Explore the most popular hiking trails in Holy Cross Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We could not have asked for better weather this past week. We hiked to mile 3 starting at about 1pm, arrived around 4:30pm. We’re both in shape but definitely took our time- the views made for good distractions to keep a nice, relaxing pace. We stayed on campsite 10, just after the creek, which had plenty of water to filter. We ended up not building a fire because we were unsure if we could or not. Signs on the ground said no, but the forest website said the ban had been lifted. We didn’t want to risk it. The low got to about 35 degrees at night, clear and no wind. We woke up at dawn and hiked to the top, arriving around 10am. Weather was 60-70 degrees with little wind. The boulder scramble near the top is intense, but fun. A bit stressful going down because the trail isn’t so easy to identify but you’ll find it. Our first fourteener is one I’ll always remember!

Breathtaking hike!!!! I went in Mid July and got a bit of a late start...5:45 am and was up at the summit by 10:15 am. The clouds rolled in quick and we were off the summit by 10:45 am but eventually had to race down to the tree line with another couple because of the thunderstorms and barely made it! The hike is long and steep but it rolls in the beginning and allows time for your legs to rest a bit. It makes for a long day and a lot of people decided to camp at mile 3. Personally, I don’t think the trail is long enough to make for an overnight camp. In total it took us just over 8 hours. It was a tough hike but we were not hurting the next day. Key to this hike is an EARLY start. I bet trying to see sunrise at the summit would be incredible. Careful coming down the summit over the boulder scramble, I went a little too close to the edge as I was making my way down.

Tough hike but very beautiful. The road to the trailhead was a long dirt road but not bad as far as clearance goes-- only the last mile or so was uncomfortably bumpy/slow, I imagine most vehicles could make it up. The beginning of the trail is steep, then it levels out a little with less dramatic gains. Don't be fooled by the first lake you come to... continue up about another 1/4 mile ish to see the bigger lake, it's worth it! Gorgeous water color and mountain backdrop. Highly recommend this for a great workout and views. Not too much fall color change on the hike bc of the tree composition in the area, but the drive from Minturn was stunning with tons of aspens.

off road driving
3 days ago

Very Rocky trail. Stock Rubicon handled it slowly but beautifully. Nice trail through the woods, and decent hike around lake. Very secluded, we didn't meet anyone on this trail. Decent scenery.

Hiked from the trailhead with full packs, which we left at a campsite near East Cross Creek, and continued with day packs to summit in five hours. Holy Cross Mount is located in the center of the Colorado Rockies; the view is stupendous in all directions. We spent an hour on the top just taking it in. Pleasant campout that evening after a two-hour descent to the creek. Took about 1.5 hours to hike out from there in the morning. Very dry route - no water between Cross Creek and the summit so bring a couple liters on a warm day.

3 days ago

Have hiked this trail 3 times. Always a pleasure. I take my dog. He loves the lake. I try to hike during the week to avoid crowds.

6 days ago

This was our first 14er. We are 55 and 60 years old. We both work out frequently and felt like we’d be as prepared as possible in regard to our fitness level. We live in Hot Springs AR and trained with backpacks doing 2-3 mile hikes with 1000 elevation gains in the heat and humidity of August. It is hard to prepare for the altitude.
On day of hike we left early afternoon from Half Moon Pass trailhead and set up camp late afternoon so we could break it up into a 2 day adventure. We restocked our water bottles with filtered stream water. Our plan was to get up early hike to summit, return to our campsite, rest for a while then finish the hike after a break. The hike itself was very hard to us. I started feeling a little dizzy and zero energy after an hour into the hike. In the back of my mind I started wondering if we would be able to make it to summit. We saw a few young people coming down saying they couldn’t do it and had decided to turn around and came back down. There were numerous young people who were hiking with complete ease too. I got to the point of taking 20 steps then stop and break, etc... We ditched our poles when we got to the boulders and glad we did. They would have just gotten in the way as we crawled over rocks with our hands. My husband forgot our lunch, sunscreen and extra water bottle (that I said to bring just in case we needed it.) Ugh! We had to ration what little water we had left all the way down. By the time we got back to camp I was completely sick feeling, sunburned and thirsty. We had to camp an extra night because I didn’t have the energy for the last 1000 ft hike out of the mountains. It was fun to set a goal and accomplish it. The views were gorgeous and the stars at night where we camped equally stunning. September is the perfect time to go-glorious fall colors, No mosquitoes and no spiders on the rocks at the top.

9 days ago

We completed a overnight backpacking trip this past weekend, and it was absolutely perfect. It stormed a bit at night, but was perfectly clear by morning. There were plenty of other people staying overnight, but there are so many nooks to camp in that it was easy to feel like you were nearly alone. Incredible views and many places to scramble and explore around the lakes.

As good as it gets. Long. Pretty arduous. Well marked. Three hard climbs at least from the north. Fantastic view. Just go do it.

After reading about this hike we decided to make the drive from Breck to give it a go. We weren’t disappointed. A good bit of the hike follows the creek with a few bridges over the water. We covered about 8 miles total as we spent a good bit of time walking around the lakes. The lakes were really nice with good clear water. Great place to camp and we talked with a few folks that were staying the night. Only caveat would be that the trailhead is around 10 miles down an unpaved road but most any vehicle should be able to make it.

16 days ago

Great trail with a variety of scenery from meadows, to waterfalls, small gorges, alpine lakes, streams etc. We camped at the larger lake, it looked like there were 1 or 2 other groups there and a couple more at the lower lake.

Good hike worth doing. Average, no spectacular features. Well maintained, easy to get to. Lots of ups and downs, mostly in woods, occasional views of mountains. Nice Aspen groves. Not as much trail along creek as some and no lakes. Limited parking but not usually a problem.

This was a very nice hike! It is about 2.0 miles to the lake, with easy-moderate hills the whole way, and it is basically in the shade the whole way. The lake itself is very pretty and a great place for a dog to go swimming and cool off. It would also be a gorgeous place to have a picnic.

Moderate, my ass. Hiked this today. And I hike the backcountry a lot. Went clockwise from Missouri lakes trailhead. Fine up to the lakes but then a butt buster on fancy pass over the ridge. Rocks and steep as hell. Snowed on me and you have to cross it twice. Coming down, signage is bad. Follow fancy pass lake trail. I goofed and went left and ended up on holy cross city 4x4 trail. Lots of fresh bear droppings. Still, stunning scenery.

Awesome trail!! Uphill the entire way to the lake but very scenic and interesting. The lake was beautiful! A great place to have a picnic!

We did this hike two weeks ago. “Everyone” is right! Best hike I think I’ve ever done. It is not technical, it is also not that hard, but the terrain is varied, and beautiful. Our dog had a great time too. Lots of water and wildflowers.

20 days ago

We did a backpacking trip at the end of July to this beautiful destination. The weather was perfect, the trail was beautiful, and the lakes and surrounding scenery were stunning. Although I took my fly rod, I forgot my reel so no fishing! The only drawback was the number of people there. We went on a Monday and a slew of people were coming down the trail after a weekend trip. There were still others up there but we were glad not to have gone on a weekend. It's a stunning destination worthy of your time.

We did this entire loop yesterday. We started on Fancy pass trail which worked well because it was steeper and descending down Missouri Lakes trail was a breeze. Be careful staying on trail at Missouri Lakes. We got sidetracked as there are many paths around the lakes.

21 days ago

Had the trail to Beaver Lake to ourselves for about 90% of the time. Eventually had 2 people riding horses pass at the lake. Instead of taking BLT back down we took the Royal Elk Trail across to the gondola - some great sights along the way. Around 6-6.5 miles total.

22 days ago

This was a solid workout with uphill and downhill throughout the hike. Takes about 2 1/2 hours round trip. Great for our dogs as they could be off leash. Also the lovely creek at the end of the trail is a nice destination. Good picnic spot before heading back to trailhead. Gave 4 stars instead of 5 as no wild flowers blooming. But still a serene setting with most of the hike in the shaded woods.

Beautiful hike! Definitely recommend doing it clockwise as the last 3 miles of Fancy Lakes Trail were down, down, down. Great hike for day hikers or those wanting to camp. Stunning views, with plenty of places to fill up for water. Wasn't too crowded on the trail, great for dogs. Water was very cold, but not cold enough to stop one lady from skinny dipping which was an added bonus! If you have the time I recommend checking out Holy Cross Trail. It only adds a couple of miles and is a very easy hike.

23 days ago

Beautiful hike! Living in Memphis where the altitude is roughly 250ft above sea level, I must admit the ascent took its toll on me. Did the Missouri Lakes loop and went down Fancy lakes trail which was much easier and allowed me to descend at a 3mph pace. But the hike up Missouri Lakes had me stopping to catch my breathe every 30 yrds or so. Which wasn't too bad because it was absolutely beautiful. Highly recommend this hike for anyone wanting a lil exercise with beautiful views!

Of course it is all uphill to the lake but it is a beautiful trail. At the lake you have to deal with aggressive chipmunks ready and able to steal any and all snacks you have. Figure about 3 1/2 to 4 hours round trip. Great workout.

Beautiful features, seemed to be more difficult than other moderate trails we have hiked. Very crowded the day we were there!

Topped out at 6:30 AM yesterday. Was hoping for a nice full moon hike but hardly ever saw the moon. Drizzled heavily 3-4 AM. Cleared up on descent. Long road from Minturn to trailhead, almost an hour.

Exhausting but rewarding hike! Started at 1:30 am and peaked right before sunrise. Watched the sun come up over the smoky landscape and headed back down in the morning light. Was stunned by the landscape and setting of the trail. There is no part of this hike that wasn’t breathtaking! I will admit that the 1000 foot elevation increase on the way back to trailhead killed, but was worth the views! Would be a great 2 day trip as many recommend, but one day is also very rewarding!

Pictures do not do it justice...this is a MUST see. Great hike...fantastic views. Highly recommend it!!!

This is a great short backpacking trip with stunning views and very few people (once you get over the pass). We spent two nights camping at Fancy Lake and had it completely to ourselves. Climbing the two passes with heavy packs was a chore (especially getting down the scree slope on the east side of Fancy Pass) but the scenery is spectacular, with numerous alpine lakes and viewpoints. After we set up camp, we did some day hikes and explored a couple of abandoned mine shafts. The Forest Service road up to the trailhead is pretty rutted...a high clearance vehicle is a must.

Had a nice hike with wife and daughter. We saw no one else and that was pretty great.

27 days ago

This was a very nice hike and worth the effort to get to the lake. Little muddy
through a short section with very minimal snow. Wild flowers haven't budded yet. Very peacful trek.

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