Explore the most popular trail running 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.

Gorgeous hike with great vista views of lakes, and a small town on the main highway—both from way above when you are above tree line. Hiked this with my friend on September 26, 2018 and there was only a trace of snow showing anywhere at that time. There is a nice protective moderate size rock hut at the summit. Christians will appreciate the view of Mount of the Holy Cross, a 14’er, which is viewed across the valley once you reach the summit of Notch Mountain. The snowfield in the colour (rock crevices) is visible certain months, and it forms a gigantic cross. I believe it was in the 1940s that many Christians hiked this for a pilgrimage to see the cross. Check a Google search for the story. Note that if you prefer to hike the 14er, Mt of the Holy Cross itself, you probably won’t get much if any view of the cross. Check guides to see. I’ve hiked about 25 hikes in Colorado and this is one of my top two favorite hikes! It was exactly 10 miles round trip with elevation gain if 2857 feet. There is a water source about 40% of the way up.

trail running
21 days ago

Amazing trail, the lakes and creeks are gorgeous.

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
1 month ago

Great hike to Fancy Lake today-9/19/18. We didn’t start til noon. Fairly easy climb. Lots of good switchbacks. Thank you trail groomers! This lake is stunningly beautiful! Next time we’ll hike on through to Missouri Lake.

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.

Great peaceful trail. Good cool down trail after Mt. Elbert.

Beautiful trail with breath taking views. Lots of color. The views from the meadow at the top were spectacular. Not very difficult at all. Nice, well marked trail. One of our favorites because of the views at the top.

backpacking
1 month 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.

A wonderful little hike up to a hilltop meadow. Didn’t see other hikers but passed a few mountain biking groups. Lovely rainbow of changing colors of the short underbrush shrubs. Beautiful mtn range views at the top of gore range, holy cross. Nice change from the standard & popular summit/14er hikes.

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
1 month 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.

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
1 month 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
1 month 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!

Beautiful hike. The directions are a little misleading. We parked by Lilly lake trailhead. It is quit a while until you get to the actual trailhead for West Tennessee lakes. It’s worth it though!

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

Pictures do not do it justice...this is a MUST see. Great hike...fantastic views. Highly recommend it!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, starts with a steady incline through wooded areas. The last mile is downhill, with the last 1/4 mike as switchbacks with spectacular views before the creek/campsite.

The creek is great to rest and have a snack before tackling the switchbacks uphill for the return trip.

This trail was also longer than 4.3 miles - closer to 5.5 on our gps.

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
2 months ago

Continue down the other side of the pass toward Notch and scale for an amazing View of Mt. of the Holy Cross!

hiking
2 months ago

Tough and beautiful - worth every step!

hiking
2 months 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.

I live this hike. I don’t remember it being very difficult.

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
2 months 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!

We were planning to make the Halo Ridge traverse over to summit Mount of the Holy Cross, but the weather came in hard and fast at noon.

The notch mountain trail is beautiful. The switchbacks Offer gorgeous views and the lakes and valleys below. The shelter up top perfectly frames Mount of the Holy Cross in the window.

Next time, we’ll get an earlier start and make the Halo Ridge traverse.

hiking
2 months ago

There is just one "Fancy Lake." The trail to it is about 2.6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,500 feet. (The contours on these maps are confusing because the contour interval is 10 meters (about 33 feet) whereas every fifth contour is labelled with the elevation in feet.) The first 1.5 mile passes through pine forest before some meadows with wildflowers start to appear. This part is moderately difficult.

The trail from the lake to Fancy Pass gains about 870 feet in 0.7 mile, of which the last half is especially steep and difficult. In particular, it is easy to miss where the trail jogs to the right, and climb up a natural rock chute that was used for dropping mine tailings to a lower elevation. The trail is difficult enough, but the mining chute still has loose tailings in it and is worse. It is hard to appreciate the scenery while focusing on your footing, but as others have said, the view from the pass -- particularly to the north down the valley of Cross Creek -- is spectacular.

Most people who get to Fancy Pass continue to Missouri Pass and return to the trailhead by way of the Missouri Lakes Trail, which starts at the same parking area. I think that that route has better alpine scenery with less extremely difficult trail conditions than the Fancy Pass Trail described here.

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!

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

hiking
2 months 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.

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