Has anyone camped at Lizard Head Pass dispersed camping?

Hi! We have High School Camping for the festival, and a room at the Victorian Inn for Monday and Tuesday nights. We’re arriving in CO early to do a bit of camping and we’re still trying to figure out where that’s going to happen. We have 3 kids, ages 7-9, so we don’t want to have to backpack in our stuff.

I can’t seem to tell from my online searching what the parking situation is for dispersed camping at Lizard Head Pass. It seems like a beautiful spot with lots of trailhead access, but I can’t tell from any description where we can park relative to our tent. We have instruments to carry and don’t want to shlepp too much stuff too far. Here’s the area to which I’m referring:


If anyone has camped there, I’d love to hear your input!

OK - I haven’t exactly ‘camped’ at Lizardhead Pass, but I have been there.

Right near, or in front of, the Lizard Head Pass marker is where Cindy Lou and I pulled off the road one evening in September (2009) because the full moon seemed to be sitting on the road. It was beautiful! As we stood there we watched several pick-up truck campers pulling off the road and into the camping area. They didn’t drive very far off the road when they stopped. Cindy explained that they were in the camping area. We were also standing in a small parking lot/over look area next to her car.

In one of the picture on the site you linked to above, → CLICK HERE ← one can see vehicle ruts in the landscape. I’m pretty sure those are from campers driving in and out of the camping area. It seriously is just off the main road.

There are times when getting there and making the discovery are half the fun. Trust me, your kids are NEVER going to forget this trip… EVER (neither will you), and will be talking about it all next school year, for the stars-in-the-night-sky factor alone! Then as school starts to wind down next Spring, the obvious questions will come from them, “Can we go back there?” or "When can we do that again?

Heed all the altitude warnings at 10,300 feet and everyone will be just fine. Start teaching the kids about altitude sickness. They’ll get it. “Feeling like you want to lie down all the time” only last about a day and if the kids know it will not last much longer than the day, they’ll go with the flow, drop into a camp chair and take in all that beauty at Lizard Head. First day up there is when you’re going to need all that potassium rich food. Red meat will not hurt at all (if you’re not veggie-only lovers), and partially explains the love of Killer Flank Steak at FESTIVVVAAALLL!!!. That “cool camping food”, dried apricots and dried (or not) bananas, go a very long way to keeping everyone on their feet at altitude. You might try doing a taste testing before “Lift-Off” to see which kids like which dried fruits, and then buy/pack accordingly.

Well, hope this help with the trip planning. Any chance you adopt? I WANNA GOOOOOO!!! :lol

Auntie Hope :festivarian2 :green

Auntie Hope, your amazing!!!

You ain’t so bad your self, Son! :thumbsup

By the way, am I supposed to admit that I spent my first day in t’ride last year (my birthday, none the less) parked on hammock? Naw… didn’t think so. :lol

:flower THANK YOU, Auntie Hope! Lizard Head it is then! This helps a whole lot, and I really appreciate you taking so much time to answer the question, because we’ve been pretty unsure of where to camp. We’re going to bring tons of food, and we have no problem with red meat at all! We have Trader Joe’s here in AZ, which has awesome (and cheap!) food for keeping everyone going. We’ll keep an eye on everyone for altitude effects. We live at around a mile high in the AZ mountains and don’t seem to feel any effect when we go hiking in Flagstaff, which is around 7000 ft, but we’ll be careful just in case.

So much to do before we leave, but at least now we know where we’re camping pre-festival. Can’t wait to sit and pick my banjo in that beautiful meadow!

And sure, we’ll adopt you! :thumbsup

Welcome to the Festi-Family! :flower

I’m from Tucson- where are you from?

Thanks for the welcome. :slight_smile: Last year was our first festival, and we’re so happy to be returning. Our kids are Unschooled, meaning that we let them guide their own learning with no coercion or curriculum, so not only will they have great memories, but they can act on them by practicing their instruments as much as they like, listening to music instead of sitting and taking standardized tests, or whatever interests them in the moment. Our son had started to play mandolin just a couple of months before last year’s festival and already loved it, but after the Telluride inspiration he upped his practice and now does about 4 hours a day, and the kid is pretty incredible.

Speaking of Festi-Family, last night we went to see Gillian Welch and David Rawlings in Phoenix, and I ran into our last-year’s High School campground neighbor in the bathroom. Pretty cool!

:wave Hi Debbie! We’re from Prescott.

I’m a flat lander (South Florida & Nashville, TN) and I do great in Albuquerque and Denver. High mountains (8,750 to 10,300 ft. above sea level) are another animal. Be prepared! :thumbsup

Auntie Hope :festivarian2 :green

Hi- My brain was trying to figure out 3-4000 ft with Mountains,LOL Was thinking that or Globe .LOL I’m going solo this year for the first time ( Kids and hubby off to Philmont BOy Scout Camp) but I’ve done this for 16 years with kids so if you have any questions, I’ll try to answer… BUT sounds like you already have it down…

Thanks! If anything comes up I will ask for sure. We learned a lot last year, from our less-than-perfect choices, but overall we were all pretty darn happy! :slight_smile:

Enjoy your solo time–sure will make packing easier! :thumbsup

:lol :lol :lol

One would think! :evil

Auntie Hope :festivarian2 :green

PLEASE NOTE: THERE ARE FIRE RESTICTIONS IN SAN MIGUEL COUNTY right now- meaning no dispersed camping campfires. :mad
I have camped along Dunton Road absolutely georgous area , but a bit far from the festival. Here is a website that shows some options:


Thank you, mtnmama. We thought this might be the case (we have the same restrictions in AZ, due to a couple fairly bad fires), and thanks for the link as well. We’ll be camping at the HS during the festival, so distance is fine for our pre-festy camping. We’ll just have to bring extra warm clothes.

Are propane stoves allowed during this restriction?

Yes I have camped at Lizard Head and it is so beautiful, flowers everywhere! The drive after the last set can be pretty trying. But it’s quiet and beautiful and we use to park right next to our tent way in the day, not sure if you still can. :flower

up the road towards Dunton there are some wonderful places to camp that are fee-free. The road takes off past the summit, on the side away from Telluride. You will drive up some switchbacks for a ways, then if memory serves me, it straightens out a bit and over on your left will be a road with some camping spots on the right, and there is also a bathroom up there. Sorry I can’t recall exactly how far up the road it is, but I think not more than 30 minutes. It has the most amazing views from up there, and very peaceful except for coyotes howling in the distance. This will give you an idea. It is the road that takes off to the left after the switchbacks. It hooks up with hiking trails so you can probably get a better map looking at hiking trails, but hopefully this will work.

zoom in and scroll to the right and you will see the switchbacks coming off of 145. the road I refer to is almost straight across and up a bit from the spot they where they mark Dunton. If you don’t turn off on that left, you keep going and the next squiggles in the road are some sharp, steep curves that go down, down, down. You don’t want to go that far. But, if you are coming up from AZ, and want to take the scenic route, you can turn off at the West Dolores Road (Road 38), about 15 minutes out of Dolores, and go UP past Dunton, up and over the steep part, and you will be heading east when you come to the road to turn on, then when you come out you will just continue on and end up on 145 just a bit below the summit of Lizard Head. Have I got you thoroughly confused now? The road is paved almost to Dunton from that direction (I think), but dirt after that.

Thanks so much Cindy Lou and Landshark! :flower Everyone has been so helpful, as always!

This is going to be some beautiful camping, but there is SO much preparation to do still! :frowning:

I believe they are allowed. Ya gotta EAT! :popcorn

Auntie Hope :festivarian2 :green

I lived in Rico, just past Lizard head for 11 years. DO NOT camp there. Take a day trip for a really nice hike in the woods.

Day Hikes:
Google Hope Lake, which has great fishing and an amazing hike at the end of the lake.

Google Alta Lakes, which you if your are in really really good shape…you could do a loop hike.

CAMP at Sunshine Mesa Campground.

Have a great time, we will see you next year…and next and next…

If we can keep the ROTTEN SCALPERS off our skin!