“An easy trail with access to Navajo Lake and the southern Wilson 14ers.”
— Tyler Prince
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Winter access is poor, as the road is generally closed low on Forest Road 535, miles below the trailhead.
While dogs will do fine on this trail, they will not be able to cover the vast majority of the terrain above around 12,500 ft.
From Telluride, drive south on CO 145 over Lizard Head
Pass. Continue south for 5.1 miles and turn right onto Forest Road (FR) 535. Drive 5 more miles on 2WD dirt road to reach the signed Kilpacker Trailhead. Turn right and drive 0.1 miles to camping and the start of the trail.
If doing the entire Wilson Group
in one day, camp here. Start up Kilpacker trailhead around 3 AM. This way it will be light by the time you start scrambling on El Diente, but you'll still have enough time to bail down Navajo Lake Trail
if the weather should turn, or to continue up Wilson Peak Trail
and down to the Rock of Ages Trail
if weather permits, thus completing the grand slam.
From the Kilpacker Trailhead, hike NW out of the clearing and into dense forest. Follow the gradual, dirt trail through the forest, coming across occasional erosion. Every once in a while you may have to briefly leave the trail and bushwhack back to it. This need is rare and it's hard to get lost. In about 2.5 miles, come to a junction at 10,300 ft. Turning left will take you to a junction with Navajo Lake Trail
in about one more mile. Lose about 200 ft of elevation en route to the junction, gaining some back right beforehand.
Staying to the right of this junction will take you to El Diente Southern Slopes
and the Wilson Group
Flora & Fauna
This trail boasts some of the densest forest in Colorado. Otherwise, there are deer, pika, and marmots, but not much else.