Fancy lake and Fancy Pass hike to Missouri lakes

Fancy Pass and Fancy Lake loop hike going to Missouri Lakes up in the Holy Cross Wilderness area is one of those “must do” type of Vail area hikes if you are spending a week or more in the Vail Valley.  It is moderate day hike and takes anywhere from 4.5 to 6 hours.  It is a 45 minute drive each way from Vail but well worth it.  It is South from Vail on Highway 24 through the towns of Minturn and Redcliff.  Get directions at the Antlers at Vail front desk.  The trail starts at an elevation of 10,100 feet and can top out at 12,600 so you are quite high up.

 Fancy lake (seen in picture above) is the first stop on this counter clockwise hike.  But you can do the hike in either direction.  You can do Missouri lakes first in a clockwise direction and then over Fancy pass, then down pass Fancy Lake and back to the trailhead.

View Fancy Pass, Missouri Lakes loop in a larger map


There are some steep trails as you head up above timberline

Lots of snow out here for August 10th, wow

The top of Fancy Pass at 12,600 feet (we think)

Upper Missouri Lake

 Some Llamas enjoying a hike of their own

Lower Missouri Lake

Another hiking bridge

Wildflowers up in the Holy Cross Wilderness area, with plenty of snow for mid-August


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  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos and the helpful map and directions for the hike. What a beautiful setting–I may have to try it next month when I visit the Antlers!
    P.S. I really like the name “Fancy Lake” – so descriptive! 🙂

  2. I may try the loop in late July. Hope to get in shape enough!How in shape were you guys – do yall work out a lot, etc. I have backpacked extensively over the years and ready to start again. was the climb up the pass grueling?

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