Navajo Lake Approach
 Class 1 
Risk Factors:Exposure: Low
Rockfall Potential: Low  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Low  
Trailhead:Navajo Lake
Start:9,350 feet
Stop:13,000 feet
Total Gain:2,000' - 3,700'
RT Length:Navajo Lake: 9.5 miles RT
Upper Navajo Basin: 12 - 14 miles RT
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:173 reports
Cell Signal:8 reports
Sheriff:Dolores: 970-677-2257
Forest:San Juan
Wilderness:Lizard Head
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
Show More


From Telluride, drive south on Colorado 145 to Lizard Head Pass. Continue south for 5.2 miles and turn right onto Forest Road (FR) 535. Drive 4.1 miles on the 2WD dirt road to a large meadow and junction. Stay straight on 535, pass the Kilpacker trailhead at 5 miles and continue another 2 miles (7 total from CO 145) to reach the Navajo Lake trailhead entrance on the right.


It's just over 4.5 miles to Navajo Lake. From the trailhead ( 1), hike about 0.25 mile and pass the Groundhog trail junction - 2. Stay right and hike through some meadows ( 3) before returning to the trees. At 9,500', cross a bridge that spans West Dolores River and continue up a steep hill - 4. Continue to 9,800' where the trail enters a large meadow ( 5) and continue through trees and more small meadows - 6 and 7. Near 10,700', hike up through a meadow and ascend several switchbacks to reach 11,000' - 8 and 9. Traverse east across the hillside and back into the trees to reach a junction with the Woods Lake trail - 10. Stay right. Navajo Lake is about 0.5 mile from the Woods Lake trail junction. You now have a view of Gladstone Peak (13,913') to the east ( 11) and El Diente Peak towers above to your right. Within 0.25 mile of the lake, campsites start to appear along the right side of the trail. Reach Navajo Lake at approximately 11,160' - 12 and 13.

From the Lake it's about 2 miles to the upper, east end of the basin and the remaining routes to Wilson Peak and Mt. Wilson. For El Diente Peak, it's 1.5 miles to the point where the El Diente route leaves the main Navajo trail. Pass the lake on the left and follow the trail through the bushes - 14. Nearly 0.5 mile east of the lake, leave the bushes and hike onto talus on the north side of the basin - 15 and 16. Continue up the left side of the basin as you approach the top of a headwall - 17. At 11,900' on top of the headwall, the terrain flattens out - 18 and 19.

If you're climbing the North Slopes route on El Diente Peak, your climb of El Diente starts off to the right. If continuing to Wilson Peak or Mt. Wilson, refer to those route descriptions. The Navajo trail continues all the way to 12,300' before turning left and ascending to the Rock of Ages saddle.


There are several place to camp just below Navajo Lake, 4.5 miles from the trailhead. 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.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19

The route Google Map can only be accessed by registered, users. If you don't have an account, you can register in the forum.

Log In

The route profile can only be accessed by registered, users. If you don't have an account, you can register in the forum.

Log In

The route photo stash can only be accessed by registered, users. If you don't have an account, you can register in the forum.

Log In

Caution: The information contained in this route description may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this route description provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the route description author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2021®, 14ers Inc.