Lizard Head Pass

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Lizard Head Pass
Elevation10,222 ft (3,116 m)
Traversed byState Highway 145
LocationDolores / San Miguel counties, Colorado, United States
RangeSan Juan Mountains
Coordinates37°48.7′N 107°54.5′W / 37.8117°N 107.9083°W / 37.8117; -107.9083
Topo mapOphir

Lizard Head Pass, elevation 10,222 feet (3,116 m), is a mountain pass in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, on the border between Dolores and San Miguel counties.

It is also on the divide between the watersheds of the Dolores River and San Miguel River.


Lizard Head Pass and Rio Grande Southern Railroad trestle in 1895.

The pass is named for a prominent nearby peak that is said to look like the head of a lizard, the 13,113 ft (3,997 m) spire of Lizard Head. The pass is currently traversed by State Highway 145, about 12 miles south of the Telluride turnoff.

It was also used by the historic Rio Grande Southern Railroad until 1952. Although the grades on both sides of the pass are mild for automobile traffic, this was a significant obstacle for the railroad, and this was a factor leading to the use of the legendary Galloping Goose railcars.

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Coordinates: 37°48.7′N 107°54.5′W / 37.8117°N 107.9083°W / 37.8117; -107.9083