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blue Missouri Lakes Trail #2003

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4.7 mile 7.6 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 1,968' 600 m
Descent: -160' -49 m
High: 11,976' 3,650 m
Low: 10,026' 3,056 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 43% (23°)


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Trail shared by Rachel Vecchitto

Wind along Missouri Creek past several waterfalls to a gorgeous cirque full of alpine lakes.

Rachel Vecchitto

Features Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Overnight camping requires a free permit - self-register at the trailhead. No fires allowed.


Start from the Missouri Lakes trailhead, which is immediately to the left of the Fancy Lake trailhead at the end of Forest Road 704. If you have 4WD, you can drive an additional half mile up the road and join the trail there; you won't miss much except for a water pipeline and diversion dam. You'll have to wade across the creek if you use the 4WD trailhead, so unless you have sandals to stash on the other side or the creek is particularly low, it's best to start at the main trailhead.

Starting about a mile in, the trail begins winding back and forth across Missouri Creek, passing several small waterfalls and striking cliffs. The stands of confer you pass through feel unusually lush for Colorado. The trail climbs consistently through the trees, eventually opening up into beautiful alpine meadows as you approach the lakes.

More consistent climbing out of the meadows brings you into the Missouri Lakes basin. You'll have gorgeous views no matter where you look, dominated by 13,139 ft Savage Peak to the south. The next mile or so is a very gentle climb though several smaller lakes, with many spurs and footpaths if you'd like to explore a bit more.

Continue past the lakes for a steep climb up to Missouri Pass (11,986 ft), where you can simply enjoy the expansive views of the Missouri Lakes basin to the south and Cross Creek Valley to the north before heading back, or had a little further to join Fancy Pass Trail #2006 and make a loop back to the trailhead.

The lakes are also a popular fishing spot.


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Sep 12, 2018
Ryan Kempfer
Great hike, even better when you loop it with fancy pass. the views are incredible and the waters crystal clear 9mi — 6h 00m
Aug 11, 2018
Clancey Potter
Great overnight backpacking trip to Missouri Lake! The trail leading up to the large (second) lake is moderate with a couple of steep sections. Bea… 7.2mi
Jul 29, 2018
Ari R.
Been doing this one since I was a kid. It’s crazy to see the little safety changes over the years to that first bridge!
Jun 16, 2018
Derek Sakamoto
Nov 18, 2017
Orlando Genovez
Sep 3, 2017
Rob Pressly
Sep 2, 2017
Katie Osland
Jul 16, 2017
Hash Evans
beautiful hike. nice trail. combined with fancy pass to make a loop 4.7mi

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 16 votes


  4.8 from 16 votes
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in Colorado


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2,550 Since Jul 25, 2016
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