Lizard Head Trail #505
ElevationAscent: 2,584' 788 m
Descent: -3,521' -1,073 m
High: 12,094' 3,686 m
Low: 9,338' 2,846 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)
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“An aerobic climb through aspen and evergreen to the alpine meadows below Lizard Head Peak.”— Zander Göpfert
The first section of the trail heads through a meadow and into pine and aspen as it meanders with slight variation in the elevation. This is a beautiful, wooded area that stretches for a mile and a half, heading northeast.
Almost exactly after 1.5 miles, the trail bends to the west and begins its ascent up a series of switchbacks to a brief clearing. Without pause, there are a few more switchbacks to climb as the trail heads up toward Black Face Ridge. All in all, this ascent is around 1,800' in less than 2.5 miles, but is the only real section of drawn-out climbing.
After three miles, the trail emerges along the ridge with a view that will take away whatever breath you have left from the climb. From Black Face Ridge, the trail dives back down into small band of pine forest before coming out into a meadow that can be fairly wet depending on the time of year. The trail can be hard to spot in this area but the objective is obvious to the northwest, and the trail should be easy to spot on the other side of the grass as it starts back onto dry rock and earth.
Continue along this ascent toward Lizard Head with amazing views all around as the trail traverses below the formation along the somewhat-steep contours that can be loose in spots. At just over six miles, the trail intersects with the Cross Mountain Trail #637 and continues heading northwest into Bilk Creek Basin among a series of peaks (Cross Mountain, Mount Wilson, Gladstone Peak, Wilson Peak, and Sunshine Mountain).
Through the basin, the trail begins to descend gradually, crossing Bilk Creek, on dark, volcanic soil. The ridge line to the north that the trail bends around and then descends from with a series of switchbacks leads west to Wilson Peak. Look due east from these switchbacks at Sunshine Mountain (12,931'). From here, the trail continues along the valley floor through Magpie Gulch until it ends at the Wilson Mesa Trail (#421).
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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna
Land Manager: USFS - San Juan National Forest Office