Directions: From I-70 head south on 24 through Minturn, along the edge of the canyon and over the bridge at Red Cliff. Shortly after the bridge, turn right (west) on Homestake Road. From Leadville take 24 north and turn left (west) on Homestake Road. Follow Homestake Road on a good dirt road for about 7.5 miles. Turn right at the sign for Missouri Creek Road. From here the road gets a bit bumpier and steep in spots. SUV is recommended but low clearance cars can make it if you are careful. Missouri Creek Road leads to a "T", left is the Missouri Lake Trailhead, right is the Fancy Pass Trailhead. Parking is plentiful.
Fancy Lake sits in a basin in between the Missouri Lakes Basin and Holy Cross City/Hunky Dory Lake. The basin is beautiful, the hike is steep, and the lake is pristine. The Lake has a number of terrific camping spots and is ripe for dayhiking and backpacking. Continuing up to Fancy Pass is a tremendous experience and you can go even further to make a 9 mile loop with Missouri Pass just to the west.
From the trailhead start climbing up through dense evergreen forest along wide switchbacks to a prominent outcropping and the wilderness boundary. As you continue up, up, and up, you'll pass through various meadows with wildflowers and get a few peaks at the nearby peaks. You're first major destination will be an awesome view of the creek cascading down a narrow, deep gorge. Continue hiking along the gorge all the way to the Fancy Lake campsites. Cross the head of the gorge and you'll see the shore of the emerald green lake. There are plenty of wide rocks to rest on and take in the lake's beauty.
If you have it in you, head to the north of the lake to find the trail leading up to Fancy Pass. Even if you don't go all the way to the pass there are great views looking down on Fancy Lake and the surrounding landscape.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Holy Cross Wilderness
White River National Forest
Date Hiked: August 8, 2015
Distance: 5.2 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 1,548ft
Elevation Min/Max:10,010 to 11,548ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39º 23' 27" N; 106º 28' 14" W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service