With a few other trails located around Woods Lake, make sure you strike out on the correct one. The correct trail will pass by the NE arm of the lake before heading more south. On the Uncompahgre forest map, it's Trail #406, called the "Woods Lake Trail." Do not be mislead onto Trail #426 which heads west or #421 which heads back north and east. The Woods Lake Trail will head in a southerly direction until it turns east after more than two miles to intersect the Elk Creek Trail #407.
couple weeks before we embarked on this trip, a news report aired in Grand
Junction said that a small aircraft with several passengers had crashed on
Wilson Peak. Actually, it had crashed on the northwest slopes below the summit
of Woods Peak, which is really nothing more than a bump on the long ridge that
extends east from Wilson Peak and forms the northern boundary above Navajo
Lake. The efforts to remove bodies had involved the use of the trail we would
be on this day. The campground hosts had witnessed this crash, saying that the
plane had headed directly into the mountainside without varying from its
course. It must have been a horrifying experience for those on board. One of the photos we have posted shows the approximate location of the crash site we think.
The lower portion of the Woods Lake trail
takes you through a pleasant forest with a few nice views of Dolores and Middle
Peaks to the west. Woods Lake also offers a nice photographic opportunity of
the same peaks with an undisturbed reflection on the water. There may be some
flowers in bloom in the vicinity of the lake. As you approach tree line, you may begin to encounter sporadic drifts of snow earlier season. The
trail does not follow the route marked on the older USGS map, but still leads to the
same general area. It intersects the Elk Creek trail, having turned more easterly to do so, and there, you will want to turn south again, heading for the saddle on the ridge that extends west from Boskoff. As we approached the last trees, the snow
was almost continuous when we hiked this in mid-June, hence the recommendation for ice axe.
You may avoid following the trail to the ridge by heading east and up a fairly steep slope or snowfield. Eventually, just plan to gain the west ridge of Boskoff on grassy slopes. When we hiked this, at
the ridge a strong wind was blowing from the southwest which only strengthened
as we hiked higher. In a short time, the winds were blowing steadily above 30
mph and gusting even higher. By the time we were approaching the summit, winds were steady at 40 mph. Head on up the grassy slope which will gradually give way to scree and
rubble to the summit. None of it is difficult. The inauspicious peak is composed of medium
sized broken rocks and for us, some snow. We found a register and signed in and then
sought some cover from the wind for a few minutes.
The view up the valley above Navajo Lake was astounding with clouds swirling
around the peaks and parting occasionally for a view of the snow-covered slopes
that plummet down to Navajo lake. The descent for us went very quickly with large patches of snow to assist and was hastened
even more by the threat of oncoming showers. We departed the ridge lower down
so we could take advantage of the snowfields to expedite our retreat from the
mountain, but eventually made our way back to the Elk Creek Trail, then the Woods Lake Trail to return to the trailhead.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.