Missouri Lakes Trail
Holy Cross Wilderness, Colorado
I think I found my new favorite hike in Eagle County – the Missouri Lakes Trail by Homestake Reservoir outside Red Cliff, Colorado. A nice 3 mi (1 way) trek up to the first lake all along the beautiful cascading Missouri Creek. We continued on the trail to another three lakes (there are 7 lakes total and probably 8 small ponds) and we considered a trip over Missouri Pass, Fancy Pass, and down to Fancy Lake, but some rumbling thunder turned us back the way we came. I’m going to have to get back for an overnight at some point because it’s perfect for sunrise and sunset shooting.
The whole thing reminded me a lot of one of my favorite hikes in Summit County – Mowhawk Lakes. You’re along water most of the way and the trail “ends” at a series of lakes surrounded by jagged 13,000ft+ peaks. Perfect.
From USDA FS: “The Missouri Lakes trail is 4.4 miles long. It begins at Missouri Creek Road #704 and ends at Cross Creek Trail and Fancy Pass Trail #2006: The first mile of the trail passes diversion dams and water pipelines. Just past mile 1, the trail crosses the creek at the mouth of a miniature canyon, creating a breath taking view. The trail winds through stands of conifers and crosses the creek several more times before emerging into a large lush meadow. The trail climbs a short, steep distance to the basin that holds the Missouri Lakes. At about 2.7 miles you will see a side trail left that leads to the first of the lakes, a short climb of 100 feet gain in 0.3 miles. Savage Peak dominates the view to the south above this first lake. The main trail traverses the basin past several other lakes before reaching the last lake at about 3.5 miles. To get a bird’s eye view of the lakes, continue up switchbacks to the 11,986-foot Missouri Pass and back down the other side to join the Fancy Pass and Cross Creek trails at 4.4 miles.”