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We should have turned around sooner. We were ill prepared for such snowy conditions. It would have been great for skis or snow shoes but not hiking despite the description that says it’s good in March. I’m sure it’s awesome in the summer.

Did this hike on December 16, 2017 during a month lacking normal snowfall. Although there wasn't much snow on the road leading up to Bridal Veil Falls, we weren't able to drive all the way up to Bridal Veil Faills. We had a 4WD vehicle but didn't want to attempt it with the icy sections (and we're glad we didn't). We hiked two miles up to Bridal Veil Falls and continued on to Blue Lake.

There were plenty of areas completely void of snow on the trail, but as we got higher, the icy sections increased. Microspikes were very helpful, but my husband did the entire hike without them. The trail was steep the entire way, but easy to navigate until about two miles in.

When the ground became covered in snow, we just continued to follow tracks that apparently follow Bridal Veil Creek up to Lewis Lake. We followed this incorrect trail until we reached a high point and thought we would run into the lake and there was nothing but an icy basin (not very scenic in the winter and we never reached Lewis Lake, which was even further past the steep section we hiked).

We turned around and eventually saw that we missed the sharp left turn on the trail because there were no other tracks on the trail. This turn off was probably somewhere around mile 2, but we have no idea for sure.

We continued on the correct trail up to Blue Lake and this last mile or so up to the lake was very steep and icy. The lake was gorgeous and icy, but after getting lost, we didn't have time to hang out before racing back down before sunset. I get the sense that this hike would be much prettier and scenic in the summer when the creek isn't icy and the trail isn't buried in patches of snow, but the winter hike was alright, too.

worth the hike! beautiful

Awesome payoff at end

I hiked this beautiful trail on 10/14 after driving up from phoenix the night before. With perfect weather, I was confused why I only saw 1 other hiker the entire day! Spotted a fox and some pikas. I would recommend an ice axe to be secure in the section before the saddle. No snow past the saddle (albeit I turned around at the false summit), but lots of loose rock. So be mentally prepared to slide when coming down. The road to the TH is pretty rough for 2WD. Just before big bear creek (which was very low), there was a giant pothole taking up the road filled with water. With the right vehicle, I would imagine it would be fun! But I parked immediately after that and hiked the remaining distance to the TH.

backpacking
6 months ago

Incredible hike, stunning views... can't wait to do this again!!!

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful views, fun trail even during this “off” time.

Great trail with huge views! Agree with Tom and Alison's review, below, that the description and map are confusing. Out and back distance of 16 miles from Lizard Head Pass to junction with Cross Mountain Trail (below Lizard Head Peak), then back, sounds about right. But although there's plenty of uphill, elevation gain is nothing close to 5900 feet - map shows it's about half that, and that's what it felt like to me.
Saw nice flock of White-winged Ptarmigans - rather than taking flight at my approach, they "hid" from me, just a few feet away, some of them hunkered down right in the trail. Cool!

Great trail!
Comments about Alltrails description:
Trailhead is close to Telluride; nowhere near Cahone.
Dolores River is near trailhead, but trail goes away from river.
Alltrails, and National Geographic map of Telluride area, show Cross Mountain Trail ending at Lizard Head Trail below Lizard Head Peak. But Forest Service sign at junction shows the trail that continues left (west) from the junction to be continuation of "Cross Mountain Trail."
You can't find Cross Mountain Trail on Alltrails by searching for that name, but only by searching for Lizard Head Wilderness.
As I said, spectacular trail. One to three inches of new snow. I saw 18 day hikers, many doing loop from Lizard Head Pass, but I was only over-nighter.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful lake with tons of wildflowers, marmots and old mining equipment. Definitely worth the hike up - I recommend driving to the base of bridal veil for the hike - otherwise it'd be a tad long.

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This trail is at least 9 miles round trip if you go to the summit. Bring your helmet if you go further than the saddle. Lots of loose rock. It was beautiful but pretty hard!

The views are terrific, but this hike is not for the faint of heart. It is VERY poorly marked. The first ascent from Ames to the cliff tops is well marked, and the path on the ridge is fine, but in between there is a dense woods and the trail completely vanishes. I got lost both on the way up and the way down and had to forage and follow deer paths for almost an hour each time. GPS would help.
For a day trip, park at the electric power plant in Ames (very historical) and follow the road up along the creek until you get to a foot bridge over the creek. The trail begins at an unmarked gate on the other side of the bridge.
Dense brush waist high that you have to push through, for most of the low-altitude trail.

Not too long, good distance to elevation ratio. Some loose rock spots, but nothing too tough.

Stunning view. Steep and challenging. Trail is clearly marked and easy to follow

Great hike with views of Lizard Head, Gladstone, El Diente, Wilson Peak, and Mt Wilson.

Gorgeous. Waterfalls and wildflowers everywhere on first half. Upper half has spectacular views. There is still a bit of snow across a few sections of trail (7/1/17), but nothing difficult. Note - there are no signs, so remember.... first trail split (about halfway up), stay left, second trail split (another 1/2 mile or so up trail), stay right.

Very beautiful little hike. I'm only giving it 4 stars because its actually only .25 mile from the trail head to the waterfall. In the beginning you stay to the right for the waterfall. There is another trail that goes left over a bridge.

Just did this trail on 6/24/17. Lots of water runoff from snowmelt crossing over the trail, so be sure to have waterproof footwear. Almost made it to Blue Lake but encountered lots of snow and had to turn around. One group made it to the summit but said the lake was still mostly frozen.

Lots of snow to trek across at higher elevations as of june 25. Difficult to follow trail, for some. Stick to the 'road' tracks.

hiking
10 months ago

This description and reviews and trail map are confusing as the map shows doing the whole loop including the Cross Mountain Trail. There are two trailheads right on the highway - the southern one is for the Cross Mountain Trail and the northern one (right at the pass) is the Lizard Head Trail. We hiked up the latter on June 8th, and were stopped by complete snow coverage just after the point where the Mt Wilson Meadow Trail takes off - slightly less than 3 miles in. Did have to cross a number of snow piles before that, but no issues there. Trail is wonderful - with good shade but gorgeous views and pretty little snow melt creeks to skip across. We turned around and came back down to the large talus field where the views are really open to eat our lunch - views of Vermilion Peak, Pilot Knob, and Fuller Peak. Loved all the false hellebore that has sprouted since the snow has melted.

We tried to access this hike in mid May and didn't make it all the way up to the trail head. The road just to get up there requires heavy duty 4 wheel drive and even then there's still way too much snow to be able to do the hike. It looks spectacular but we would've been better off going later in the summer.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Snowshoeing this trail was challenging due to elevation gains but so worth the view.

hiking
Sunday, February 12, 2017

We hiked this path, which is pretty much an old mining road, up to Blue Lake in Sept. of 2015. It is an easy hike, but due to the elevation, I guess moderate for some hikers. You park at the top of Bridal Veil Falls and begin walking the road past the falls and up towards Bridal Veil Basin. It's about 3 miles one way. There is some interesting old mine equipment all around the lake area. The lake itself is really nice with a view south of the Needles. Columbine Lake is right over the ridge from Blue Lake to the south. You can take the road all the way to Lewis Lake if you wanted to. That would add just over 5 miles total and you would be in Bridal Veil Basin at that point. We opted to go only as far as Blue Lake on this beautiful sunny fall day. The road follows Bridal Veil creek the whole way, so you are in a canyon on this hike. There are still great views despite that. Easy day hike though and highly recommended!

hiking
Tuesday, February 07, 2017

I hiked to Columbine Lake by going over Oscars pass from the Ophir side. Super steep up to Oscars Pass, then down the other side into Bridal Veil basin. You leave the old road/trail shortly after going over the pass, and follow a use trail down to the basin and make a cross country trek towards Lewis Lake. Once around the lake, there is another faint trail that ascends to Columbine Pass. From the pass, Columbine Lakes incredible blue color can be seen. A short hike cross country from this pass brings you down to the lake. On the way back, I chose the opposite side of Lewis Lake just to mix it up. The views are stunning on this route. It took me just over 2 hours from my truck to the top of Oscars Pass. My Garmin read 2.45 miles, and 2,740' of gain. Then about another half hour to get to Lewis Lake and just about 4 miles. Then another 10-15 minutes and I was on top of Columbine Pass. 4.6 miles total to here. It was right about 5 hours to Columbine Lake from my truck, but I was in no hurry either. 5.4 miles per my Garmin. A good mix of steep and then mellow hiking.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Best hike in the area!

hiking
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Breathtaking views from the summit. Last climb from False Summit to top was intense.

hiking
Thursday, July 14, 2016

Strenuous first 2.5 miles then levels out to beautiful views along mountain ridges. Recommend dropping a car at Lizard Head and then starting at Cross Mountain for a 7.9 mile hike

horseback riding
Thursday, November 05, 2015

Followed Slate creek up to the base of Mount Wilson and camped a few days, returned on Lizard head trail, beautiful country

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