Fancy Lake Trail is an enchanted forest with lush greenery, wildflowers, birdsong, craggy ledges, cascading waters from snowmelt, and one stunning alpine lake. Options for more alpine lakes can keep you hiking for days in wonder!

Trail Stats and Location located at the bottom.

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After a long ride off of Tennesse Pass down a well-maintained dirt road, we wondered if a trailhead was out here! After seeing no one for miles, we pulled into a packed parking lot for Fancy Lake.

Turning left, you find the trailhead to Missouri Lakes; turning Right, you see the trailhead to Fancy Lake.

Even with a packed parking lot, we found later that most were backpacking the lakes, so we enjoyed the hike up by ourselves.

I loved this hike from the start! So pretty, so green, so peaceful. Not an easy trek, requiring a bit of endurance as I think we never stopped hiking uphill.


It just gets more breathtaking as the climb gets more intense. Anticipation is high as the trail gets closer to Fancy Lake. Once we saw the incredible waterfalls flowing down deep crevices, I knew we were getting closer!

Trees disappear and rock for a while, stiff climb at the end to find Fancy Lake. Looking back at the expansive views behind us reveals just how high we are. It is gorgeous!

NOTE: I wanted to share my favorite > VEST and > JACKET that have lasted me for years and I carry year-round. Wearing one or both depending on conditions. (even summer in the high country can get colder quickly) Easy to pack, lightweight, and warm.


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As we stroll into Fancy Lake, the grueling climb is soon forgotten. Wow, it’s pretty, wildflowers everywhere. Trees show the windy, cold, and snowy winters in their gnarly trunks and short limbs.


Love wildflower season? A great resource and easy to carry is “Wildflowers of Colorado Field Guide.”

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So many mosquitos that, sadly, hanging out at the lake went very fast before we headed back down. 

> Bug Spray is a must – > Bug Net if inclined!

It’s a high-altitude trail, and dehydration plus fickle weather is always something to consider. Look at the practical gear we love and have in our backpacks on every hike. > CLICK HERE


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The alpine tundra is lush green with numerous water pools and low-lying flowering ground cover. You can hike over Fancy Pass from here and reach Missouri Lakes, which I hear are fantastic.

Loved this trail and highly recommend it for a day hike; add more miles and hike beyond Fancy Lake to Treasure Vault Lake for a longer day hike. Lots of options!


6.2 miles out & back

Rated: Strenuous

2,345′ elevation gain

Holy Cross Wilderness

Nearest towns: Leadville, CO, and Minturn, CO

Popular for backpacking

Dogs ok

Restrooms at trailhead

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).


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Can't wait to see you on the trail!




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