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Woods Lake Approach?

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Woods Lake Approach?

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:20 am

I've done a search on "Woods Lake" and kept up pretty empty handed and it's not listed on the Trailhead page. Can someone tell me (in detail :) )how to get to Woods Lake TH and some details on the approach to Navajo Lake? If one is attempting Wilson Peak from that TH, what is the approximate RT distance? Does one go all the way to Navajo Lake if trying WP?

Thanks in advance
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby d_baker » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:40 am

TH directions (from http://www.coloradogeographic.com/Default.aspx?PhotoID=266)
From Ridgway take Colorado 62 west 22 miles to Colorado 145. Turn left, south, and drive through Placerville to Fall Creek Road, about 5 miles. Turn right, west, on Fall Creek Road and drive 9 miles to Woods Lake.
It's easy to find, and there's a couple of signs along the way.

Woods Lake is a steady uphill right away for the first few miles, and then it levels out and finally drops into Navajo. You need to regain 4-500' on your way out.
Not a bad approach, but I've heard the Navajo Lake approach is mellow until the final head wall. But I haven't done it, so I can't compare the two accurately.

We camped beyond Navajo Lake, and did all three from there with no problems.
My TR has elevation gain & mileage for both approach to camp, and from camp to summits.
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=7158&parmuser=d_baker&cpgm=tripuser

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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby cpstoney » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:43 am

The Woods Lake approach can be accessed via the Navajo Lake Trail. At approximately 3.75 mile from the Nav. Lake TH (0.75 mi. from Navajo Lake) there is a junction for the Woods Lake. There is a sign at this point indicating Woods Lake 4 Miles. I have not been to Woods Lake so cannot attest to the accuracy of the signage. The RT distance for Navajo Lake is 9 Miles (to west end of lake) and probably 10 miles to the east end. I would recommend staying in the Navajo Basin above the lake at around 12,100' (near the start of the El Diente North trail). This would be approximately a 12+ mile RT from the Navajo Lake TH and 3+ Mile RT to WIlson Peak. If there is snow, the downclimb just prior to the final pitch on Wilson Peak may be icy, take care.

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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby rijaca » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:59 am

From the intersection of CO 145 and CO 62, drive ~3 miles towards Telluride, and turn right (south) on San Miguel County road 57P (Fall Creek Road). There is a sign. Drive south ~10 miles on a passenger car friendly road to the TH. There are signs. There is also a FS campground there.

Once on the trail, hike around Woods Lake, you'll come to a trail intersection in ~.5 mile. Go straight at this trail intersection. The trail climbs steeply thru the trees (several miles) til timberline. At timberline, you'll reach another trail intersection (signed). Turn right (south), and contour on the trail around the west side of Pt 13,123' until the trail starts descending into Navajo Basin (great views of El Diente will greet you). Before reaching Navajo Lake, you'll encounter the Navajo Lake trail. Follow the Navajo Lake trail to the lake. There is great camping in the trees above the lake. According to our GPS it was ~ 6 miles from the TH to our campsite. To climb Wilson Peak, continue on the trail into Navajo Basin and up to the Rock of Ages mine near the saddle where this trail intersects the trail coming from Silver Pick.

Woods Lake.small.JPG
Woods Lake.small.JPG (198.49 KiB) Viewed 744 times

El Diente.small.JPG
El Diente.small.JPG (194.6 KiB) Viewed 744 times

Navajo Basin.small.JPG
Navajo Basin.small.JPG (125.92 KiB) Viewed 726 times
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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:22 am

Great, thank you! :)
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby lordhelmut » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:29 am

Besides the mosquitos, I'm kind of at a loss as to why Woods Lake isn't the standard approach to the Wilson Group. Its a lot closer (coming from the East), the road is graded dirt and its about the same mileage, with a small downclimb which isn't bad at all on the way out. Its one of the most scenic approaches I've done to date, on a 14er.

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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby gdthomas » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:43 am

lordhelmut wrote:Besides the mosquitos, I'm kind of at a loss as to why Woods Lake isn't the standard approach to the Wilson Group. Its a lot closer (coming from the East), the road is graded dirt and its about the same mileage, with a small downclimb which isn't bad at all on the way out. Its one of the most scenic approaches I've done to date, on a 14er.


Perhaps because the Woods Lake TH starts at a NFS campground.

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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby ScottN » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:53 am

I did the Woods Lake approach for the second time this year. Agreed that it should be the standard approach. Close to Telluride, quiet, and very scenic. While the mosquitos were pretty bad when Lord Helmut and I did it on a July afternoon, they shouldnt be a problem this time of year, and werent too bad this past August. Highly recommended!

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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby Matt » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:58 am

I hiked 13123 around this time last year, and there was not a mosquito to be found on the Woods Lake trail.
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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby rijaca » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:13 am

lordhelmut wrote:Besides the mosquitos, I'm kind of at a loss as to why Woods Lake isn't the standard approach to the Wilson Group. Its a lot closer (coming from the East), the road is graded dirt and its about the same mileage, with a small downclimb which isn't bad at all on the way out. Its one of the most scenic approaches I've done to date, on a 14er.


There weren't any mosquitoes a couple of weeks ago. The campground was essentially empty (two other groups besides us), and the parking area for the TH isn't in the campground. And the bonus vertical on the way out went a lot easier than expected.
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Re: Woods Lake Approach?

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:54 pm

It does look like a gorgeous area...it'll probably have to wait until 2010....
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
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