Explore the most popular camping trails near Minturn with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Not your average 14'er. Settled in a very fragile environment in the valley where camping is permitted but No Fires year round. You will ascend a very good chunk of altitude and cross the flatter section before the initial climb to get to this brilliantly distinguished peak; you will have to regain this altitude on the return trip after a scramble - so bring a lot of water and decent amount of fuel for the stomach. The more you travel upwards the more indiscernible this trail gets. There's a reason that this mountain won't be 14,005 feet tall for very long - it's falling apart at a hastening rate so be respectful or do not come here! Church of the Holy Cross is visible from the peak on the opposite end of the bowl, as well as many well known mountains visually three hundred sixty degrees such at Mount Crested Butte,Ski Cooper, Copper, Aspen, and many more.

I’m currently plannng 7 day trip doing a loop up Cross Creek down Fall Creek, and back over to the Cross Creek Trailhead. My plan is this:

Day 1. Hike up Cross Creek to Harvey Lake and camp
Day 2. Hike past Treasure Vault Lake, over Fancy Pass and into Holy Cross City, and either camp there or a little further down the trail at Hunky Dory Lake.
Day 3. Hike to Lake Constantine and camp.
Day 4. Visit the nearby Tuhare Lakes, then camp again at Lake Constantine.
Day 5. Hike to Half Moon Campground but continue on over Half Moon Pass and down to the East Cross Creek crossing, and camp.
Day 6. Tackle the summit of Mount Holy Cross, then back down and camp again at East Cross Creek crossing.
Day 7. Follow East Cross Creek about a mile or so over to Cross Creek and Cross Creek Trail, then back down Cross Creek Trail the remaining 5 or six miles to the trailhead, and pray that my car will still be there.

The normal conclusion of this loop would involve hiking 8 miles down the dirt road from Half Moon Campground to the Cross Creek Trailhead, resulting in total hiking distance on the last day of 11 to 12 miles, which would start with a 1000 foot ascent over Half Moon Pass. My proposed alternate route would cut that distance by about half and eliminate the big ascent back over Halfmoon Pass, plus I’d still be doing my hiking n the wilderness instead of down a boring dirt road. The only drawback is that there is no established trail down East Cross Creek back to Cross Creek, but the rangers tell me there shouldn’t be any big problems negotiating that short traverse.

If anyone has tried this before, I’d love to hear from you! My email address is jmichaelclaylaw@aol.com.

Went backpacking to Surprise Lake last night. Like other reviews say, lots of mosquitos. We were the only ones there though.
The road is closed about a mile before the trailhead, so it was just under 4 miles to the lake.

Nice hike if you only have a half of a day. The gate was closed adding a mile or so to the overall hike. Great views along the hike from several vantage points. We took a short detour off the trail before the bridge about 50-yards downhill to the creek. Beautiful area to lunch or rest on the smooth boulders & rock walls with swirling eddy’s below cascading down to mini-waterfalls. Very serene & regenerative stop along the trail. Stopped at the bridge and headed back down with the family.

Went backpacking in this area; we made it up to Harvey Lake but got rained out Saturday night and came back down to the TH on Sunday.

On paper this trail seems pretty moderate but after ascending to Harvey Lake, it was considerably more difficult than expected past Surprise Lake approximately. There is an astounding amount of deadfall on the trail as you go up and with the water still being high there are a few creek crossings that require care. After Reed's Meadow there is also a completely flooded section you will have to navigate without stepping in. The bugs are plentiful right now so finding a good windy campsite took time. If you are trying to go backpacking in this area right now I suggest go as high as you can manage to avoid mosquitoes. We did not encounter many at Harvey Lake at 11k and above.

hiking
10 days ago

Hiked this with my dog last week (Early June) and started at 1030 am. I like to go for time instead of destination since I’m busy busy. We made it to an awesome bridge in 90 min!

The trail is pretty easy to find the whole way and there are no crazy inclines. We had trouble in one spot on the way back where we went right instead of left on a crossroads and ended up at Tiguan Road. Don’t try to take it back to Minturn, you won’t be happy! Thankfully other hikers helped us back.

Overall, it was a beautiful hike through various terrain with lots of surprises along the way including carcasses and some people riding llamas. We didn’t see any wilderness animals along the way but maybe because it was the middle if the

On our way up, we only encountered a few people but by the time we were headed down the trail was busier. Lots of dogs and most of the good owners leashed when coming into sight of my canine companion. This is important to us as hikers because sometimes he’s a jerk when on leash and sees a non-leashed dog. We need space on the trail to give the dogs/owners to pass by without confrontation. There was plenty on this hike.

I hear if you go far enough you’ll get to a lake. Can’t wait to try!

Did the first mile and it very enjoyable. The trail is currently closed until the end of the month for elk migration so you cannot do more than a mile in. Not totally sure the 2 star review makes sense as trail is not open. The first mile was pretty excited to return

This is a Very Hard, Very Rewarding hike-climb-scramble.

Be prepared for a very long day and a pre-dawn start if the weather is risky—-which it always is in the Rockies, right.

You will definitely want a walking stick or two mainly to help your knees on the return. A whole lot of descending and this can play havoc on the knees-quads-patellofemoral joint.

It is definitely one that I’d repeat.

This used to be my dad's favorite area to hike when he lived in Colorado 25 years ago. Growing up in CA it was a person goal to come here one day since I'd heard so much about it from him and see this place. Beautiful area as everyone can attest to. Difficult hike even for the physically fit. I loved it, but it was mentally challenging as you get close to the summit due to the many rock steps that lead to the top. Hard on the knee's as well. Make sure to check the weather. Happy hiking

Only able to get within 1.2 miles of the trailhead due to snowmobile only activity on the road. Wasn’t planning on the extra distance, so we grabbed another trail off of Berthoud Pass.

backpacking
6 months ago

Very beautiful and very hard. You have to go over a 1,400 ft elevation gain ridge and then straight back down it before you even start to hike Holy Cross. Bring a TON of water and water filtration to refill at the stream crossing. I burned through 5L on summit day. My friend and I did it as the first backpacking trip of the Summer and it was tough over 3 days and 2 nights. Bring bug spray. Our temps got up to high 70's in the day and high 20's at night in July, reapplied sunscreen like 20 times in 3 days and still got some sun exhaustion. Once you get about 1 mile past the ridge a view opens up of Holy Cross that is the most beautiful view I've seen in Colorado.

Absolutely gorgeous the whole way. Nearly everything was covered in snow and the lake was almost completely frozen. A majority of the trail was frozen too so be prepared.
Really not too challenging even with the ice. Nice and gentle inclines most of the way.

We hiked here with our dogs and it was awesome! The trail has a good combination of uphills, downhills, and flat sections and some great views. There was a really nice meadow area near the creek where we left the trail and played in the creek for a bit and the trail was easy to find again, even after following the creek for a while. There was a fork in the trail at one point and we took the right trail which took us to a GORGEOUS view of the creek below, and it was here that we turned around to make it home before dark. Next time we will take the left fork to see where it goes!

This was one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. It is a great place to escape the world.

hiking
9 months ago

A beautiful, but rigorous hike. It took me, a 54-year-old male in fairly good shape, roughly 10 hours. The younger guys were doing it faster, but be sure to give yourself enough time. Also, take lots of water. I went through 4 liters in September.

This was our first 14er, so it has a special place in my heart! Probably could have chosen an easier one, considering I live at sea level and only had three days to acclimate before setting out... This trail was a really challenging in-and-out for us. Between the elevation gain and struggling with the altitude, there were points where we were taking 20 steps and pausing to catch our breath!

But the path it winds offers unbelievable views of forests, other peaks, and small alpine lakes nearly the whole way, which means you're never just slogging. You're constantly being blown away by the scenery only a 14er provides, which we'd never experienced before!

There are some tight switchbacks less than halfway that were BRUTAL for us and the last couple miles are making your way along thick scree fields, which slow you down. But there's only a little easy bouldering to get to the summit, and holy hell that view is completely worth it.

If did it again, we'd camp along the way and wouldn't attempt 12+ miles in one day without being properly accustomed to the altitude. :)

backpacking
9 months ago

We did this hike in two days on Labor Day weekend and it was quite the challenge. The initial hike with our packs to East Cross Creek took roughly 2.5 hours. We were able to share site #5 with a couple who was already there and found our own secluded spot with enough privacy. We started the ascent around 4am and the trail was easy to follow with headlamps and so beautiful to stop to admire the stars. We were about half way to the summit when the sun rose and summited around 9am. The last portion to the summit is all boulders but very doable if you stay to the left, as our small dog was able to climb with no problem. After descending back down to camp, we took a much needed power nap before hiking back UP (yes, it's not all downhill on the way back) to the car. Definitely a strenuous and long hike but safe and worth the feeling of accomplishment! As many people have said, pack way more than 2L of water. We filtered at least 6L for two people and our dog from the river near camp between the 2 days.

This was my first 14er I really didn't know what I was in for. I packed plenty of food water and extra layers. I was definitely tested to my limits I've done 10 mile hikes and 25 mile ruck matches in the army, but nothing was as difficult as this. I didn't let it beat me and finished the whole hike in 10.5 hours including breaks to eat and change my socks. The last 1,000 feet up are very difficult I felt like Q*bert hopping from rock to rock.

Really beautiful area, especially if you continue past Constantine to the Tuhare Lakes - the upper lake is highly recommended. We camped at Constantine, lots of sites, but a fair amount of people as well. The area is definitely showing its use, more litter than you'd like to see in a wilderness area. All in all a good weekend though!

Amazing! 2hr hike to campsite then all day up to summit and all the way back to parking lot. So beautiful!

backpacking
9 months ago

This is a beautiful trail, though challenging. We did this as a backpack, Saturday to Sunday, making the summit on Saturday after dropping our weight at camp. Both of us are in good shape and this was a brutal hike. Like folks say, bring plenty of water & snacks!

I did a solo 2 day backpacking trip to climb this; hiked in and camped Friday, summited Saturday morning, packed up and hiked back out that afternoon. The hike in, with my camping pack at its heaviest, was brutal. It's an incline and elevation gain right from the trail head...finally going downhill felt nice. It only took me 2 hours and 40 minutes to summit from camp, about 1 hour 40 minutes to get back down to camp, and I went through about 2L of water (I needed an extra 1-2L for the whole hike in and out). The last hike up gets into some scrambling but pay attention to the rock tower markers and you should be able to stay on trail, for the most part. Bring snacks/energy food...you will need it. Great views everywhere.

This is a rewarding hike but not easily earned. The top section becomes semi- technical. The vertical gain was challenging but the views at the top were worth everything

Nice moderate trail. Beautiful cascades

This is an intense hike. I did it in two days with my hiking buddy. On the first day, we hiked over Half Moon Pass and shared a campsite with a few other parties after crossing Cross Creek. The creek is pretty much the only source of water between the trail head and the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross. From camp, I took two liters of filtered creek water and a half-liter of Gatorade with me to the summit - not enough. From camp, it's a steep and challenging trail, and once you're up above treeline, you're walking on rock for a long time.

The views are some of the best I've ever seen. The only real signs of civilization are when an airplane flies overhead. It took us about four hours to summit from our campsite, and then another three hours to get back... and while the climb to the summit was pretty challenging, loading our gear and walking back up to Half Moon Pass after hiking to the summit was the real killer. That took another two to three hours. The hike took a lot longer than we anticipated. And it was exhausting.

Give yourself plenty of time and make sure you have a lot of water - I'd say to bring at least three liters from the camp. Also bring bug spray. Mosquitoes are out in full force in this wilderness. But if you're up for a challenging hike, this has to be one of the best in Colorado.

backpacking
10 months ago

Good first backpacking trip. Lush forest and great views, lots of wildflowers & also mosquitos! There were several other parties camping on the lake and tons of cars at the trail head. hiked up day 1, hiked around the lake and to the waterfall on day 2, and hiked out on day 3. Our little (energetic) pug came with us and did alright :) We chose this over fancy pass since you are allowed to have fires at Lake Constantine.

Got 2.4 miles in and had to turn around due to weather. Not a hard hike. Nice trailhead

Everybody should do this trail! Absolutely gorgeous. For trail runners you can pretty much run it the whole way (except on the way back where the forest uphill is pretty brutal).

hiking
10 months ago

The trail was beautiful. The trail was also mighty. Very mighty. Just because this is one of the lowest 14er's in Colorado doesn't mean it's easy. Unfortunately, we had cloud coverage once we summited so we didn't get much of a view. Really was an experience though! I recommend you bring plenty of water. My boyfriend and I brought along about 9 liters and we ended up coming home with just over 2. Also, bring food and lots of it. We found it helped to sit and snack on protein dense foods before going up each ascent. Be warned that because you're sweaty, you'll get pretty chilly when stopping. On the last bit of the trail be prepared to really scramble (after the ridge). The trail gets pretty sparse, but keep up and you'll reach the summit. Most importantly, be safe and keep an eye on conditions. Stick to the trail!! Above all else, enjoy!!

This was a really nice hike. Not too strenuous and not crowded. The trail is in great condition. You get some nice walking by water. But bring bug spray! We lost the trail because of the overgrown brush just before the lake. We also turned back because some hikers coming the other way told us they spotted a bear.

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