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Lizard Head Pass - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting

Mountain Passes

About Lizard Head Pass

Lizard Head Pass is located in San Miguel County, Colorado. The pass is situated between the towns of Telluride and Rico, and provides access to the Lizard Head Wilderness area. The pass is named for the Lizard Head peak, which is visible from the pass and is a popular destination for climbers. The pass itself is fairly easy to hike, with a gradual ascent and a few switchbacks. However, the trail can be extremely rocky in places, so hikers should be sure to wear proper footwear.

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Things to Do at Lizard Head Pass

The Lizard Head Pass area in San Miguel County, Colorado is a stunningly beautiful place with plenty to do. Hiking and camping are popular activities, as there are plenty of trails to explore. In addition, the area is home to several lakes, which offer opportunities for fishing, swimming, and canoeing. For those interested in history, there are several sites to visit, including an old mining town and a ghost town. There are also several scenic drives in the area, making it a great place to enjoy the outdoors. Whatever your interests, you're sure to find something to do at Lizard Head Pass.

History of Lizard Head Pass

Lizard Head Pass is a high mountain pass located in San Miguel County, Colorado. The pass is named for the nearby Lizard Head Peak, which was so named by early explorers because of its resemblance to a lizard's head. Lizard Head Pass is located on the Continental Divide and is a popular route for hikers and climbers seeking to summit the peak. The pass itself is relatively easy to traverse, but the views from the top are stunning, making it well worth the effort.

Lizard Head Pass has been used by humans for centuries. The Ute people were the first known inhabitants of the area and they used the pass as a trade route between their villages in the San Juans and the plains to the east. In 1873, a prospector named John Cimino discovered silver near present-day Telluride, Colorado. This find led to a boom in mining activity in the San Juans and soon Lizard Head Pass was bustling with miners, mule trains, and stagecoaches transporting ore and supplies. Today, Lizard Head Pass is still an important route for recreation and transportation, providing access to some of Colorado's most beautiful scenery.

Best Time to Visit Lizard Head Pass

The best time to visit is during the summer months, when the weather is warm and the scenery is at its best. From June through August, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and camping in the stunningly beautiful wilderness area.

Tips for Visiting Lizard Head Pass

  1. Plan ahead and check the weather forecast before you go. The pass can be treacherous in winter conditions.
  2. Bring a map and compass, and know how to use them! The trail is well-marked, but it's always a good idea to be prepared.
  3. Be alert for wildlife, including bears and mountain lions. Make noise to avoid surprising any animals that might be nearby.
  4. Respect private property rights. Stick to designated trails and camp only in designated areas. Don't damage any plants or disturb any archaeological sites.
  5. Be prepared for extreme weather conditions, including lightning storms. Seek shelter if necessary.
  6. Take your time. There's no need to rush – enjoy the scenery and take your time on the trail.
  7. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for wildlife and be mindful of potential hazards such as loose rocks or steep drop-offs.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Lizard Head Pass

  1. Lizard Head Pass gets its name from a nearby peak that resembles the head of a lizard.
  2. In addition to hikers and climbers, Lizard Head Pass is also popular with skiers and snowboarders.
  3. There are several ski resorts located nearby, including Telluride Ski Resort and Silverton Mountain Resort.
  4. Lizard Head Pass is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado, and it is definitely worth a visit!
  5. In 1858, the pass was used by stagescoaches carrying mail between Taos, New Mexico and Los Angeles, California.

  6. At over 10,000 feet above sea level, Lizard Head Pass is one of the highest mountain passes in Colorado.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Lizard Head Pass

It is recommended that you allow at least two days to explore Lizard Head Pass. This will give you plenty of time to hike to the top of the pass and enjoy the views, as well as spending some time in the surrounding area.

How to Reach Lizard Head Pass

To reach Lizard Head Pass, take Highway 145 south from Telluride for about 19 miles. The turnoff for the pass will be on the left, just before the town of Rico. The road is paved for the first few miles, but it turns to dirt shortly after the turnoff. From there, it's a winding climb up to the pass, with several switchbacks and some steep sections. The road is generally in good condition, but it can be a little rough in places.

Entrance Fee of Lizard Head Pass

There is no entrance fee to explore Lizard Head Pass. 

Opening Hours of Lizard Head Pass

The pass is open year-round, weather permitting, and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. During the winter months, the pass is only open during daylight hours, as conditions can be dangerous. In the summer, the pass is open 24 hours a day. However, due to the high altitude, it is advisable to avoid driving at night. 

Attractions Near Lizard Head Pass

Trout Lake

Trout Lake

2.37km from Lizard Head Pass

Trout Lake is a picturesque lake located in San Miguel County. The lake is fed by the Crystal River and is surrounded by evergreen trees and mountain peaks. It is a popular destination for fishing, camping, and hiking. The lake is home to rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and brown trout. The lake also has a variety of birds and other wildlife. Visitors can enjoy scenic views of the lake from the shores or from one of the many hiking trails that wind through the area.

Lizard Head

Lizard Head

4.77km from Lizard Head Pass

Lizard Head is a mountain peak in the San Miguel Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The peak is named for its resemblance to a lizard's head, and it is one of the most distinctive peaks in the state. The summit of Lizard Head is reachable by hiking and scrambling, and the views from the top are truly spectacular. The peak is home to a variety of plant and animal life, and it is a popular destination for camping, rock climbing, and backpacking.

San Miguel Peak

San Miguel Peak

5.12km from Lizard Head Pass

San Miguel Peak is the highest point in San Miguel County. with an elevation of 14,093 feet. The peak is located in the San Juan Mountains, about 10 miles north of the town of Telluride. The area around the peak is popular for hiking, camping, and backpacking. There are several trails that lead to the summit, ranging from easy to difficult. The summit offers stunning views of the mountain range and the surrounding valleys.

Sunshine Mountain

Sunshine Mountain

5.8km from Lizard Head Pass

Sunshine Mountain is the highest peak in San Miguel county, which is densely forested with conifers and aspen and is home to a variety of wildlife. Sunshine mountain is a popular destination for hikers and campers, who can enjoy scenic views of the surrounding area from the summit. The mountain is also popular with rock climbers, who come to test their skills on challenging cliffs. In addition to its natural beauty, Sunshine mountain also has a rich history.

Vermilion Peak

Vermilion Peak

6.96km from Lizard Head Pass

Vermilion Peak is a mountain in San Miguel County. It is the highest point in the Chicago Basin, and is part of the San Juan Mountains. The mountain was named for its reddish-brown color, which is caused by iron oxide in the rocks. The summit of Vermilion Peak can be reached via a trail that leads from the Needle Creek Trailhead. The trail is approximately eight miles long, and takes most hikers about four to five hours to complete.

Golden Horn

Golden Horn

7.19km from Lizard Head Pass

The Golden Horn is a mountain peak in the San Miguel county of Colorado. Standing at an elevation of 12,943 feet, it is the highest point in the state. The peak is located in the San Juan National forest and is part of the Weminuche Wilderness. The Golden Horn gets its name from its golden-hued cliffs, which attract climbers from all over the world. In addition to its stunning views, the peak is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep and elk.

Discover More Attractions in San Miguel County, Home of Lizard Head Pass

San Miguel County

San Miguel County

20 attractions

San Miguel County is located in the southwestern corner of Colorado. It is home to the towns of Telluride, Mountain Village, and Norwood. The county is well-known for its scenic beauty, and it attracts visitors from all over the world. Outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, skiing, and camping are popular in the area. The county also has a rich history, and there are many sites of interest for history buffs. In recent years, the county has become increasingly popular as a destination for wed

Where is Lizard Head Pass