Cross Mountain Trail
Many Telluriders will tell you, they came for the winter, stayed for the summer. And with the many hiking, biking trails and climbing areas to devour, who can blame them? To continue our exploration of the area”s hiking trails, we bring you our September hike of the month: Cross Mountain Trail.
The Cross Mountain Trail offer 360 degree views of the surrounding Lizard Head Wilderness and San Juan Mountains. There is no better way to take-in some of the most beautiful mountains in Southwest Colorado!
TIPS: This hike takes a half-day to complete so make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks. Also, the September weather can be a bit cooler throughout the day so wear layers and bring a rain jacket in case of inclement weather. If you would like to cut out the last two miles that connect you back to the Cross Mountain Trailhead, you can leave a car in the Lizard Head parking area to run a car shuttle.
Photo of Lizard Head Wilderness by Britt Markey.
How to get there: Park your car at the Cross Mountain Trailhead, located approx 2 miles from the Lizard Head Trailhead located off of highway 145 on Lizard Head Pass. You will hike for approx 5 miles until you are at the base of Lizard Head Peak, at which point you will take a right onto the Lizard Head Trail (you will see a sign for this turn). Continue 2.4 miles to the top of Blackface Mountain and then descend to Lizard Head Pass in 2.8 miles. Complete the loop by walking west through the parking area to the road leading downhill toward the highway. Just before the road reaches the highway you will see an unmarked trail heading right. Take this trail, which follows an old railroad grade paralleling the highway, for 2.25 miles back to the Cross Mountain trailhead parking area.
DISTANCE: 11.7 miles (loop)/ Approximately 6.5 hours
Many Tellurites will tell you, they came for the winter, stayed for the summer. And with the many hiking, biking trails and climbing areas to devour, who can blame them? To continue our exploration of the area’s hiking trails, we bring you our July hike of the month: Hope Lake.
Hope Lake is a great hike, ending at one of the region’s most beautiful alpine lakes. An added bonus? Views of high-country wildflowers, Trout Lake and of the Lizard Head Wilderness that can be seen along the trail keep your mind off of the climb and into focusing on the beauty of your surroundings.
TIP: It’s rainbow season in Telluride (hey, it sounds better than monsoon season, right?). Make sure you get an early start on this hike to avoid getting stuck above tree line during an afternoon thunder storm. Walk portions of the perimeter to see different views of the lake. Feeling extra frisky, take a swim!
How to get there: From Telluride, travel 3 miles west on State Hwy 145. Turn left at the first highway intersection, continuing south on State Hwy 145 for approx. 8.5 miles. Turn left onto County Road 63A (signed on highway as “Trout Lake”). Proceed on CR 63L for approx. 1.5 miles, then left onto Forest Road #627. Proceed up this rough, rocky road 2.5 miles to the Hope Lake Trailhead. See map below. Look for cars parked at the trailhead. If the trailhead switchback is full, just below the trailhead is an extra pullout for parking.
DISTANCE: 5 miles round-trip.
Trail Etiquette Reminder: Don’t cut switchbacks. This trail sees quite a bit of love throughout the summer. Make sure you stay on the trail and don’t forget to be friendly to your fellow hikers. Learn more about trail etiquette here.
Eider Creek to Deep Creek
Many Tellurites will tell you, they came for the winter, stayed for the summer. And with the many hiking, biking trails and climbing areas to devour, who can blame them?
The San Juans are the youngest mountain range in the Lower 48. As a result the mountains around Telluride are STEEP!!! One must be prepared for a good ol’ fashioned ass whuppin when taking to the trail around here. Of course you could skirt the issue and take a jaunt down the valley floor, or perhaps a walk out to the mine?? Nah…embrace the angle, go up! No trail better represents Telluride’s steepness better than Eider Creek.
DIRECTIONS: Starting at the Mill Creek road (across and just west from the Shell Station 1 mile out of town). Take the Mill Creek road up to the first switchback and take a left next to the gate. Giant aspens, wild grasses and flowers accompany the creek on this south-facing trail. You shouldn’t find too much snow left in June, as this one gets plenty of sun. About a mile and a half up you’ll find a sign and option to go right. This is the Eider Loop and will take you right down to where you started and is a good option to keep it short. However, if your in it for the long haul keep going up! Eventually the Eider Creek Trail connects with the Deep Creek trail. If you make a right, you can hike all the way back to Telluride (by meeting up with the Waterline/Mill Creek Trail). If you take a left, you can hike Deep Creek to the west trailhead near the Telluride airport. The aspen trees make this a great outing. South facing, warm, big trees and a view of the ski area are all quite memorable.
MORE INFORMATION: Note that this trail is also popular among runners and mountain bikers. Remember to share the trail, be friendly and follow proper trail etiquette protocols.
DISTANCE: Depends on the route. See various options via our trail map here.
The Telluride Mountain Club and the Telluride Open Space Commission are reminding users of Bear Creek to share the trail.
REMEMBER THREE RULES OF THUMB: (more…)
Middle Peak Loop Hike
We went on a nice loop that includes the summit of Middle Peak. This is a little visited area. Very nice walking. This hike does not follow any established trails.
Middle Peak Summit with Lone Cone beyond.
Some route finding and navigating are required and there is some lower end class 4 scrambling on the ridge to the summit of Middle Peak. We have also climbed Dolores Peak from this same parking spot. These routes are shown in the Google Earth Map at the end of this report.
If you’re lucky a mushroom might find you.
View Middle Peak – Dolores Peak in a larger map