Storm Over Lizard Head Pass In Pastel
Photograph - Photography Art
Captured before dusk on a warm Summer evening. I traveled the San Juan Skyway on the Western Slope of Colorado at least biweekly, the scene was ever changing and never disappointing. The beauty of the San Juan Mountains is awe inspiring.
Lizard Head Pass, elevation 10,246 feet (3,123 m), is a mountain pass in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, on the border between Dolores and San Miguel counties.
It is also on the divide between the watersheds of the Dolores River and San Miguel River.
The pass is named for a prominent nearby peak that is said to look like the head of a lizard, the 12,995 ft (3,961 m) spire of Lizard Head. The pass is currently traversed by State Highway 145, about 12 miles south of the Telluride turnoff.
It was also used by the historic Rio Grande Southern Railroad until 1952. Although the grades on both sides of the pass are mild for automobile traffic, this was a significant obstacle for the railroad, and this was a factor leading to the use of the legendary Galloping Goose railcars.
The Lizard Head Pass is located above 10,000 feet and is surrounded with meadows scattered with wildflowers adjacent to spruce/fir and aspen forests with awe–inspiring backdrops of the snow covered peaks. Wildflowers of the area include Parry’s gentian (Pneumonanthe parryi), white marsh marigold (Psychrophila leptosepala), Colorado false hellebore (Veratrum tenuipetalum), bluebell bellflower (Campanula rotundifolia), and elephanthead lousewort (Pedicularis groenlandica). The San Juan Scenic Byway (Colorado Highway 145) follows just above the North Fork of the San Miguel River. It continues south on CO 145 to the top of Lizard Head Pass. There are several Forest Service roads and hiking trails that lead into spectacular viewing areas just off this scenic drive. An interpretive site and accessible restrooms are available on CO 145 at the top of Lizard Head Pass. See waterfalls in spring, wildflowers in summer, golden aspen in fall or a snowy wonderland in winter.
Lizard Head Overlook, located within a few miles of Matterhorn Campground at the top of Lizard Head Pass, serves as a rest area and trailhead for the Lizard Head Trail. An interpretive kiosk tells about the surrounding peaks and other areas of interest. The Lizard Head Wilderness Area is one of the most rugged and pristine sections of southwest Colorado. Most of the hiking trail mileage in this 41,492-acre area is near or well above timberline. There are three 14,000-ft. peaks within the area, with Mount Wilson (14,246 ft.) being one of the hardest of Colorado's "Fourteeners" to climb, requiring alpine expertise and some climbing equipment. The eastern portion of the area is well hiked, with the Navajo Lake, Lizard Head, Bilk Basin, Cross Mountain, and Woods Lake Trails crossing much of this terrain.
The best time to visit is mid-July to early August. The San Juan Skyway is a spectacular drive through the San Juan, Uncompahgre, Wilson and Sneffels Ranges. Colorado's first National Forest Scenic Byway loops through the San Juan Mountains, and has been called "The Most Beautiful Drive in America." This 236-mile route follows state-maintained highways. It winds for 236 miles through the heart of 5 million acres on the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests offering views of spectacular, rugged, and primitive country as well as cultural and historical sites. The entire loop takes you through Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway, Telluride, Ophir, Rico, Dolores, Cortez and Mancos.
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February 16th, 2020
Viewed 240 Times - Last Visitor from Beverly Hills, CA on 04/07/2020 at 12:04 PM