Navajo Lake Trail

Distance: 9.2 miles (round trip)

Lizard Head Wilderness, San Juan National Forest, near Telluride in Southwest Colorado

Navajo Lakes with Gladstone Peak rising above the eastern end of the basin

Navajo Lakes with Gladstone Peak rising above the eastern end of the basin


This popular hike climbs through forest and meadows to a stark alpine lake basin surrounded by high peaks in the Lizard Head Wilderness.
See Trail Detail/Full Description

  • Distance: 9.2 miles (round trip) to Navajo Lake
  • Elevation: 9,320-ft. at Trailhead
    11,154-ft. at Navajo Lake
  • Elevation Gain: 1,834-ft. to Navajo Lake
  • Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
  • More Hikes in:
    Telluride / Southwest Colorado

Why Hike Navajo Lake Trail

The West Dolores River originates at the head of Navajo Basin, a stark elongate glacial bowl lined by steep 13,000-ft. peaks and ridges. Gladstone Peak (13,913-ft.) dominates the head of the basin while El Diente (14,159-ft.) and Mount Wilson (14,017) soar above the bowl’s south ridge. Wilson Peak (14,246-ft.) serves as the terminus for the basin’s northern wall.

Nestled deep in the lower end of the basin is scenic Navajo Lake (11,154-ft.). The trail to the lake climbs the broad valley formed by the West Dolores River before steeply ascending to the lake. En route the trail travels through forests, passes waterfalls and traverses beautiful, wildflower-filled meadows with good views of Dolores Peak (13,290-ft.) and El Diente.

You’ll not be alone on the trail. Navajo Lake is a popular destination for day hikers, backpackers and climbers. Peak baggers use the lake as a base camp to summit the nearby 14'ers. If you do not mind company, a hike to the lake is well worth the effort.

Elevation Profile

Navajo Lake Elevation Profile

Best Hiking in Southwest Colorado around Ouray, Telluride and Silverton

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Trail Resources

Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:

Region Information:
Southwest Colorado

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