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Missouri Lakes Trail

MODERATE 171 reviews
#1 of 23 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

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

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.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
muddy
off trail
snow
washed out
2 days ago

I did the loop over from Fancy Pass this past weekend. Just wanted to post: This trail is NOT MODERATE. This is an advanced trail in its current condition. Spikes, gaiters, poles, and gloves for climbing highly recommended. The avalanche debris field is no joke, at about 2.1mi in. It's almost a half-mile of debris, with water running under much of it. There is supposedly a rough trail around via the slope to the north, but I failed to find and follow it. The snow near the lakes is considerable, but there are plenty of footprints to follow. Incredibly beautiful though, and I can't wait to come back and try it again!!

hiking
2 days ago

Hiked to lower Missouri each of the last two days. As always, it's one of my favorites. The Lower is still partially covered in ice and snow, but a few were up there dropping a line in the water. The issue remains the debris from the avalanche. You will hit it about 5 minutes passed the meadow at 11,000. Conventional wisdom is to hike around it on the high side. Will take you 50 minutes. But there is a path forming straight thru. Follow the footprints, cut logs and pink ribbons (a few). 20 minutes straight through and drops you right at the trail, which is clear the rest of the way. Far faster as long as you don't mind climbing over a few logs in route. I did not go to Upper, and heard the pass is still heavy snow. I think you need a couple more weeks before attempting that.

hiking
off trail
snow
14 days ago

Couldn't actually complete the hike. There are two avalanche debris fields covering the trail. The first one is pretty easy, no issue following the trail. The second one is massive. You have to know to go above the debris line which we did not know - we went through. And the debris is over 7 feet deep. Followed All Trails path which took us straight through the middle of the debris field. Go around (above) and then find the trail again. It was covered in snow once we got through the avalanche debris (which took over an hour and resulted in lots of splinters) and very hard to follow. That avalanche field will be there forever more so the path above it will gain more traction and be more visible as time goes on. Luckily we found wonderful people to follow out who told us to go above the debris....

hiking
15 days ago

I did this trail 2 years ago and was just amazed at how beautiful it was, and still remains one my top favorite hikes, which is why I give it 5 stars. If today was my first time doing the hike, I’d probably only give it 3-4 stars. Unfortunately, this winter did some damage to the trail. We hiked it today 7-7-19 and although we were able to get to the lakes, we REALLY had to work for it. There is two sections of major avalanche debris- the first section not too bad to get through, the second took a lot of careful calculation of what path to take. Once past the field of debris, the trail is pretty hard to follow bc of the snow. We didn’t really stay on trail, just followed the general direction toward the lakes. The lakes are still frozen at this point, but still beautiful. Coming down was very challenging and going back through the debris was some how harder the second time. I’d wait several more weeks before attempting this again, but even once the snow melts the field of avalanche debris is not something I’d encourage a beginner hiker to attempt.

hiking
15 days ago

Managed to make it all the way to Missouri lake today. The trail is significantly harder then it appears to be based on this site. At the moment there are 3 avalanche slide paths across the trail completely burying it in up to 5 to 10+ feet of debris. The first two slide paths are fairly easy and short (20-50ft) to navigate through over the original trail. The 3rd slide path is massive and maybe about 1/4 of a mile long. I found it easiest to go up to the right, once you get to the clearing, then traverse along the top of the slide path looking down into it. I would suggest downloading this map offline on the App so you can see where you are in relation to the actual trail. I tried finding the trail on my own on the other side of the slide path and was unsuccessful. A group of backpackers i met had the app with the map saved, which then allowed us to find the rest of the trail. The last mile or so to the lake wasn't much easier as well. The entire trail was covered in 1 to 6ft of solid snow, which made way finding difficult once again. Theres been a decent amount of foot traffic on the trail since today, which makes following footsteps through the snow not too challenging. However footsteps can be misleading and you shouldn't relay on them. If you have the app and a good sense of direction you will be fine. I recommend gaiters, waterproof boots, and, trekking poles, and micro-spikes for this hike. This hike is currently still doable and honestly alot of fun with the added obstacle course, but way-finding and the trail are much harder then expected.

hiking
21 days ago

7/1/19 hiked this trail with 9 year old and husband. The road up was expected- mostly dry but washboarded. One iffy spot with mud and some big rocks. Our Jeep Grand Cherokee made it just fine. We made it up about 1.6 miles before turning around. Some areas of snow fairly precarious with 9 year old. Where we turned around my husband sunk in up to his waist, meaning our son would be in ip to his armpits so we figured it was time to turn around. River runoff covered the trail most of the way. Absolutely beautiful though! The rushing river was amazing. Stopped and ate lunch at the little lake above the two waterfalls.

hiking
muddy
off trail
scramble
snow
27 days ago

Quite a tough trail on 06/25/19. It really was iced and snowy over. We made it to the avalanche area and proceeded for about 15 more minutes and decided to turn around because it is such a slow hike

1 month ago

Went there over the weekend 6-1-19. The road leading up to the trailhead parking lot was covered in snow and impassable by vehicle...even by truck, I wouldnt risk getting stuck. Snow was roughly 4-6ft deep.

hiking
3 months ago

We left early to beat any traffic. When we arrived there were already several cars parked at the trail head. The trail was moderate. There was some construction happening near the trail head on some drainage infrastructure that was a little bit of a bummer...the trail wasn’t too crowded. We saw three or four groups of people along our way. When we got to the lakes there was plenty of spots to camp. We found a nice spot in the opposite side of the main trail that was perfect. When you get to the lakes, it is easy to get lost off the main trail (which happened to an older group). It was very windy and cold when we went which made for a long night. Overall, fun trip.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked this trail yesterday 10-27-18. Very snowy like the previous poster said. After the first lake it got really deep and we had to turn around. It was also pretty slick after everyone had compacted the snow and melting then refreezing at night. I would be cautious, there were a few parts that were a little touch and go. On the other hand, beautiful beautiful hike!!

hiking
8 months ago

I hiked this trail on 10/21/18. Very beautiful area. However, this 7.2 mile out and back turned into 10.5 miles due to the snow. 80% of the trail had between 2 inches - 2.5 feet of snow. The snow and ice made the hike very difficult. Unless you’re experienced with snow hiking and snowshoes, I would not advise the hike until the snow melts. In the end, the snow got so deep, we couldn’t even make it the last 400 meters to grand lake. One note though is that the first mile of the hike is easy (if no snow) and takes you to a beautiful small waterfall and small lake.

trail running
9 months ago

Amazing trail, the lakes and creeks are gorgeous.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike on Saturday, 9/22. Very few people on trail. Sunny, clear day, sea level friend joined us and did fine! The first lake you come to is just as beautiful as Lower Missouri Lake, which is just up a bit. We didn’t do the loop to connect up to Fancy Lake Trail bec two in our party were tired. Will try that next time.

hiking
10 months ago

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.

backpacking
10 months 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.

hiking
10 months ago

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.

backpacking
10 months 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.

10 months ago

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.

backpacking
10 months 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.

hiking
10 months 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!

hiking
10 months ago

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

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