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Cross Mountain Trail to Lizard Head

Saturday & Sunday, June 12-13, 2021

After spending Saturday afternoon floating through Norwood Canyon with Jackson, I decided to head up higher into the San Juan Mountains to the headwaters of the San Miguel River so I could go on a quick hike Sunday morning before heading back home. It’s time for me to start hiking in the mountains for the summer, so I figured I better start acclimating again by spending more time at elevation now. It’s funny, I’ve spent a lot of time in the areas surrounding the San Miguel Mountains, but I don’t recall ever stepping foot inside the Lizard Head Wilderness area before, so I thought it was time that I finally did.

Before searching for a campsite, I stopped at Lizard Head Pass to eat my dinner with this view of Pilot Knob, Golden Horn and Vermilion Peak.

Lizard Head Pass View

Once I found a campsite along the Dunton Road, I pretty much went right to bed since I was very exhausted from being out in the sun on the river all day. I was tired so I didn’t bother to set an alarm this time, but I ended up waking up with the sunrise on Sunday morning anyway. I actually slept pretty well and was well-rested. It was 32 degrees out when I got up, which was cooler than I was expecting it to be, but it was a nice temperature to hike in.

This morning I decided to hike up the Cross Mountain Trail so I could get up close to the base of Lizard Head. This was a view across the pass to Sheep Mountain as I started hiking up the trail.

Sheep Mountain Morning

There were a few wildflowers along the trail just starting to come up.

Trail Flowers

Entering the Lizard Head Wilderness.

Lizard Head Wilderness Sign

The Cross Mountain Trail

Cross Mountain Trail

I liked the way this tree was catching the light with the shadow of the mountain behind it.

Backlit Tree

Looking behind me, I had a nice view of the Rico Mountains. I’m looking forward to getting back to that range again this summer!

Rico Mountains

It felt great to be hiking above tree line again!

Hiking Above Treeline

After a couple miles I was getting closer to the base of Lizard Head.

Approaching Lizard Head

This is probably as close as I’ll ever get to Lizard Head since there is no way I’ll ever climb it.

Lizard Head

There was a nice view of Mount Wilson from up here.

Mount Wilson

I followed the trail over to the pass into Bilk Basin before turning around and hiking back down.

Bilk Basin

The rugged Gladstone Peak towers above this area. We had a great view of these mountains from Bolam Pass last year when we watched Comet NEOWISE.

Gladstone Peak

From the pass the ridge continued up to the summit of Cross Mountain.

Cross Mountain

Hiking back down with the Rico Mountains in the distance.

Rico Mountains View

An unnamed peak that the trail passes by.

Unnamed Peak

Looking down into a Corn Lily along the trail.

Looking Down

I returned back to the trailhead in a couple of hours and actually didn’t hike as slowly as I thought I would at this elevation. I’m now looking forward to spending more time in the mountains over the next few months!

>> Cross Mountain Trail Photo Gallery

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