Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Fancy Pass - Missouri Lakes Loop (8/3-7/02)

Trail: Fancy Pass - Missouri Lakes Loop
Trailhead Begin: Missouri Creek Trailhead
Trailhead Elevation: 10,020 ft.
High Point: 12,408 ft.
Trip Elevation Total: 5228
Trip Mileage Total: 13.45 miles


August 3

We drove the long dirt road into the Missouri Creek TH to get started. This was a pretty easy first day as we didn't have far to go. We made our way over the stream crossings of Missouri Creek and up the drainage to Fancy Lake for our first camp. The lake is a few hundred feet shy of 12,000 feet and sits in a beautiful bowl with a tall headwall of rocks behind it. Like many of our other trips, we did get some rain on this day, particularly in the evening while we were at camp.

TODAY'S STATS: 2.4 miles, 1707 ft. elevation
Map of today's hiking

August 4

This day was all about exploring Holy Cross City. From our camp at Fancy Lake it was an easy hike east along an old trail at first that then turned into the infamous Holy Cross City 4WD road. We hiked down the remainder of the road to the remains of Holy Cross City. We met a few other hikers while we were there. Plenty of old mining stuff to explore amongst the remaining buildings. We also found an open mine with a shaft that went in about 10 feet near HC City. After we tired of exploring the city we started climbing up the slope to the west. David and Mark ended up getting to a point at about 12,400. From here we descended down the south side to shortcut back to the trail. We found more mining leftovers along our way. We ran into steep terrain on our bushwhacking descent. Back at camp we enjoyed the rest of the day fishing and relaxing.

TODAY'S STATS: 3.2 miles, 1577 ft. elevation
Map of today's hiking

August 5

Day three was moving day for us. We packed up camp in the morning at Fancy Lake and we started the nearly 1000 foot trek up to Fancy Pass. At the pass we had amazing views to the west of several 13ers and a beautifully wide open basin. Descending from Fancy Pass we headed towards Treasure Vault Lake. Just above the lake we found a mine for Denny and David to explore. They were able to head in around 50 feet along the remains of the cart track. From the mine it was a brief ascent to Missouri Pass and then on down to the Missouri Lakes. We setup camp at the biggest of the lakes and had beautiful views. Just as we finished setting up camp we got a hail storm to hit us. I believe the pea-sized hail is called grauple. We also took on a little rain this evening.

TODAY'S STATS: 2.4 miles, 1191 ft. elevation
Map of today's hiking

August 6

Day 4 was a full and complete relax day. We set jackets and other wet gear out to dry on the rocks nearby. Denny, David and Bob spent most of the day fishing and enjoying the camp area. Mark took a stroll down trail towards the lower lakes and beyond towards the trailhead and then headed back. The weather was much kinder to us this day, though it certainly threatened.

TODAY'S STATS: 2.2 miles, 610 ft. elevation
Map of today's hiking

August 7

Our last day was the usual hike out day. It was sad to leave the Missouri Lakes behind as they were one of the most beautiful areas we've had to camp in. You can certainly mark this trip up to perhaps our best leisure trip ever. We didn't rack up much mileage but we certainly enjoying the time well spent in the backcountry. It was an easy 3 1/2 mile stroll back out to the car and the drive home.

TODAY'S STATS: 3.3 miles, 143 ft. elevation
Map of today's hiking


I have reconstructed our track from this old backpacking trip and have put the route pieces along with significant waypoints in a KML file. That KML is available for download. Please note that the tracks in many parts are estimated so please don't use this as an exact guide:

My Tracks


To see my photos from this trip, click the photo below and it will link to my Google Photo Album:

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