Missouri Lakes Trail

MODERATE 154 reviews
#1 of 22 trails in

Missouri Lakes Trail is a 7.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back 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 June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,581 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

Take Hyw. 24 out of Leadville over Tenn.Pass to FSR. 703, which is on a hairpen curve, then drive to Missouri Rd.(704), then to the trailhead.

2 days ago

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.

hiking
4 days ago

Tough and beautiful - worth every step!

hiking
4 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.

hiking
11 days ago

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
12 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!

18 days ago

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!

19 days ago

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

hiking
21 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.

23 days ago

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.

backpacking
25 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
26 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.

29 days ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

This is a very easy, pleasurable hike. The incline is so gentle that you barely notice it. There are many little "Missouri Lakes" that are off trail. I used GPS and began with the first one directly West of the trail. I hit small 4 smaller lakes before finding the large main one and did not see another person. They were very peaceful and worth the effort in my opinion. But it will definitely add on time to your overall trek, so keep that in mind when planning your time to descend for storms. From what I can tell, there are 14 other small Misouri lakes outside of the main upper and lower Missouri Lakes. The trail was all clear with minimal mud in some spots. Lots of water flowing, so a filter works fine for this hike. Waterflowers abundant and marmots at play.

fishing
1 month ago

Beautiful hike, June 20-26th range. Moderate inclines at points but nothing too hard for a novice or moderate hiker. Fish bite almost anything at the lakes.

1 month ago

Beautiful views. Great hike!

1 month ago

Absolutely phenomenal adventure. I went in June 26-28, and it was chock full of wildflowers, and gorgeous snow patterns. With some small detours, I hiked to the summit of the pass to Treasure Trove lake with no snow crossings. I'm a landscape plein air painter, and made this video of the adventure, don't worry, it's short, and fun.
https://youtu.be/Wf6S0Q_VTUo

backpacking
1 month ago

Easy trail to follow. Easy enough with a heavy pack. Went out with my boyfriend on Friday (07/06/18) around 1pm. Found parking easy enough. Ran into 4 groups on the way down and one guy going up with his dog. Maybe 10 groups camping overnight, but it was easy to find a spot to camp near the upper lake. The views were incredible, one of my favorite backpacking trips. Took us a little more than 3 hours to hike up, we are from Kansas and had two days to acclimate to the elevation. We planned on doing the loop with Fancy Pass, but didn’t want to risk getting caught in a storm doing Fancy Pass, since we woke up late and explored the lakes until noon. We plan on doing this one again to finish the loop. If you’re deciding between this or Lake Constantine, pick this one. It’s way better. No campfires allowed in Holy Cross Wilderness, keep that in mind bc it does get cold near the lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

One of my favorite hikes I have done! The trail up to the lakes is nice and shady. You are along the creek a good deal of the time so plenty of chances to take a dip. There are also some great canyon views down to the creek. There were wildflowers everywhere!! Lots of Columbines and Indian paintbrushes. The lakes are beautiful and despite a lot of people in the lot the trail didn't feel crowded.

We camped on Homestake Rd but wish we would have grabbed a spot closer to the trailhead on Missouri Lakes rd. There are some good ones!

hiking
1 month ago

Best way to celebrate July 4th — did this hike yesterday and it was spectacular. Not crowded despite the holiday. Wildflowers were blooming and lakes were sparkling!

1 month ago

Such an awesome hike! Backpacked in and camped near the main lake. Hiked around that night and came across another lake a little farther up, didn’t see a trail leading to it though! Beautiful scenery and not a hard hike, would definitely recommend

hiking
1 month ago

One of the most breathtaking hikes! This is a MUST! Gorgeous views around every corner! You walk along the water, come across smaller lakes, meadows...you see it all! We went later in the day around 3:15p.m. and were able to make it down by 7:45p.m... with plenty of summer daylight to spare. Make sure to visit all three lakes! There is a small one... medium.. and larger lake. It felt as if we were the only people there, but you still are able to see a friendly face every so often along the trail. Incredible hike highly recommend this one!

1 month ago

Backpacked In stayed for 3 nights
Amazing views lakes everywhere!
Tough hike with a heavy pack, treking poles were a big help!

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful views the entire way up! We got eaten alive by bugs though, so be sure to bring bug spray. I would highly recommend this hike.

backpacking
1 month ago

My husband, 2 teenage girls and I backpacked to the lakes and stayed overnight. The trail was beautiful and well maintained. There were a few downed trees that we had to crawl over but the rangers were there the next day cutting them away from the trail. We encountered some snow up at the lakes, but nothing that would stop you from exploring. We did not go over the pass to Fancy Lake due to a lot of snow and wind. There was a fire ban, so no roasting marshmallows over a fire for us, but we well worth the trip!

1 month ago

Did the Missouri Lakes to Fancy Pass loop on 6-10-18. I had the lakes 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 it in just my regular hiking boots, spikes would’ve been helpful.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked on 6.1.18 with intent to camp at lakes. Knew snow pack was still there but took a chance. Camping on snow is not for me so I hiked out. Probably a couple weeks before ground is dry and lakes thawed. Beautiful hike tho.

hiking
2 months ago

As of June 2 the trail still has quite a bit of snow. I’d recommend wearing water proof shoes and gators would be helpful as well as hiking poles. It’s a gorgeous hike but the snow and wet shoes made it difficult!

2 months ago

First time in the area. It’s an absolutely beautiful place. The road to the trailhead is a little bumpy, but a 2WD vehicle can make it... slow and steady. Roundtrip, the hike took us about 4.5 hours. As of June 2nd, the snow covered the last half mile or so of the trail, and because of that, it’s difficult to follow the actual trail and reach the lakes without stressing out a little... some people made it, and others had to turn around before actually reaching the lakes. By the time we got to the lakes, we were the only people there. It was quiet and definitely a special moment. I’ll definitely be returning in late June and/or July. If you’re planning to go before June 10th, bring waterproof shoes, extra socks, snacks, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Good luck!

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this on 5/27/18, almost entire trail still covered in snow but managed to make it up to the lakes. Good moderate to hard incline the whole way. Did not have snowshoes and postholed quite a bit, but once one person blazed the trail, it was easier to follow. Waterproof shoes are a must this time of year. I suggest bringing spare socks. Lakes still mostly frozen and fish still hibernating, even in the little runoffs. Absolutely gorgeous views without any crowds. Can’t wait to go back when snow is gone.

8 months ago

could not access the trail.. the road was about 8 miles of 4wd snow covered road. beautiful out there though !

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