Lizard Head Pass in Colorado is one of the most beautiful drives of America

Lizard Head Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,127m (10,259ft) above sea level, located in the U.S. state of Colorado. It has been called "The Most Beautiful Drive in America."

Lizard Head Pass

Where is Lizard Head Pass in Colorado?

The pass is located on the boundary between Dolores and San Miguel counties, in the southwestern part of Colorado, within the Lizard Head Wilderness.

Why is it called Lizard Head Pass?

Located approximately 10 miles south of the town of Telluride, the pass got its name from a nearby peak that looks like the head of a lizard.

Is Lizard Head Pass in Colorado Paved?

The road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called San Juan Scenic Byway (Colorado State Highway 145). Suitable for all vehicle types, this is a great drive for someone who is not looking for a technical outing.

How long is Lizard Head Pass in Colorado?

The road is 117.64km (73.1 miles) long, running from the Town of Dolores (in Montezuma County) to Placerville (in San Miguel County).

Is Lizard Head Pass in Colorado Open?

Set high in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, the road is well maintained and can be accessed year-round but may be closed for short periods in winter when the weather is bad.

Is Lizard Head Pass dangerous?

The road is paved and well maintained. The grades on both sides of the pass are mild for automobile traffic (hitting a 7.8% maximum gradient through some of the ramps). The area is famous for rapidly changing weather conditions. In winter, drivers should be prepared in case of inclement weather. Thunderstorms often develop in the afternoon. Visiting early and being back by your vehicle early in the day is advisable. Be aware of high altitude sickness, which can be life-threatening. Hypothermia can be a hazard throughout the year. Watch the weather in September and be prepared for an early snowstorm.

Is Lizard Head Pass worth it?

The drive is very scenic and offers spectacular views of Southwest Colorado. Plan 1.5 hours to complete the drive without any stops. The best time to visit the area is mid-July to early August. The road runs through the San Juan, Uncompahgre, Wilson, and Sneffels Ranges. It has been called "The Most Beautiful Drive in America." At over 10,000 feet, this gentle Colorado pass provides great views of the southern part of the state. Along the way, you can see waterfalls in spring, wildflowers in summer, golden aspen in fall, or a snowy wonderland in winter. It’s surrounded by meadows scattered with wildflowers adjacent to spruce/fir and aspen forests with awe–inspiring backdrops of the snow-covered peaks.