Missouri Lakes and Fancy Lakes Loop Trail

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Holy Cross Wilderness

Missouri Lakes and Fancy Lakes Loop Trail is a 8.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Red Cliff, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.6 miles Elevation Gain: 2,647 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

As of July 2019, hikers report that there is avalanche debris. Please use caution when using this trail.

hiking
scramble
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Hard hike but beautiful views! Make sure you have gps cuz it’s easy to get off course at the avalanche.

hiking
8 months ago

I went up the Fancy side first and glad I did. The views really wowed in this direction. Finished in 4 hours but I was trying to move quickly and didn't stop for any period of time. Would definitely recommend planning for 6 so there's plenty of time to stop and enjoy.

hiking
8 months ago

Start at the Fancy Lake Trailhead. Uphill climb thru forest, at about a mile cross Fancy Creek which will lead to Fancy Lake. from Fancy Lake it is a difficult and rocky scramble up to Fancy Pass. You are rewarded with amazing views both directions. Continue to follow the trail down and then up to the Missouri Lakes Pass where you are again rewarded with great views down to the lakes. An avalanche has downed 100s of trees in an area shortly after leaving the lakes. Stay to the left to get thru this area. You will end up at the Missouri Lakes Trailhead in the same parking lot where you started.

was great, very pretty a lot of lakes kinda difficult. beware of the avalanche

hiking
8 months ago

I did the whole loop counterclockwise, up Fancy pass first then down Missouri Lakes. I was told that was the correct way to go, a lot more downhill after the pass. I got here around 12pm on a Sunday, I passed 8 people the entire loop. The avalanche area isn’t bad, the trail made is easy to follow it just goes up & around a bit. This is a great trail, from waterfalls to the pass, the lakes & even the remnants of avalanche was fascinating to me. It took me 5 hours and 45 min but I took my time & stopped to take plenty of pictures and had lunch. My feet started to hurt the last mile, and in total it was over 10 miles.

hiking
8 months ago

This was an amazing hike. We hiked up fancy pass and down Missouri Lakes. It’s beautiful with views every step of the way. We think it’s a little over 9 miles.

hiking
8 months ago

Gorgeous. Make sure to start at Fancy trailhead, you see the best views this way. Definitely around 11 miles.

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

We started at the Fancy Pass Trailhead and ended at the Missouri Lake trailhead. This trail is amazing and I definitely recommend it for those who enjoy “loop” hikes with a new view the entire time. We only saw a couple of other hikers the entire trip and the weather was beautiful and basically no bugs. The hike up Fancy Pass was not terribly hard, a little snowfield and scree scrambling towards the top, but the views were phenomenal. The hike down to Missouri Lakes and up again very easy and the lakes are really a sight to see. There are still wildflowers. However, the avalanche debris is NO JOKE. You definitely have to do some scrambling to get through the downed trees (but is very cool seeing the effects of nature)! The rest of the way was cake. I wasn’t sure what to expect for distance (between 8-12 miles??) but the Garmin clocked 9.4 miles RT and the Apple Watch clocked 10.2 miles RT. Overall, highly recommend.

amazing views! highly recommend ..

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

hiking
blowdown
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

hiking
blowdown
scramble
9 months ago

Absolutley stunning!!! I did the loop starting from Fancy Trailhead and ending at Missouri Lakes TH. My only complaint was the condition of Fancy Pass - very steep and still snowy/icy - which made it difficult climbing from Fancy Lake. Still tons and tons of wildflowers as of 8/28/2019. Could not recommend this hike enough!

hiking
9 months ago

Someone needs to correct this mileage... and stat. At least 11 miles (with two people in our group logging the mileage) for the loop and strenuous. We had our baby with us and were counting on this being around 8 miles, and unfortunately this was not the case. We made it, even around the avalanche area, but this could turn into a scary situation for some. It is no doubt beautiful but give yourself time for 11 miles. We climbed up fancy lake trail first and came down Missouri lakes trail.

Avalanche debris about 2 miles into Missouri Lake which takes some navigating, but otherwise great!

hiking
9 months ago

We've been hiking in Colorado for 4 weeks, every day. This has been our favorite hike so far. The scenery past the pass is out of this world. Lakes and flowers everywhere. The Missouri side below the pass is nicer but the hike up to Missouri Lakes is more rugged and steeper in sections. I would recommend going up Fancy Lake, climb Fancy Pass which still has lots of snow, spend lots of time in the beautiful bowl between the passes and then come down the the Missouri side. The app logged close to 10 miles.

hiking
blowdown
9 months ago

hiking
bridge out
bugs
scramble
snow
9 months ago

My husband and dog and I hiked this trail yesterday and it was beautiful! We went up the Missouri Lakes side and back down the Fancy Lake side. There was a little scrambling and falling on our butts on the way down from the pass, but it was fine. We didn’t have poles with us, but they would have been helpful. The avalanche area up to Missouri Lakes was easy to get around, with a very well defined alternate trail going up and to the right. There’s a bridge out on Fancy Lake trail, but it was easy to get across the creek on a couple of logs. We logged this loop as 9.6 miles or so. We would definitely go back! We did this as a day hike but it would be a good overnight trip as well (even though there are no fires allowed). Things I would do differently: definitely take/use bug spray on this hike.

hiking
blowdown
bridge out
snow
9 months ago

What an amazing hike!! We started at the Fancy Pass trailhead and enjoyed a steady uphill with a few gentle meanders. There is a bridge out after the first mile but you can hop across on downed logs. On 8/17 there is still a decent amount of snow on the east side of Fancy Pass, and it took a half hour or so to climb up through it. Recommend hiking poles. Such an amazing view from the top! Still a little bit of snow on Missouri Pass but nothing like Fancy Pass. Watch out for the avalanche debris on your way down from the lakes. They have cleared a little bit of it but don't be fooled, go up and around to the left (if you do the loop counter clockwise like we did) and save yourself from bushwhacking through an avalanche. All in all, highly recommend to anyone looking for amazing views and a little adventure!

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike. Did one night at Fancy Lake and completed the loop the following day. Recommend hiking up to Fancy Lake first if doing the full loop because I prefer to go up steep and down gradual as it is easier on my knees. Still a bit of snow on Fancy Pass that isn't too challenging going up with poles, but would be quite hard to go down with it being steep and in snow. Definitely more than 8 miles, I'd say closer to 10. It's easy to get around the avalanche debris, just go follow the side trail up along the north side of the mountain for about a half mile. Lots of mosquitos so bring spray around the lakes. Unreal views of the Holy Cross Wilderness at the top. 100% worth it.

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

8/17/19-8/18/19 We got to the trailhead (you can park at either Fancy or Missouri trailheads. They're neighbors) around 9am on Sat morning and parking was pretty much gone. We were able to make a spot, but definitely arrive as early as possible. We went clockwise. Before Missouri Lakes you hit the debris field and as soon as you hit it, there’s a little trail directly on the right and up that skirts around it. It’s totally easy to get around. We camped at Missouri Lakes, and there were tons of open spaces. It wasn’t crowded at all. Maybe because of all the talk of the avalanche debris. We did both passes on the second day and there was snow on both. Not much at all on Missouri, but enough to make us nervous going downhill over Fancy but we just sat and slid down it. I'm not sure if it'd be harder to go up or down Fancy with the snow. Regardless, poles were pretty helpful. Also, there are tons of bugs. Be prepared for that. This is an excellent bang for your buck loop! It's not very many miles or work for the type of views and scenery you get! It's absolutely stunning!

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