Today we were out for Maya’s birthday hike (13 years!) and our first mountain hike of the summer. There is still lots of snow up there. We had to keep the day short because her brother needed to be back home for an evening ball game. So we didn’t get far but had a great time (lots of snowball fights!) and plan on going back to this trail when we have more time and there is less snow.
Trailhead: it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to the trailhead from Cortez. Lots of road construction…. The trail head is just off Hwy 145 at the top of Lizard Head Pass. There is a large paved parking area with toilets, picnic tables, and several interpretive signs. The official trail head is up a short dirt road just west of the main parking lot.
Terrain: Aspen groves and ponderosa forest.
Accessibility: This trail crosses into the Lizard Head Wilderness, so there are no motorized vehicles, pack animals are ok. I’m not sure if bicycles are allowed but I don’t think so.
Length: We didn’t hike far on this trail. It connects to other trails and there are options for long loops.
Difficulty: This starts with rolling terrain, lots of little ups and downs. After a little more than an hour of hiking it starts up some steep switchbacks. We had to turn back before the end of the switchbacks but according to the map, it would level out after these switchbacks.
Highlights: This trail parallels Hwy 145 and after about an hour you are across the highway from Trout Lake. This provides wonderful views of the lake and mountains surrounding the lake. There will be beautiful snow fields in those mountains well into summer. The first hour of this trail would be nice for younger children. Short, pretty, fairly easy and fun, small streams to cross or play in. A fella coming down the trail told us that above the switchbacks, the trail forks and goes right to Wilson Meadows or left to continue on the Lizard Head trail. We will be back to check out both of those options. I’m curious about backpacking up this trail and wonder if there is are good spots for setting up a tent and getting water on up the trail.