Roadtrip to the Rockies: Lizard Rock Trail

Trail: Lizard Rock
Distance: 4.6 miles (RT)
Elevation: 8,500-9,350

Today I took an overnight road-trip to our mountain cabin and I got my first hike in of the year in Colorado.  That’s hard to believe!  I don’t know where the time has gone.  Anyway, I decided on a hike called Lizard Rock.  The trailhead can be found at the Spruce Grove Campground off of Tarryall Road.  It was a much farther drive than I was expecting, especially for a 4.6 mile hike, but the drive was beautiful.

The road took me by old barns and farmland as well as a variety of turnout marked with history story boards.  On the way to the trailhead, I stopped at an early homestead called the Derby Cabin.  The tiny cabin was home to a cowboy, William Derby, his wife and two daughters.  When his young wife died at 23 years old, he left the valley.

Soon I reached the Spruce Grove Campground.  The parking at the trailhead was for hike-in campers, so I had to park in a small area just outside the campground for dayhikers.  Sheena, a German Shephard for which I’m caring, and I meandered through the campground to the trailhead where we began our hike.  The trail immediately crosses the creek over a sturdy bridge and turns to left by the creek’s bank.  The dirt path led us immediately to a short passage through the boulders.

From here, the trail slowly climbed 1,000 feet over the 2.3 miles to Lizard Rock.  Along the way, we passed by a few stands of aspens, some open spaces, a variety of rock formations and eventually a nice view of the meadow.  I’m not exactly sure which rock formation looked like the lizard, but I know I hiked far enough to see it and then some.

The trail continues to Hankins Pass Trail which I believe I started up as the grade increased.  I wasn’t planning on going too far for my first hike of the year, so I found a nice place off the side of the trail in the shade of the pine forest to snack on a light lunch before heading back down while enjoying the early signs of summer as wildflowers were beginning to bloom.  I may have to come back to explore more of the connecting trails.  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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