|Difficulty:|| Class 1 |
|Upper Elevation:||11,198 feet|
|Total Gain:||2,115 feet|
|RT Length:||9.0 miles|
|USGS Quad.:||Mount Wilson|
|County Sheriff:||San Miguel: 970-728-4442
|Wilderness Area:||Lizard Head|
From the Colorado 145 and Colorado 62 junction, travel southeast on
Colorado 145 for 3.0 miles to Fall Creek Road (57P). This is not far past the Blue Jay Lodge. Continue south on 57P which will turn to gravel just before the junction with Wilson Mesa Ranch Road (56L) at 3.8 miles, stay straight. Stay straight at 6.4 miles and again at 7.5 miles. At 8.9 miles arrive at the Woods Lake Campground and follow the signs for the trailhead parking. The trailhead is a few hundred feet past the parking lot on the road.
Navajo Lake is 4.5 miles from the Woods Lake Trailhead. Being roughly the same distance and elevation gain as the Navajo Lake Trailhead, this trailhead has two distinct advantages; it is less driving if coming from the north, and it offers unmatched views of El Diente from above the basin. The only disadvantage is that you have to gain 400 feet on the way out. This is a gradual 400 feet and it over before you know it however. It is worth the view.
From the parking lot travel south through the livestock hitching post area to the trailhead sign on the east side of the road. Continue on the trail passing through an old fence (Photo #1) until you come to Woods Lake very quickly. (Photo #2) Follow the trail around the south side of the lake and you will come to the trail junction shown in Photo #3. Photo #4 is a close up on the sign. Stay straight in the direction of "Elk Creek Trail No. 407". From here it is 2.5 miles to the next turn as it suggests and is in the shade with a gradual slope the entire way.
Continuing on the trail you will encounter mostly gradual class one hiking with the occasional short steep sections. Photo #5 is one such example and if it is muddy these can be slippery. Photo #6 is another shot of a typical section of the trail.
Cross a small stream at 1.4 miles. (Photo #7) This stream crossing has some stable logs across it. Around 1.8 miles there is another stream crossing with a log that has some large nails coming out of it. (Photo #8) This log is not needed to cross the stream, but be careful if you decide to use it.
Around 2.0 miles you will come to a downed tree. Photo #9 shows this tree, but the trail does not actually go towards the tree, turn around as the trail has switched back and is headed up the hill behind you. Photo #10 is another example of the trail before you reach the trail junction. Around 2.3 miles in and an elevation of 11,200, you will come across an old cabin. (Photo #11) From here you are not far from the trail junction. It gets a little steeper from here to the junction however.
At 2.7 miles in and 11,550 feet you will arrive at the trail junction. Photo #12 shows a spring just above the junction. Photo #13 shows the sign once you turn to the right and face the direction you will be continuing. If you were to take a left, it would eventually lead you to Silver Pick Basin. Photo #14 is a look back on the way you have come at the sign. From here the elevation gain is almost complete. It is mostly level hiking from here to around the bend. Photo #15 and Photo #16 show the hiking along the trail before you round the corner to Navajo Basin.
Now for the view you have been waiting for. Photo #17, Photo #18, and Photo #19 are all great views of El Diente Peak from around 11,570 and 3.3 miles from the trailhead. This is what the whole approach is about. What a spectacular view!!! From here it is all downhill to the junction with the Navajo Lake Trail for 0.5 miles. Photo #20 and Photo #21 are views of the trail as you start your descent into the basin. As you come into the basin you can see Gladstone Peak, Mt. Wilson, and El Diente Peak here in Photo #22. Photo #23 gives you a look back up the trail near the junction at what you will be heading up on your way out. It looks steeper than it is and the 400 feet of gain out of the basin actually go pretty fast.
Photo #24 is where the Woods Lake Trail meets up with the Navajo Lake Trail at 3.8 miles and an elevation of about 11,110. Stay straight here and follow the well traveled trail for about 0.7 miles to Navajo Lake on the standard Navajo Lake Trail.
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 Wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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