The Galloping Goose Trail is named for the special rail cars (called “motors,” essentially trucks that ran on rails carrying passengers and freight) that ran from the 1930s to the 1950s on the Rio Grande Southern Railroad lines in the San Juan Mountains. This is a 17.6-mile trail from Lizard Head Pass to near Telluride for hikers, mountain bikes and horses. Some segments are singletrack and some are railroad grade gravel trails. This adventures covers the southern segment between Lizard Head Pass and Matterhorn Campground.
The Lizard Head Pass parking area is set in a spectacular location with several good hiking trails and dispersed camping sites. From the marked trailhead, the trail heads downhill through some amazing mountain scenery, passing an old railroad bridge and hugging Trout Lake. There is fishing and boating in this lake and a small marina. Beyond the lake the trail passes Priest Lake Campground (tents only) and eventually reaches the Matterhorn Campground. At this point the next segment is singletrack to the Ames Trailhead.