This scenic hike ascends a hand-laid trail to the summit of Hawn Mountain with terrific views of the Lizard Head Wilderness and the high peaks to the east and southeast of downtown Telluride.
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Why Hike Hawn Mountain
The 885-acre private community of Gray Head to the west of Telluride offers an unusual amenity – a 16-mile trail system. Happily this trail system is open to the public. The crown jewel of the system is the Hawn Mountain trail that climbs through talus to the summit of its namesake mountain on 13 switchbacks, painstakingly hand-laid to facilitate hiking. From the summit and adjacent ridge enjoy great views of the high peaks of the Lizard Head and Mount Sneffel Wildernesses and the mountains rising above Telluride.
Turn the out-and-back hike (5.0-mile RT) into a loop by combining the hike to the summit, dubbed “The Front of Hawn,” with “the Back of Hawn.” From the summit, the Back of Hawn trail descends through trees down Hawn’s western slopes and then heads down the Willow Creek Valley to return to the trailhead for a 4.9 miles hike. This portion of the hike is on public land.
The loop can be hiked in either direction. I prefer ascending the talus slopes and returning on the Back of Hawn. This option offers great views on the climb and allows you to return the same way should you decide you don’t want to do the loop. I also prefer hiking uphill on rocky slopes. Each to his or her own.
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