Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

Showed up at 10am on Friday to an insanely packed trailhead. The trail is beautiful itself and wooded most of the way, and the views at the lake and grassy areas made the destination worth hanging out for awhile. Saw at least 15 groups of backpackers headed in to camp/do the Missouri/Fancy Lake though. Great hike overall, only 4 stars because it was verrry crowded.

My wife and I are 65 and in decent but not great shape. We loved this trail. The creek ran beside it most of the way, and most of the trail was wooded. The incline was challenging, but doable. The lake is amazing! We'll use this trail again. However, we really wish they could eliminate the horse poop.....

hiking
9 hours ago

This was an ok trail. It is a wide gravel trail that is a steady up. The end is the best part when you actually get more into hiking trails and finish up at the lake. The other downside is you out in the open most of the time

This was a great hike! It’s worth noting, like the other reviewers have mentioned, that Royal Elk Trail starts near the top of the gondola. We had a 6 and 9 year old with us and taking a ride up was a must. The gondola rides are $39/adult to go up, but if you walk the trails up leading to Royal Elk Trail, it is free to take the gondola down (5pm is the last ride down). Once you’re on the trail, you’re basically crossing the ridges horizontally until the very last portion of the trail where you take beaver lake trail up to beaver lake. Very scenic, lots of beautiful vegetation this time of year. The lake was beautiful and we actually took a dip!

Tough and beautiful - worth every step!

hiking
2 days ago

Hike and mountain scenery is pleasant however the 10 mile long forest road filed with Rental Vehicles driving like pricks and the Denver crowd flocking to the trail with Bluetooth Speakers and trash everywhere make for an overall unpleasant experience.

Not too difficult but pretty. Bring water and bug spray

hiking
5 days ago

Good hike. Mostly old service road, so easy to walk and talk.

hiking
7 days ago

absolutely loved this hike!! one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on! Start at 5 senses trail and take that up to the beaver lake trailhead! It didn’t take too long and walking along the river was spectacular. Highly recommend.

Probably the most beautiful hike in Colorado. Waterfalls, wildflowers, about 10 lakes, fabulous views and incredible rock formations. By the times you hike around the lakes you’ll probably hike around 12 to 13 miles. I recommend taking trekking sticks as there are some steeper rocks to climb over.

hiking
9 days ago

Can’t say a lot about the trail. I loved what I saw , but after a mile in , in the drizzling rain it started lightning!! So , this will have to wait until a better day!

Beautiful views.

hiking
13 days ago

Great moderate hike. All uphill to the lake. Took our 10,9, and twin four year olds. About 2 hours from the beginning of 5 senses trailhead to the lake with a short water break every 30 minutes.

Great day for E. Lake Creek trail. Cloudy on the way to the creek and light rain on the way back. I love this trail. It’s full of wild blueberries and raspberries to munch on. I only passed a few people today. I had most of the trail to myself. Very relaxing....

This is a really nice trail with great views, beautiful forest and waterfalls on the way up. Views at the lakes are nice. Great day in the hills!

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike! We did this with our 4 and 7 yr old. They are awesome hikers though bc this was tough. 9.5 miles up a mountain with ~2k elevation gain.

Such a beautiful hike up, and of course amazing lake at the top. Good workout too!

hiking
18 days ago

This trail is filled with incredible beauty. The wild flowers during the summer are a very nice touch. The fishing in the upper lake was great. Overall excellent trail for family.

This hike is approx 8.5 miles (depending on length of side excursions for lunch and bathroom breaks). I used mapping software to calculate mileage before we went and used GAIA GPS to track our trail on the hike. Also, I’ve been hiking for years and know my pace, if this route is 12 miles then I would’ve had to run the whole way to finish in the time I did. There is a spot close to Fancy Lake that confuses people and if you take the wrong path you may end up hiking 12 miles but not if you follow the track above. Fitbits are not accurate in mountain terrain.
It was a beautiful hike. We did it clockwise. I recommend hiking clockwise so that the elevation gain happens more slowly. If doing it in that direction be aware that the trail splits at Fancy Lake and if you go left towards Holy Cross City you’ll be adding a lot of mileage and eventually hiking on 4x4 tracks instead of a trail. Instead turn right at the split and head straight to the lake, the trail back to the trailhead heads downhill from the lake.

went up on 7/23 it was absolutely gorgeous. the wildflowers were peaking. there were not many people on trail. we encountered a bit of rain, but it wasn't too bad. the only thing i will say is the mileage on this site is incorrect. it is 8.9 miles there and back. well worth it.

We hiked up from Beaver Creek to the lake then backtracked to this trail and over to the gondola for a free ride down. It is absolutely breathtaking. There are so many wildflowers and scenic views. If you are coming from a much lower elevation (we came up from Tulsa, OK) I would recommend waiting a few days to adjust to the elevation before jumping onto this trail. It’s doable regardless, but breathing is also fun.

We started from Beaver Creek and hiked up to the lake. Absolutely beautiful. We then backtracked to the Royal Elk and hiked to the gondolas for a free ride down. The whole time was amazing. My only recommendation is that if you are coming from a much lower elevation (we came from Tulsa, OK) is that you might want to wait a couple of days to adjust.

backpacking
23 days ago

I’ve lived in CO for 5 years and this one of the best hikes I’ve done here! We choose to backpack to the biggest of the Missouri Lakes below Missouri Pass and camp on the northeastern side; bit of a challenge going up the trail with full packs but worth every minute.

The trout are incredibly active right now and the water was chilly but great for the hot day. Make sure to bring bathing suit, something to float on the lake with, a hammock, and filtration pump!

hiking
24 days ago

Amazing trail with a lot of water features along the way. One of my favorite hikes ever. And not very busy at all - huge perk.

hiking
24 days ago

We took the gondola up and started on Royal Elk Trail , which cuts across Grouse Mountain on a mostly downhill single track with a lot of shade. Beaver Lake is beautiful and a great place for a picnic. We went down the Beaver Lake trail and then cut across Village to Village over to Bachelor Gulch. 3.5 hours total and a great hike. Not too much uphill doing it this way but still a nice way to spend the day!

mountain biking
26 days ago

I went today for my first time mountain biking experience and it was a very good experience, not easy, not hard, it’s a fair challenge to people who wants to give a little extra of what they can.

Overall: Good Trail

Amazing wild flowers. Good fishing (gorgeous brookies on an ant). Great family hike-bit of a challenge, but worth it.

The hike up was challenging for us as we had come from MN flat just 2 days prior, and we had packs and gear. The views from the Missouri Lakes area are fantastic!. Trail is good.

We were going to go up and around Fancy Pass the next morning, but just as we set out the rain started...so, decided to not climb another 1,000+ feet above the treeline in the rain.

For a beautiful Saturday in July, it was hard to find a good camping spot as there were about 10+ groups already set up when we got to the upper lake in early afternoon. Parking was tight at the bottom.

This is a great, great area. Loved it!

took our 7,8,&10 yr old on this hike, they loved the lake! it is a nice incline all the way up, take a lunch and enjoy the lake.

It was 90f today so a shaded walk was ideal. Found it the top end of moderate but perhaps it was the heat! Well worth getting to the bridge/river where we had a pleasant lunch and snooze..

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