From Ridgway, leave U.S. 550 and take Colorado 62 toward Telluride. Drive over Dallas Divide and down to Placerville and turn left onto Colorado 145. Drive 6.5 miles and turn right onto the Silver Pick road (dirt). It’s over 8 miles from here to the trailhead. Drive 4 miles to an intersection and turn right onto FR 622. Continue 2.2 miles, turn right onto FR 645 and drive approx. 2 miles to the Rock of Ages trailhead, near 10,350’. Notes: After 1 mile on the FR 645 road, you must cross the stream in Big Bear Creek which usually isn’t too bad by early July. Also, there are some designated camp sites along this road.
From the trailhead, hike south on the Rock of Ages (#429) trail. Shortly after leaving the trailhead, stay left - Photo #1. After walking over a mile, turn left to begin your ascent out of Elk Creek Basin - Photo #2. Follow the trail northeast (Photo #3) over the ridge separating Elk and Silver Pick basins and enter Silver Pick Basin, near 11,400’ - Photo #4.
Once in Silver Pick, stay on the designated (and hopefully signed) trails as you ascend through the basin - Photo #5, Photo #6 and Photo #7. Near 12,100’, leave the road on the right and follow a trail up to the right - Photo #8 and Photo #9. Turn back to the east (Photo #10) and hike to the center of the basin, passing above an old, crumbling rock house. Please stay away from the rock house since it’s on private property. Continue east a bit farther and turn right to reach the south end of the basin. Follow the trail up steeper terrain as it swings right, toward the Silver Pick Mine area - Photo #11 and Photo #12. At 12,600’, near the mine, turn sharply back to the southeast and traverse a steep, rocky slope (Photo #13 and Photo #14) to reach the Rock of Ages saddle, at 13,000’ - Photo #15.
IMPORTANT: This route enters the Lizard Head Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the Lizard Head Wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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