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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Wigwam Trail in Lost Creek Wilderness

Wigwam Trail
Location: Lost Creek Wilderness
Fees: Free
Elevation: 8,160-10,170 feet
Distance: 22.6 miles roundtrip
Hours: Best for Spring, Summer, Fall

We were caring for a young German Short-hair Pointer this weekend, so to help him expend some of his energy, we decided to go to a trail that seemed a little less traveled than others in the area. Originally used to drive cattle from Webster Park to Lost Park, the Wigwam Trail heads northwest along Wigwam Creek.

The trail isn’t terribly accessible in the winter months without a high-clearance vehicle. We followed the dirt road sporadically covered in snow in my 4-wheel drive sedan, but it was a little dicey, and we were thankful that it hadn’t snowed for a while. My bumper didn’t fare too well.

Our hike on the trail turned out to be shorter than we had hoped. The granite path crossed the frozen creek a few times before we reached deep snow which was just too hard to maneuver with Dante in hand. He needed some additional leash training and off-leash, he would have long gone!

We made the most of our venture, however, and headed to the Buck Snort Saloon for an interesting atmosphere and quick lunch.

I think we will come back to this trail in the summer as it connect to three other trails (Rolling Creek, Brookside-McCurdy, and Goose Creek) and climbs to granite domes. ETB


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.


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