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Backpacker Magazine – March 2010

Luxury Hikes: Navajo Lake Trail, CO

Hike to a hot springs and private cabin.

by: Steve Friedman

PAGE 1
Navajo Lake Trail, CO (Photo by Dunton Hot Springs)
Navajo Lake Trail, CO (Photo by Dunton Hot Springs)


 The Navajo Lake Trail is the most popular path in Colorado’s Indian Head Wilderness. But that doesn’t mean much—the nearest town is Dolores (population 857), an hour away. That isolation is the big payoff for hikers and the main draw of nearby Dunton Hot Springs; the ghost town turned lodge provides off-the-map seclusion, five-star dining, and off-the-charts luxurious private cabins. The trail starts at 9,393 feet and gently ascends for almost three miles through sloped meadows laced by Engelmann spruce and, come summer, rife with larkspurs, bluebells, and sunflowers.

The last mile gains 1,000 feet through tight switchbacks to a ridge, then descends a quarter-mile to rock-ringed, pale green Navajo Lake. Windswept and deserted, its quiet solitude is the perfect pairing to the opulence back at the resort. Nine miles round-trip from the lodge.

Recharge
With rates starting at $600, you should grab as many fresh-baked cookies as you can. duntonhotsprings.com

The Way
From Dunton Hot Springs, drive 3.3 miles northeast on FR 535 (West Fork Rd.) to the trailhead.
PAGE 1


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