Uncompahgre National Forest
The Navajo Lake Trail begins approximately one mile north of Burro Bridge, two miles north of Dunton, on Forest Road 535. After crossing the West Dolores River three quarters of a mile from the trailhead, the trail continues through open meadow, forest, and a series of steep switchbacks to join the trail from Woods Lake and descend into Navajo Basin. Then the route leads past Navajo Lake, up and out of Navajo basin, across talus and scree slopes to the junction of Silver Pick and Bilk Creek Trails on the southwest ridge of Wilson Peak at 13,000 feet. At this ridge, one trail descends into Silver Pick Basin while the other leads east across the Wilson Peak-Gladstone Peak ridge at about 13,220 feet continuing down into Bilk Basin. Travel in this area is dangerous due to extreme exposure on both sides of the knife-like ridges as well as potential sliding rock and snow hazards.
The Kilpacker Trail begins two and a half miles north of Burro Bridge and three and a half miles north of Dunton on Forest Road 535 (one quarter of a mile down Forest Road 207). The trail follows an old roadbed to Kilpacker Creek, crosses it and becomes a foot and horse trail. It joins the Navajo Lake Trail.
The Woods Lake Trail begins northeast of Woods Lake. It rises 2,000 feet in about three miles through a series of switchbacks to join the Elk Creek Trail. It continues above timberline to the pass and down to the junction with the Navajo Lake Trail.
The Cross Mountain Trail begins as a road off Highway 145 about two miles south of Lizard Head Pass. It remains an old closed roadbed for the one and a half miles to the wilderness boundary and eventually narrows to a foot and horseback trail.
The Lizard Head Trail in Bilk Basin begins about eight miles from Highway 145 at the end of Forest Road 623. Forest Road 623 can be reached by Forest Road 625, which parallels the South Fork of the San Miguel River in the Ilium Valley. It climbs along Bilk Creek, which has several waterfalls, for four miles to meet the Cross Mountain Trail. From this point you may follow the Cross Mountain Trail, or continue on the Lizard Head Trail to the trailhead on Highway 145 near Lizard Head Pass.
The Silverpick Trail begins about seven miles from Highway 145 on Forest Road 622 along Big Bear Creek. The trailhead maybe reached by car, but the road is rocky and rough. This trail climbs in a series of switchbacks to the ridge between Silver Pick and Navajo Basins.
The Lone Cone Trail begins at Woods Lake and leads in a westerly direction past Flat Top Peak, ending on East Beaver Creek at the junction of Forest Road 618 and Forest Road 611.
You may also travel into the backcountry off established trails, but please do so only if you are prepared for and experienced in cross-country travel. Very few people hike cross-country into western portions of the wilderness area, although there are good views from the summits of Dolores, Dunn, and Middle Peaks. Ventures into this area certainly assure solitude and challenge. This area may be reached from Forest Road 611 or Forest Road 616.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication