 3,057 m

Low

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

30%

Max Grade (16°)

Minor Issues

61 days agoUpdate

A breathtaking loop up to the high alpine meadows at the base of Lizard Head Peak.

Zander Göpfert

Overview

This loop heads through healthy stands of aspen, thick evergreen forest, intermittent fields of tall grasses and wildflowers, and high alpine meadows. An amazing day run that starts in San Juan National Forest and circles through the Lizard Head Wilderness without requiring an overnight stay or a pre-dawn start time.
Features: Fall Colors — Spring — Views — Wildflowers

Runner Notes

A terrific loop with some serious climbs to rewarding views.

Description

As a loop run, this route requires a shuttle car to be left at the Cross Mountain Trail #637 trailhead, otherwise, you'll need to head back up to the Lizard Head Trail #505 trailhead parking area, which is at least two miles back up the San Juan Skyway.

From the Lizard Head Trail #505 trailhead parking, head northeast through the tall grasses and wildflowers before ducking into stands of wide aspens and pine. After 1.5 miles, the trail turns to the left, beginning the first of two switchback ascents that gain around 1,000' of elevation.

This uphill slog is demanding but well worth the effort. At the end of the switchbacks, the trees begin to thin and the views begin to open up.

Continue along the trail as it traverses the ridge of Black Face before descending through a slightly washed out section that heads briefly back into the evergreen forest. From this lower meadow, begin the second and final big climb heading directly up towards the prominent Lizard Head Peak. The trail will fly by as the views of the surrounding peaks, walls, and valleys are so beautifully distracting.

Traverse across the slope below Lizard Head Peak to the intersection with the Cross Mountain Trail #637. This area makes for a great lunch break or spot to take pictures and enjoy the views. From the intersection, head left onto the Cross Mountain Trail #637.

This trail traverses along the contours below a ridgeline on dark volcanic soil. This descent is a lovely reprieve from the climbing of the first half of the run. The trail then ducks into thick, evergreen forest with lots of shade and cool, trickling water.

Continue out of the Lizard Head Wilderness into San Juan National Forest and the Cross Mountain Trail #637 trailhead parking area.

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  4.0 from 2 votes

#2153

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Rankings

#312

in Colorado

#2,153

Overall
36 Views Last Month
701 Since Jul 5, 2016
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Conditions


Minor Issues 61 days ago
Snowy, Some Mud: Small patches of mud and snow. The trail is mostly in good shape
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