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

backpacking
7 hours 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!

backpacking
1 day ago

Lovely trail, switchbacks and woodsy with Fancy Lake and Notch Mountain greeting you at the top!

hiking
1 day 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.

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

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!

This was pretty strenuous for me compared to most non-14er Colorado hikes. The final stretch up the Fancy Pass side can take it out of you, but what a reward at the top. Definitely pair it with the Missouri Lakes trail to make the 8 mile loop. You get to walk along side beautiful lakes for 2 miles and it’s not harder at all on that side, just a bit longer.

hiking
7 days 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
8 days 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.

backpacking
8 days ago

Did the Fancy pass trail and finished the loop with Missouri lakes/pass. It is a fairly difficult hike with a pack but well worth it as the views and flowers are amazing. Also worth bringing a fishing rod as the brook trout up there are very beautiful. only thing is definitely bring bug spray as there are a good amount of mosquitoes around the lakes.

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.

Beautiful views. Great hike!

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
14 days 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.

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
17 days 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!

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
20 days 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!

hiking
20 days ago

I hiked the loop starting from Fancy Pass, to Fancy Lake, then up the pass to a valley, then up Missouri Pass, then down toward Missouri Lakes, ending at the Missouri Lakes trailhead. I believe it is a little over an 8 mile hike (felt longer).
The hike up to Fancy Pass is good with moderately steep climbs. Fancy Lake is beautiful.
After that, you'll head toward a stream crossing that seems like the wrong direction. After crossing, you'll make a sharp left and head up toward the pass.
The pass was still snow covered. You can stay far left and avoid most of the snow or stay near the path and just cross through the snow. The pass is where you really feel the elevation gain in terms of steepness and breathing.
At the top, the views are spectacular but the wind can knock you over (or take off your hat).
The valley below is covered in wildflowers. It is just stunning. The marmots and pikas are plentiful.
Then you head up Missouri Pass, a much shorter and friendlier climb. Again, at the top the views are stunning.
Heading down from the pass you travel past several lakes, then you return to what seems like a normal forested trail and head towards the Missouri lakes trailhead.
While anyone can do this, it has some parts that are not easy for all. To get up Fancy Pass, you need to be at some level of fitness.

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

Hiked up to the lake and camped. Elevation is no joke if you have Texas lungs. Views are spectacular all around the lake and both directions on the trail.

backpacking
25 days 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.

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.

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.

backpacking
28 days 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!

hiking
29 days ago

Good stuff

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

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.

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.

Beautiful trail. Lots of vegetation so lots of bugs. Steep all the way as others have mentioned. Not very many camp sites. Good day hike.

hiking
1 month 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.

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