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

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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

 

Whitney Lake hike, near Vail, up homestake road

Whitney Lake hike is a pleasant hike not far from the Antlers at Vail and the town of Vail Colorado.  One needs to drive about an hour to get there.  Head west out of Vail until you get to Dowd Junctino exit 171 off of I-70.  Next head south for 13 miles on highway 24 heading through the town of Minturn, up over Battle Mountain pass.  Cross the big green bridge (you won’t miss it), go another couple of miles and then take a right onto Homestake road.  This road is numbered #703 by the forest service and again is about 13 miles south of I-70.  When you turn onto homestake road you need to drive another 4.6 miles on this rocky (sometimes dusty) road.  You’ll find the sign to the trail just on the right of the road with parking on the left side of the road.  The trail head starts around 9100 in elevation and tops out at the lake at 10956.  Length one way is 2.5 miles, so it isn’t TOO long.  The views can be spectacular.


View Whitney Lake in a larger map

Up at the lake, watch for the trout jumping in the lake

New bridge for stream crossing

Be careful on the stream crossing, the bridge is thin

Trout in the lake

Camp robber