Missouri Lakes and Fancy Lakes Loop Trail

MODERATE 39 reviews
#3 of 22 trails in

Missouri Lakes and Fancy Lakes Loop Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Red Cliff, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. 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
8.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,565 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

22 days ago

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.

backpacking
1 month ago

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!

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! Our group backpacked through Missouri Lakes and over Missouri Pass and camped at about 12K ft the first day. We didn't encounter any animals probably because we were above the tree line. The 2nd day we hiked over Fancy Pass and continued the Loop by Fancy Lake. This route made it easier the 2nd day. The hike was very challenging to backpack with elevation gain and added weight, but definitely worth the trip! The higher you go, the less people you see and most people camp around Upper Missouri Lake. Bring lots of water and sunscreen!

Also the whole loop was definitely closer to 12 miles like everyone else said.

hiking
1 month ago

I've done this loop twice and Missour lakes pass ft once. Each time I clocked the loop close to 12 miles. This time my fitbit clocked 12 miles and about 28k steps. it has become a summer tradition of as day hike. Next time I may backpack in. love love love. Missouri lakes trailhead clockwise to fancy pass trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous hike. On the Missouri Lakes side snow was spotty but never really hindered the hike (except for a few spots climbing to the pass, but those were easy to work around.) After getting over Fancy Pass the snow got pretty thick, I was glad we were going down at that point! I walked out a few steps away from the trail and just slid down the snow.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike but to do the whole loop is more like 12 miles and it is more difficult than moderate.

1 month ago

Did the Missouri Lakes to Fancy Pass loop on 6-10-18. I had the lakes and the valley all to myself. The trail disappears in the snow a few times, but still didn’t have to do any postholing all the way to the lakes. Perfect time to do the Missouri lakes trail. Definitely start at the Missouri lakes trailhead if you do the loop, lots of snow after fancy pass, but you’re going down so it’s not bad (I actually slid down it, lot of fun). Also, warning, I had never done this before and got pretty lost after going over the initial pass above the last lake because of all the snow on the other side. Granted, I didn’t have a map and didn’t have the directions saved from this app, but either way you won’t find but one sign that mentions fancy pass and it’s almost buried in the snow and it doesn’t point toward the pass. If you go down into the valley after getting over the “initial” pass above the last lake and then “hug” the ridge line to your right then it’s the first pass on the right. Bottom line, Perfect time to do this loop if you get started early enough before the snow gets soft. I did this in just my regular hiking boots, spikes would’ve been helpful.

backpacking
2 months ago

We tried camping at Missouri Lake but was unable to make it due to deep snow and not great trail conditions. At a little under 2 miles decided to turn around. Another large group of backpackers also turned around soon after we did. Will definitely be making this trip again soon! The views we did see were absolutely stunning!

hiking
11 months ago

All the good of Colorado. Even the drive, while a little rough is 5 star.

11 months ago

This is my all time favorite hike in the Vail area, for all the reasons listed below. And it is more like 10 miles than 7.5. Fancy is 2,000 vert gain in 2.3 miles, and the best way to start. Awesome!

hiking
11 months ago

We hiked up to Fancy Lake, over Fancy Pass and Missouri Pass, and through the Missouri Lakes.

Having done many hikes in the area, this was hands down the most beautiful I've experienced yet. Endless lakes, wild flowers and gorgeous peaks.

Our trip logged more around 11 miles. Very glad we started up Fancy because it was a shorter -- however steeper -- hike up, and everything was very easy from there on out.

If you have the endurance and lots of snacks and water, very worth the day!

hiking
11 months ago

Hiked to Fancy Lake and back today at 3:47pm. Found purple indian paintbrush near the lake and watched the rainbow trout jumping and swimming! Awesome!

hiking
11 months ago

First off, Id say this is a beautiful hike and relatively challenging. The most challenging part for me was dealing with the altitude. I just came in 2 days ago from Los Angeles and being at 10,000-12,500 ft above sea level destroyed me with headaches and nausea the entire way down.

I started up Fancy Pass Trail, and the trail gets confusing near the first lake, Fancy Lake. The trail seemed to continue around the lake to the left but actually the trail continues up to Fancy Pass to the right of the lake. Keep this in mind!

After Fancy Pass and looping around to Missouri Lakes I ended up taking what I thought was the trail (and it was well traveled) until it brought me to a dead end. There was no trail in site. I bush whacked, following the stream down, until I finally ran into the trail 30 minutes later. So be careful!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The trail up to Missouri Lakes gets five stars in my book, following a stream with cascades and waterfalls to high mountain lakes (with decent fishing). The trail down from Fancy Lake rates four stars as it doesn't follow the stream too closely and is basically a walk in the woods.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fantastic adventure! Just make sure you check with rangers to see that it's open. I went in June and it was completely snow covered and had to use a topo map to make the loop.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Amazing must do trail, but it is mislabeled here as easy. It is a combination of two moderate trails, so that's not possible. I think it's more in line with Gore Lake trail (a hard rating) or Pitkin Lake, Deluge lake...

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Spectacular hike, but not easy. Took us about 7 hours, traveled through some soft snow. Amazing views, flowers and lakes.

hiking
9 days ago

12 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

backpacking
1 month ago

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